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At the end of 2011 most are still feeling the pinch of the recession, so what does this mean for our nannies?.


The age of the part-time nanny

With the coalition government proposing austerity measures in many areas of the economy, belt-tightening looks set to continue for some time yet. This time last year, the annual Nannytax Wages Survey had shown nanny salaries across the board to have a reasonably healthy increase on 2009, indicating recovery for salaries. However, this year 60% of agencies believe there is no significant change in 2011 salaries on 2010 and comments from the survey have a common theme: 'Salaries have definitely decreased or frozen given the economic climate' . . . 'No massive change, however, the hours are longer and the perks are less'. . . 'A bit of frustration from the nannies but general understanding due to the economic situation of the country'.

Despite the gloomy feeling, it's not all bad for the nanny industry as salary figures are actually showing reasonable increases for nannies regardless of the economic climate. Our survey has also shown that part-time nannies are on the increase and are high in demand, possibly indicating that while nanny employers may be cutting back they do not want to compromise on the bespoke childcare only a nanny can provide. Also shown is a demand for the nanny who can bring additional abilities to the family such as fluency in a second language (40% of agencies) and being able to coach in academic subjects such as English and Maths (30% of agencies). By far and away the most frequently requested ‘additional skill’ is being able to teach creative skills, arts, crafts and painting - over 70% of agencies saying this is frequently requested. This was also the most popular answer with nanny employers, with over 20% stating they request creative skills from their nanny.

Live-out/daily nannies

48% of the agencies that responded indicated that full-time daily nanny could be expected to work up to 50 hours per week and 44% said nannies could be expected to work up to 60 hours per week. So with 92% of agencies saying their full-time nannies are working between 40 and 60 hours a week, what are they earning for the hours they are putting in?

Live-out nannies in 2010 across Central London were earning an annual gross of £34,127 (£490 net per week). At the end of 2011 the same nannies were earning an annual gross of £34,516 (£497 net per week) showing a salary increase of 1.41% on the previous year. Not huge but an increase none-the-less. In Outer London and the Home Counties live-out nannies haven’t fared so well: 2011’s annual gross of £28,713 (£421 net per week) shows a 0.11% decrease on 2010’s annual gross of £29,009 (£422 net per week). Other Areas across the UK have shown a healthier result: In 2010 live-out nannies had been earning an annual gross of £24,877 (£360 net per week). As 2011 closed our survey showed they were earning an annual gross of £25,877 (£384 net per week) rising by 6.68% on the previous year.

Live-in nannies

Live-in nannies in 2011 showed a consistent picture, with Central London live-in nannies earning an annual gross of £26,870 (£397 net per week) – a 4.28% increase on 2010’s annual gross of £25,842 (£380 net per week). Outer London and Home Counties showed a similar increase. In 2010 nannies in these areas earned an annual gross of £22,523 (£336 net per week). 2011 brought them a 4.98% increase with an annual gross of £23,513 (£353 net per week). The surprise of our survey and the most dramatic change of all is for live-in nannies in Other Areas of the UK: In 2010 nannies working is these areas earned an annual gross of £18,527 (£283 net per week) but the end of 2011 our survey indicates they were earning an annual gross of £21,291 (£324 net per week) – this is a massive increase of 14.60%, the largest increase since 2007 which was for Central London daily nannies.

Finally for full-time live-in nannies, 52% of agencies have stated that they can be expected to work up to 60 hours per week.

Part-time nannies

As the economy remains in a state of belt-tightening and families look to save where they can while trying not to compromise on childcare, perhaps it’s no surprise that our survey showed part-time nannies to be the most in demand from nanny agencies. Nanny employers echoed this with 57% who completed the survey stating their nanny works for them on a part-time basis. Also high in demand are before-and-after school nannies. Whilst being in demand, agencies also say these types of requests are the most difficult positions to fill. Elizabeth Rackow of After School Nannies in South West London believes the demand is indicative of the economic climate and the increasing financial pressure on mothers to return to work. While some before-and-after school clubs are available as well as other wrap-around care, many children find it difficult not being able to come home until much later in the day. Elizabeth tells us

'It's a lot to expect from a child, five days a week. They can feel like they are still at school long after the school day has finished and may not be sufficiently fed until they get home after 5 or 6pm, after not eating properly since around 12.30. Soon after that they may have to go to bed – there's little separation.'

Coupled with the demand is the lack of nannies willing to take these positions. Elizabeth explains,

'This is the most demanding part of the weekday as any mother will attest. You have to do the school run, communicate with teachers and discuss or resolve any issues, organize any after-school activities, cook the children's dinner, prepare PE kits, bags and lunches for the next day and supervise homework – and all in the space of about three hours at a time of day when everyone is tired.'

She goes on to explain that experienced, professional nannies are reluctant to work for so few hours a day during term-time even if it means working full days for the family during the school holidays. It's a very tricky area of the industry and one that Elizabeth believes paints a much bigger social issue.


Despite our Nannytax nannyshares department becoming increasingly busier, our survey has shown very little movement in nanny shares since last year, both from agencies and nanny employers. However, Nannyshare.co.uk, a website dedicated to introducing nanny employers in the same area and helping them to find a nanny, has indicated an increase in their registrations since 2010. So why has our agency survey shown that nanny shares positions are the least in demand? The answer may lie in another question: What constitutes a nanny share? The simple answer is that a nanny share is when two or more families employ the same nanny.

