More Filipinos want to become their own boss

Cultural shift: More Filipinos want to become their own boss


More Filipinoswant to become their own boss


Since finishing his nursing degree in 2007, Jason Bielza has been into many jobs—factory worker at an appliance company, overseas worker in Singapore and nursing aide at a local private hospital.

But he only felt contentment when he decided to become a partner-driver for a ride-hailing company using a loaned car last year.


“The pay is almost the same as my previous work at the hospital, but if I work harder for longer hours, I can earn more,” says the 36-year-old millennial father from Marikina City.


“But there’s no greater joy whenever I get to see my children growing up and play with them. With my current work, I am the one who handles my time. I am my own boss,” he says.

Cohorts of Generation X (born between 1965 and 1980) and Generation Y (1981 to 1996), seem to be bent on following a career path different from that taken by their elders.

READ: Young Filipino entrepreneurs show passion and purpose amid pandemic

Both generations have a strong preference for entrepreneurship over the security of traditional employment, with 53 percent saying they would rather start their own business than remain as an employee, based on the results of the latest Wellness Index study “The ABCs of Pinoy Xs and Ys” conducted by health maintenance organization PhilCare.

Change in mindset

The rising workplace trend among both Gen Xers and millennials is similar to that among Gen Zs (born from 1997 to 2012), the demographic focus of an earlier PhilCare study.

“It is no longer [just] the younger generation that sees the opportunity to work remotely as a strong motivating factor to consider a job,” PhilCare Wellness Index lead researcher Fernando Paragas says in a press conference in Makati.


“The shift in mindset of Gen X and Y signals a departure from the traditional 9-to-5 (a.m. to p.m.) structure, with both generations seeking greater control over their schedules. This demand for flexibility underscores the importance of prioritizing health, well-being and work-life balance. Any business or organization that wants to win the war for talent should make creating a flexible work arrangement top of mind,” explains Paragas, who is also dean of the University of the Philippines Diliman College of Mass Communication.

READ: Most PH job seekers now prefer hybrid, remote work setup

The survey was conducted between October and November last year and part of the 10th study of PhilCare since 2014. Some 400 respondents from 17 regions answered an online survey.

All of the respondents are employed, with 59 percent having finished high school and higher studies, while the remaining 41 percent are high school undergraduates and lower.

Most are self-employed as business owners at 36.3 percent, while 12.8 percent are service and sales workers. Another 9.5 percent are self-employed professionals (including freelancers), while the rest are salaried employees.

For Paragas, the study is important as Gen Xers and millennials are projected to become the largest members of the working population by 2025, as they gradually push out members of the retiring baby boomers (born from 1946 to 1964).“It is important to understand them now so we will know how to work with them in the future,” he says.

 (From left) Fernando Paragas, PhilCare Wellness Index lead researcher; Enrique Ona, former health secretary; Jaeger Tanco, PhilCare CEO and Nick Jacob PhilCare chair

HEALTH CARE EXPERTS (From left) Fernando Paragas, PhilCare Wellness Index lead researcher; Enrique Ona, former health secretary; Jaeger Tanco, PhilCare CEO and Nick Jacob PhilCare chair —Contributed photo

What matters to them

The survey shows that the top four priorities of Gen X and Gen Y cohorts in their work are to gain (1) health benefits, (2) job satisfaction, (3) monetary benefits and (4) ease of travel. These are similar to what Gen Zs look for in their current workplace and job prospects.

It means being able to start their own business eventually, and having flexible working arrangements and not being bound by the 9-to-5 onsite traditional work schedule to be able to either juggle part-time work or focus on recreational activities.

READ: Hiring Gen Zs? They shun ‘toxic’ workplaces – survey

“Previously, the older generations frowned upon doing additional work after the 9 to 5 shift, because a worker is supposed to devote this schedule fully to their employer. However, maybe it’s time for companies to consider that they have to share their employees’ time,” Paragas explains.

“As we are seeing, workers are no longer looking at a single continuous career. Instead they want milestones, where first they are a full-time worker, then shifting to a part-time worker, eventually moving on to entrepreneurship, until they become independent business persons,” he added.

The study also reveals that among the top concerns of the Gen X and Gen Y is to take care of the health of their family.

According to respondents, 71.5 percent want to get additional insurance for their family, while 52.5 percent are amenable to paying for more health insurance at work; 50.5 percent are open to paying more for their premium contribution to Philippine Health Insurance Corp., which is currently at 5 percent.

“These generations are focusing on the health of their family, which includes not only their children but also their parents,” Paragas explains. “They feel that they have the responsibility to take care of the elderly. We are an aging society, and the pressure to take care of the elderly will be severe.”

Paragas calls on companies to equip their workers with “lifelong skills.”

“Your workers may retire early and get some funding for their dream business. But they are not equipped and skilled adequately to venture into this. They would later on realize this mistake, but their retirement fund had already drained out and with a bankrupt business.”

Stronger sense of individuality

According to Paragas, there is no significant difference when it comes to the earnings of the self-employed and the employee of a company.

“But where does this aspiration to be self-employed come from? It’s the freedom — to work independently and have flexible working arrangements. We think this is a cultural shift — of valuing our own time rooted from a stronger sense of individuality,” he says.

READ: Employee experience and people-centric approach to attracting best talents

Paragas says they have yet to deeply study why the three different generations — Gen X, Y and Z — are veering toward the same trend.

But he proposes a possible explanation: “What we are seeing is the aspirations of the older generations (Gen X and Y) that they project to their children (Gen Y and Z), because they have seen the hardship of their parents. These are what Gen X and Y want the future generation, particularly Gen Z and the much younger Gen Alpha, to imbibe from them.”

PhilCare Wellness Index chair Dr. Enrique Ona agrees with the findings of the study.

“The result suggests a growing desire for autonomy and ownership, a desire to create something that they will be proud of in years to come,” says Ona, a former secretary of the Department of Health.

“That’s why I believe employers who want to attract top Gen X and Y talents should capitalize on their entrepreneurial spirit by finding ways to keep them engaged, and how to give them a sense of ownership and purpose that will help drive performance,” he adds.

According to PhilCare president and CEO Jaeger Tanco, with Gen Xs and Ys embracing prolonged career over early retirement, the conventional narratives surrounding retirement are being challenged. This underscores the evolving perception of work as an integral part of life.

Your subscription could not be saved. Please try again.
Your subscription has been successful.

Subscribe to our daily newsletter

By providing an email address. I agree to the Terms of Use and acknowledge that I have read the Privacy Policy.

“To cater to the needs of Gen X and Y for extended careers, employers may need to reevaluate their career development programs. This may involve creating pathways for continuous learning, mentorship opportunities, and phased retirement plans that align with the two generations’ professional journey,” Tanco says.

TAGS: careers, job, millennials, self-employed

© Copyright 1997-2024 | All Rights Reserved

We use cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By continuing, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. To find out more, please click this link.