Flat Planet considers itself to be an ethical outsourcer. What do we mean by this statement?
As an Australian-originated firm, we believe in equality and a fair go for all.
Flat Planet’s name, mission and culture are built around the idea of a level playing field. We believe that all people, no matter where they are born and no matter where they live, are all human beings together and are all equal.
We believe that all people with education, motivation and aspiration should have at least the chance to achieve something better for themselves and their families. If you seek to engage with a Filipino workforce and offer opportunity to an aspirational people, then you are doing a great thing.
Fair Go and The Basic Wage
In Australia, the 1907 Harvester Judgment ruled that an employer was obliged to pay his employees a wage that guaranteed them a standard of living which was reasonable for "a human being in a civilized community" to live in "frugal comfort estimated by current standards," regardless of the employer's capacity to pay.
Even today, Australia has a minimum wage set by a commission (currently Fair Work Australia) that makes its decisions in light of the current cost of maintaining a lifestyle consistent with the Harvester Judgment. The question here revolves around the idea of “current standards.”
At Flat Planet, the test for “current standards” revolves around your expectations for the professional performance of your team. You expect your team to be smart, reliable, well-presented, educated, focused and professional. Therefore, you need to pay them enough to sustain a lifestyle that makes this possible. And you need to pay them enough such that this is also possible for their children.
They need to have enough to house, feed and clothe themselves and their family, including sending the kids to school. They need to have a proper kitchen with a fridge and a proper stove so they can prepare healthy meals (just like anywhere, a healthy diet is more expensive than a junk diet). They need to earn enough so they are not scrabbling for money in the evening and on weekends. You want them focused and happy with the work they are doing for you.
The point to all this is to try and find the balance between realizing the significant savings available to companies wanting to invest in high-value talent in a market like the Philippines while at the same time ensuring that you pay a fair wage offering your high-value staff a reasonable standard of living.
There are more than 103 million people in the Philippines as of July 20121. Among the 402 million people in the labor force, 2.82 million are unemployed and are currently looking for work plus an additional 7.8 million underemployed. Moreover, there are three young people for every five working adults3. This means a huge population bubble is in play with millions of new jobs needed in the next few years.
The general poverty and shortage of quality jobs means that it is possible for companies to come to the Philippines and exploit workers. Flat Planet, however, believes that the only way to run a sustainable and professional operation in any market is to be a good corporate citizen.