Sep 28, 2014

[Pink Culture] Limited LGBT Benefits in the Philippines

So I was kinda surprised to see little banner ad on my way home recently - the message is both direct and subtle, depending on who sees it. For queer individuals such as myself, it's clearly an ad targeted to the LGBT demographic and states a message of support and inclusion. For folks unfamiliar with what the rainbow can also represent, it's just another recruitment ad with two rather chummy call center agents.

And as much as some foreign companies operating in the Philippines have made headlines by extending HMO benefits to same-sex partners of employees, it hasn't really struck me as something that is aggressively being used as a recruitment strategy. And given the few companies that do offer this, you'd think that they'd try to capitalize on these niche benefits more.

It's interesting to note that in other countries such as the US, employee diversity has extended beyond equal rights for women to a lot of focus on employing many different disadvantaged groups. Thus in order for a company to appear to be more diverse, they need to actively engage with minority partners representing women-owned business, those run by ethnic minorities and of course LGBT individuals, to name a few.

Thus far the expansion of company benefits to same-sex couples has been largely limited to multinational companies operating in the country such as the different BPO and ITO businesses and of course the captive centers as well. But beyond that, we haven't seen any particular engagement by local businesses to recognize their LGBT employees in a greater way.

But who knows, perhaps with the multinationals taking the lead, local companies will eventually follow in their footsteps. We tend to copy a lot from the US after all, so why not this aspect of running a business in an inclusive way?

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