Nanny Glut

Nanny Glut Means Lower Wages and Wacky Offers
as reprted in My Mission by Lauren Rosenfeld
Two dollars per hour or weekly wages of $200 plus trips to Las Vegas don’t sound like payments for quality childcare. But these are some of the proposals nannies are getting these days.

“[Nannies] are being offered the weirdest incentives,” said Melissa Castillo, director of community programs at the Women’s Building. “Spirits are down because of the impossible job market. People know that and are offering incentives instead of payment.”

Not only are fewer families hiring nannies, unemployed teachers and office workers are entering the field offering new competition, according to placement agencies. The nanny glut has meant lower wages and strange offers.

One woman, who asked that her name not be used, came to the United States from Peru nine years ago and quickly found work for $17 an hour in 2001. She kept that job until 2009 when the child she cared for turned 10-years-old, and the family decided they didn’t need a full-time nanny.

She’s been looking for work since last November and even having a U.S. passport hasn’t helped in her job hunt.

“What’s happening is really horrible,” she said. “I thought it was just me but many people have told me they are having problems.”

Jens Hillen, who owns Town and Country Resources, a Bay Area nanny placement agency, with his wife, said the 2008 recession impacted both clients and nannies. Hiring slowed and the number of nanny candidates increased.

Leslie Kline, a placement consultant at Aunt Ann’s In-House Staffing, agreed that more highly educated people are registering for nanny positions. Many are out-of-work teachers looking for alternatives as unemployment remains close to ten percent in San Francisco County.

Nannies hired through agencies generally earn more than those sought through ads on sites like Craigslist. Kline said she has finally started to see the minimum rates creep above $20 an hour, but after the recession hit, $20 was on the high end for almost two years. Employment advocates at the Women’s Center say they still see a difficult nanny market.

The unemployed Peruvian woman said she has been on numerous interviews at luxurious homes around the Bay Area. The parents are lawyers, doctors, and architects who advertise $16 to $20 an hour, but when she arrives for the interview or training, they offer her $8 or $10.

“They tell me the economy is bad,” she said. “And that they’ve found undocumented women that will work for $8 an hour.”

On one interview, she entered an unfurnished house with a mattress and sheet on the floor. The mother of a three-year-old told her she’d be sleeping there and paid $200 per week.

“I was really shocked because the ad said $15 an hour,” she said. “Then the mother offered to take me to Las Vegas every weekend. She told me I’d have lots of friends, lots of boyfriends. I told her that I don’t need a boyfriend or a husband. I’m here to work with children.”

The Peruvian nanny recently asked Castillo at the Women’s Building to make a flyer that advertises her services. “She didn’t want me to put her university education on the flyer,” said Melissa Castillo, referring to the woman’s obstetrics training, “because she was afraid people would think she’s too expensive, and that it would turn them away.”

Castillo said it was a common problem and sees immigrant lawyers and psychologists, ready to work as domestic workers, line cooks, truckers, and nannies because their degrees mean little here.

“Last week, I applied to various families,” the Peruvian woman said. “But I don’t know if anyone has responded. I’m going into the resource room to check my email. Often, I wait many days and no one responds – not even to say ‘thank you.’”


TC said...

In this area (Houston) I've noticed the wages slowly drop in the last couple of years.

There are a few nanny agencies here who have websites where they list jobs and the amounts the parents were willing to spend. 4 years ago it was averaging about 15-20 an hour for this area and most were full time. Just last week I checked and for the most part they were offering 12 an hour with a few up to 15 and none as high as 20 and a LOT more part time jobs.

One thing we have going against us down here is the influx of illegal aliens. Why pay me 20 bucks an hour to watch your kids when you can pay an illegal half that or less and they will be your maid as well?

It also of course depends on the area, nannies are a status symbol for some families. In Houston where the old money and where the homes are multi million dollars they prefer to have legal nannies because it makes them 'better' than their friends who can 'only' afford the illegals. In that area of town there are more legal than illegal nannies. They couldn't care less about the moral and legal issues they just need to one up each other. In the suburbs where the home prices range from 100 thousand to 500 thousand you find more illegals because of course a legal nanny costs more.

