This is a topic that must be discussed as it has become a growing issue in recent years in the Nanny Industry. Many professional and experienced nannies are not taken as seriously and struggle to find proper paying positions now more than ever before! From personal experience as a professional nanny of 17 years, I have found it much more difficult to find nanny positions that pay properly and carry a benefits package as compared to the search several years back. Having discussed this with other Professional Nannies between positions they have shared the same problem resulting in it taking much longer to find a proper position. This growing issue needs to be discussed amongst both nannies and families so that we can keep the Nanny Profession exactly that, a profession! So where does the trouble come in? Most often it is new nannies with less experience accepting low paying positions often because they simply don’t know what the industry standard is. If you are newer to the nanny profession, or if you have been at it awhile but never did the research to find out proper rates it is a good idea to look into this some more!
Let’s say you were making a career change of some kind or simply entering a career for the first time, it would not make sense to not take the time to find out the up to date rates and standards of your chosen field. Say for example you become a photographer, having never worked as a professional photographer you would not know what the going rates are for different packages and what you should offer. It would make sense to do some research online, talk to professional photographers who have been in the industry for several years, and know what to offer and what to expect. Your clients will be coming to you paying for a service that they want to be an exceptional one and your time and talents have value. It is the same with any industry, the proper, fair, responsible, and professional thing to do is to know what is expected and what the going rates are so you can set yourself up for success.
You may wonder how this affects other nannies? It does so in quite a few ways: let’s say a family is seeking a full-time nanny and during the course of their interviews they meet many nannies asking for 20 dollars an hour and then come across one offering to work for 14 dollars an hour. That family very likely will choose the low-cost nanny simply because it sounds like a deal. Meanwhile other nannies who have been working hard for years and have been making 20 dollars an hour have a much more difficult time finding a family that will take their rate seriously. At the end of the day as with most things you get what you pay for. There is a reason why a top-notch nanny values herself, her skills, and her time, and expects to be compensated accordingly. It is so important as you move into this profession to not sell yourself for less then you are worth! Yes, if you are brand new you may start a little less than a nanny who has been working for ten plus years, however, even starting rates need to be according to industry standards. Accepting less sadly makes this beautiful industry seem like your average babysitter and nannies are then not taken seriously for the professionals that they are. As with all things rates go up over time. The cost of living gets higher and the industry rates go up with it the same way your hair stylist raises her fees every year or so.
The bottom line is if you want to be taken seriously and protect the nanny industry as a whole it is unacceptable to accept low paying positions. Not everyone can afford a nanny and that is ok! A nanny is the most expensive form of childcare and is a privilege. You cannot compare the cost to daycare as they are completely different. When nannies offer themselves for less parents come to expect it and often don’t realize the expense and commitment of a truly professional nanny. As nannies it is important to stick together and support each other. This is one of the biggest ways in which this can be done! A great resource is www.nanny.org they send out an annual survey for nannies all over the US to take and come up with current standards. Call your local agency, talk to nannies in your area that have experience, and above all else know your worth! It is far better to take the time to find the right fit then settle for less. By doing so you will also help other nannies and the industry as a whole thrive!
By: Anne-Marie Ferraro