Becoming a nanny or au pair has long been considered the fill-in job choice of many young people (mostly, but not exclusively, women) looking to see a bit of the world. What better way to discover far flung places than by securing a job that often comes with free bed and board and the use of a car? Yes, of course, there is the important matter of looking after children included in the deal as well, but the perks are frequently good enough to attract a steady flow of eager foreign nationals to the UK’s shores, keen on a nanny role as a short term job filler.
But one glance at the role of the au pair and nanny in modern cities such as London indicates a shift in behaviour. With the greater choice available form the various nanny agencies in London, parents are basing their childcare choices on more exacting criteria.
So what are the main changes effecting the role of nanny in London today? Let’s kick a few of the myths into touch and identify what’s really happening in the nanny profession today…
Serious career choice
With the introduction of new rules concerning pay, pensions and national insurance, a nanny position has become recognised as a long term career option. Rather than merely a stop gap casual job between school and university, now you find child care professionals planning their career around this demanding yet satisfying role. In London the number of clients seeking reliable and experienced childcare is huge and high demand dictates that salaries are rising too. The average pay for a full time nanny in London in 2013 was around the £35,000 mark. In the rest of the UK the average nanny wage was around £22,000, but still these kind of figures are attracting the interest of those looking for careers that centre around childcare.
From the employer’s point of view, the introduction of new tax and pay rules may seem more expensive and complicated, but recognising the role as professional has the knock on benefit of producing better qualified candidates.
Experience or youth?
Another myth busted about nannies is their enduring youthfulness. Nannies and au pairs are no longer expected to be in their late teens and early twenties. Increasingly, parents choose candidates with a wealth of life experience, perhaps with families of their own. Granny Nannies are becoming popular because of their rich expertise in managing complex family dynamics – a youngster straight out of college with a sheaf of childcare qualifications under their arm will not have the experience to cope with large families containing kids of different ages, some perhaps with special needs or other requirements. Of course, every family situation differs, but older and wiser often wins over younger and qualified in contemporary nanny recruitment battles.
Online nanny search
As with most things these days, the world of nanny recruitment has a strong online presence. The freedom, choice and convenience offered by nanny agencies in London that have an online presence makes the whole process so much quicker and more exhaustive. Especially useful to families from abroad who lack existing support networks and contacts to help them in the nanny search. Putting a card in the newsagent or asking around at the toddler group always used to be a sure-fire way of getting started, but these days there are high tech agencies who will thoroughly vet candidates and only send for interview those people they know are suitable. This saves time and avoids awkward scenarios where totally inappropriate candidates knock on the door, recommended via a friend of a friend. Not to mention that professional childcare staff secured through a nanny agency have been security checked, have relevant qualifications and are fully briefed about the job description prior to arrival.
The new breed of online nanny agencies recognise families don’t function as they used to. Employment patterns have changed and often one parent may work from home but still require childcare support. Care plans adapted to fit the family’s requirements are better managed by modern agencies with fewer attachments to the traditional ways of nanny scheduling.
Becoming a nanny in the United Kingdom is now a serious career proposition. Forget the outdated view of a stop-gap job and see it for the important role it is. What better, more rewarding and valuable job is there than nurturing and caring for our precious children?