Of course there are exceptions to the rules and this is only my opinion and my experiences.

TheOriginalDenverNanny said...

I've seen a change in wages but only by 1-2 dollars/hour max here in Denver. I still get the wacky offers-- $10/hour for <2 month old twins?!? But I had similiar offers before the economy tanked.
I got a small raise this year (despite going from 24 hours/week to barely 11) and I actually turned down 4 job offers so I could be picky with my class schedule & avoid the late night classes. So, I guess Denver's doing ok!

pop n fresh said...

I would never hire a illegal. how can they pass any background checks?
I regestared with a agencey and they dont even talk to you till your background check comes back clean! I had to be fingerprinted and it is sent to the FBI !

New New York Nanny said...

I just moved to NYC after making 18$ an hour in a smaller city. I assumed I could make at least that in New York, seeing as everything costs more here. Imagine my surprise when I found out the average pay for 50 hours with light house work and two kids was around 650$. On top of that no one pays on the books. I finally found a job where I don't feel taken advantage of.

slb3334 said...

I had a lady contact me about a live in job that wanted to pay $60 a week and got upset when I pointed out it was $2 an hour.

tc said...

I forgot to mention I just got a 2 dollar an hour raise....but I had to ask for it.

Question for all you nannies that had to ask for a raise did you tell them you needed a raise due to living expenses and such or did you take another approach?

Hungrycollegestudent said...

I can sympathize with the person in this article, BUT BUT BUT I think if she wants reasonable offers, she should definitely put her education in her information. She says she's afraid that people will shy away from her because they think she will charge too much, but she's essentially complaining that people's offers are too low. I'm pretty sure that's a problem easily fixed.

Bostonnanny said...

I've noticed in Boston the Jobs vary from 10-20 per hour. Most of the positions being offered now are 10-12 for one child and 15-18 for two, with light cleaning. Plus most positions are only part time. When I started I could find a position for 15per hour for one child, with no cleaning, plus benefits.
If I were to try and find a job now on short notice, I'd prob end up working part time with 2children, cleaning there entire house and offered no benefits. If I happen to find a full time position it would be for a 50-60hours a week with possilbly one week paid vacation.
I have to add that most of the families aren't strapped they are just taking advantage of the situation.

Bostonnanny said...

I have a nanny friend who is now an American citizen after being and au pair for a few years and marrying her bf. People take advantage of her all the time because they see her as an illegal that doesn't know any better. One family told her they wouldn't give her raise until she was a citizen. She was making 10 an hour for 3kids with no benefits and at the time she had just gotten married and had her work papers. When she mention she could legally work in the US( she always has been) they dropped the subject and refused to talk about a raise again and let her go a month later.

TheOriginalDenverNanny said...

I didn't ask for my raise, I was actually pretty surprised by it, even for my third year with them.

I only worked 24 hours/week, late August through late May, and this school year I dropped down to ony 11 hours/week. This was my choice due to class schedule and I thought I wouldn't be able to stay with them at all. They wanted me to stay badly enough that they enrolled their 2 year old in Tues/Thurs halfday daycare & grandma MOVED closer to take him for the other halfdays. Last school year, Momboss completely re-worked her work schedule to accomodate my class schedule.

They direct-deposit my checks, give me heartfelt and homemade gifts at Christmas, are always exactly on time or early (mini-blizzards excluded), and are in short; the perfect family for me. I never asked for a raise because I was so happy to be working for such a great family--I was very happily surprised when I found out I would be able to keep working with them! And since I have only committed through the end of this semester, downright shocked when she told me they were giving me a raise!

TC said...

The original, oh wow that's just awesome

My bosses aren't terrible to work for and they've given me raises in the past but they coincided with something like taking on more hours, or when the baby was born I've never gotten a raise 'just because'

I finally had to ask because I was making less than I should be for the area and because I wasn't making ends meet. I went ahead and was honest with her, which I've been told is a 'no no' but I figured this is a different job and a different set of rules than most and it's such a personal job. I see these people in their pjs, I wash their panties you can't get more personal than that.

eric01 said...


So true so true

You made me laugh with the last statement!!