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Filipino “tribe” on the rise in Aus: Salt

Michelle Baltazar

Australians with Filipino heritage emerge as one of the key cultural tribes that will reshape the way most local companies will do business in the future, said acclaimed demographer Bernard Salt.

Speaking at an industry conference in Sydney for superannuation professionals this week, Salt said that Australia is fast morphing from a nation with anglomediterranean influences to one with an “anglomediterraneanasian” character, thanks to China, India and Vietnam climbing the ranks of the top 10 sources of immigrants in the country.

But one of the more surprising data to come out of the 2011 census is the emergence of Philippine as among the top 10 “country of birth” in Australia. The number of Australians with Filipino heritage has increased by 42% based on 2006 to 2011 census figures.

“That’s got a lot to do with the 457 visa,” said Salt, referring to the visa program that allows skilled workers from overseas to come to Australia on a temporary or sponsored basis.

The Filipino “tribe”, as Salt calls it, combined with the Chinese, Vietnamese and Indian tribes will become dominant enough in the future that Australian companies that want to succeed need to rethink how they do business.

“Australia has largely been an egalitarian society but the Asian culture is more hierarchical so you have to start thinking about those differences,” he said.

In terms of retirement and savings, there are differences between the tribes, too. For example, it is inherent in Filipino culture to send money remittances to family and relatives back in the Philippines as well as invest money in property there.

Those kind of considerations contrast to the needs of traditional anglo-Australian families and again versus those of new migrants coming from the African continent.

It’s not just finances. As a cultural melting pot, the rate of interracial relationships in Australia is on the rise. For bachelor Filipinos, Salt’s research suggests that the highest concentration of eligible women in Sydney is in Woollahra.

For Filipina women looking for love, Salt’s research suggests that the highest concentration of eligible men in Sydney is in Lakemba. But that could prove to be challenging if you add diversity of religion in Australia in the mix

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