Choosing the Best Nanny Market for Your Next Job

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locationWhen you decide to look for a new nanny job, there are lots of things you have to take into consideration. The type of family you want to work for, the responsibilities you’re willing to take on, the ages you want to work with – these all factor into the type of job you ultimately want to take. A big question you must also answer is where you want to work. Like in real estate, one of the most important factors in finding a nanny job is location, location, location. Here are some key questions to consider when deciding on your search area.

Are the areas I’m considering viable nanny markets? Other childcare jobs, like family care providers, daycare providers, preschool teachers or entry-level teachers can be found in towns and cities across the country. The same isn’t true for nanny jobs, though. For an area to be a viable nanny market it must have a significant population of professionals like doctors, lawyers, bankers or college professionals. It’s more viable if it also has a significant population of business executives, successful startups and other affluent parents.

This matters for three important reasons. First, those types of families are able to afford a nanny. Nanny care is the most expensive form of childcare and, because of the cost, it’s a choice that many families cannot afford. Although most parents love the idea of having a nanny, the reality is it’s not an option for a family that doesn’t earn a certain income. When an area is filled with parents who want a nanny but cannot realistically afford one, a nanny job hunter’s chances of finding a quality position are very low. What she’ll find is lots of nanny jobs paying far below a livable wage, and often even below a legal wage.

Second, areas that have a nanny population support the nanny culture. Families understand the difference between a babysitter and a nanny and are willing to pay for quality care. Employers understand that a nanny is a childcare professional who requires a competitive wage, standard benefits like paid time off and access to a household account, and a comfortable and safe work environment. When an area doesn’t have a nanny population and instead simply has a handful of nannies working in the area, there’s usually no understanding of the nanny as a professional. The types of wages and benefits that are standard in the industry are almost non-existent in these areas.

Third, having a significant number of potential employers means a nanny will have a good chance of actually finding a quality job. While even the smallest town may have a few nannies working in it, that doesn’t make it a viable job market. As a job hunter, it’s essential that you look at the number of jobs that are available or will be available during the time of your search. When an area only has a handful of open jobs at any one time, the chances of landing one of them are very low. Job hunters in those areas are in for long periods of unemployment or underemployment while they wait to be hired. Plus, a nanny won’t be able to pick and choose a position that best fits her needs and wants when there are only a few open jobs at any one time. With such limited options, it’s a “take what you can get” market.

Does the area I’m interested in offer the wages I want to make? Nannies are the highest paid segment of the childcare field, but how high those wages are depends primarily on the location of the nanny. A nanny can earn two to three times more in a large metropolitan area such as Boston or San Francisco than she can in a mid-sized city in Texas or North Carolina. Of course, in areas where wages are higher, the cost of living is too, so that must also be taken into consideration. If you want to earn the high salary that many nannies aspire to, choosing a city that supports those wage levels is essential. Otherwise, no matter how qualified you are, you’ll be limited by the salary ceiling of your local area.

Does the area I want to work in offer a thriving nanny community? Working as a nanny is an isolating job. Having a local nanny community to turn to for support, resources and nanny/child outings is a big factor in job success and satisfaction. Not every area has a nanny community, so this is an important thing to look at when deciding where to work. Of course, if an area is lacking in an organized community, an energetic and dedicated nanny can plant the seeds and grow her own nanny community.

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