Louise Taylor explains that Kensington Nannies has a very clear definition: The nanny cares for all the children in one location at the same time. She goes onto say that this type of position rarely works on a long-term basis.

'Circumstances changing may mean that one family no longer needs the nanny, or the parents have different parenting styles from each other causing conflict. Just placing a nanny that is a suitable match for both families can be challenging.'

Louise also believes that the nannies themselves are not always so keen to enter into a share.

'It’s always going to be harder to please two families rather than one. For example, simply trying to arrange time-off can often be very difficult. A week agreed with one family may not be suitable with the other and because of this the nanny may find she cannot take a chunk of time off in one go.'

The nanny working on separate days of the week for each family is also considered a share – but often only if the families know each other and have made the arrangement together. Consider the following: Scenario 1 - Two employers who know each other employ the same nanny to work half the week at each of their homes. This would be a nanny share. Scenario 2 - The same two employers, who don’t know each other, have employed the same nanny who ends up with the same working arrangement – in this case the nanny simply is a part-time nanny who has two jobs.

Justin Jeffries at Nannyshare.co.uk believes it's down to the arrangement and contract:

'When two families employ a nanny, each knowing about the other, they enter into a formal employment arrangement not only with the nanny but with each other. This really defines the share.'

Hayley Rathbone, payroll consultant for nanny shares here at Nannytax says:

'We generally consider a nanny working for two or more employers to be in a share whether they know each other or not. There are all sorts of payroll issues to consider when a nanny has more than one job that concerns all employers involved, so from a tax perspective she is being shared.'

As mentioned, the nanny share position is the least in demand according to our survey but, by contrast, the part-time nanny is the most in demand. From the above it's difficult to conclude exactly what constitutes a nanny share. It really comes down to the employers, the nanny's working arrangements and how contracts are defined. Despite any complications that can come with a share, it is still a very cost efficient way of procuring flexible childcare, particularly if the families have more than one child each.

The coming 12 months

So what can nannies expect for the rest of 2012? Despite the state of the economy nannies should be assured that they are highly valued amongst the families who employ them. Over 69% of nanny employers consider their nanny to be a trusted family associate with over 27% saying they would find it very difficult to replace her, if at all. Survey comments include 'can’t imagine life without her' . . . 'the children love her' . . . 'would be very sad to see her go and we'd try our hardest to keep her'. Nanny agencies should also be reassured: many nanny employers would still employ the services of a nanny agency to help them find their nanny, 'a nanny agency' being the most popular answer at 44% when asked how they would find a new nanny. It may only be a crumb of comfort but it does go a little way to negating some concerns that the continuing power of the Internet and the rise of sites such as Gumtree threaten our nanny agencies and the standard of nannies in the industry.

This year's survey has shown that's it's all about 'added value' – a common theme throughout the economy and the nanny industry really is no exception. As always flexibility is a key asset – the nanny who accepts that the dream full-time position may be slightly elusive (certainly for the time being), and taking on two or even three positions to make up the working week, will be at an advantage. Diversity is also crucial as the nanny who can offer additional skills such as arts and crafts, languages, musical talents and even sports such as horse-riding and skiing will be far more valuable to her employer than the one who just does childcare. The more the nanny brings to the childcare table, the more she can expect to become part of every family she works for – and then she can really shine.


Average Weekly Net & Annual Gross Wages by Area

Live-In Nannies

 Central LondonOuter London & Home CountiesOther Areas
Year End Weekly Net % Change Annual Gross Weekly Net % Change Annual Gross Weekly Net % Change Annual Gross
2011 397 4.28 26,870 353 4.98 23,513 324 14.60 21,291
2010 380 7.04 25,842 336 6.67 22,523 283 0.35 18,527
2009 355 2.31 23,949 315 3.62 20,934 282 0.36 18,435
2008 347 -2.25 23,525 304 2.70 20,277 281 4.46 18,542
2007 355 8,23 24,545 296 4.60 19,988 269 4.26 17,908
2006 328 4.50 22,582 283 1.80 19,079 258 2.40 17,142
2005 314 7.50 21,573 278 4.00 18,776 252 6.00 16,761


Live-Out Nannies

 Central LondonOuter London & Home CountiesOther Areas
Year End Weekly Net % Change Annual Gross Weekly Net % Change Annual Gross Weekly Net % Change Annual Gross
2011 497 1.41 34,516 421 -0.11 28,713 384 6.68 25,877
2010 490 5.15 34,127 422 11.05 29,009 360 10.09 24,335
2009 466 3.79 32,316 380 1.60 25,842 327 -2.97 21,843
2008 449 -3.65 31,203 374 1.63 25,559 337 4.33 22,766
2007 466 14.22 33,179 368 6.98 25,548 323 8.39 22,100
2006 408 2.26 28,786 344 3.61 23,825 298 1.71 20,171
2005 399 4.00 28,171 332 2.00 22,971 293 3.75 19,948<

All percentages have been taken from the 95 nanny agencies and 1244 nanny employers who completed the 2011 Nannytax Wages Survey.

Article originally published in Nursery World Magazine, January 2012.