Monday, November 1st, 2021
Whilst I enjoyed reading the light fluffy piece about the lack of help available for the UHNW 0.01%, I really feel that the article missed the point and did not see the very real problem, facing many “normal” families all over the UK at the moment, which is the lack of people available to help in the home, with childcare and elder care and which in my opinion is every bit as serious as the lack of lorry drivers.
As was stated in the article the demand for domestic staff and help in the home has never been higher as families who have been working from home, are now trying to get back to a sense of normality and return to working in offices etc.
I really feel that Helen Kirwan-Taylor missed an opportunity to look into the more serious side of the whole domestic sector and whilst I understand that it is not nearly as entertaining as writing about people who are worrying that they won’t have anyone to turn down their beds at night etc, it is a real shame that she did not talk about the ramifications that the current shortage of experienced help in the home is having on the wider population, who rely on this type of assistance, to enable them to be able to go to work, help with their children or look after an elderly relative.
As the Owner & Director of Harris Recruitment for the past 22 years, which is a boutique domestic recruitment agency, supplying all types of domestic help nationwide, www.harrisrecruitment.co.uk, I have never known a market like this, where there is such a shortage of good quality help available.
We are certainly living in strange times and are seeing that currently it is very much a candidate, not an employer market, as the movement of applicants has really slowed down. The good ones all have several options open to them and just today we had 2 candidates that were offered positions by our clients and accepted jobs elsewhere.
This is something that certainly isn’t just unique to UHNW positions, as we are seeing this in all sectors of domestic recruitment, across the whole of the UK, especially in our main market, which is the part time daily housekeeper market.
We think that this shortage reflects the Conservative Government’s Immigration Strategy and is caused by the reduction of suitable experienced people, legally allowed to work in the UK.
This is not a new problem, but one that has been building gradually since March 2012, when the Government and the Home Office, despite being advised against doing so, decided to scrap the ability for Overseas Domestic Workers, who came into the UK on a Domestic Worker Visa, to change employer and then renew their visa, as long as they were employed.
Many of the domestic vacancies were then filled by EU Nationals, including those who came on Au Pair visas, however, because of Brexit, many of these experienced people have now returned to their own countries.
The final nail in the coffin, has been caused by the past 18 months, whilst we’ve been dealing with Covid 19 and as a result of the Lockdowns, people much more reticent about going back to work or moving jobs, as they want to hang on to their job security, especially if they had been eligible for Furlough.
There is a huge misconception that housekeeping, cleaning, nannying or caring positions are only for the very wealthy, and that these jobs are badly paid, low skilled positions that can be done by anyone.
From experience, I can testify that this is certainly not the case, in fact the opposite is true, as good, part time experienced housekeepers, carers and nannies or a combination role, regularly earn between £14 – £18 gross per hour and full-time salaries are between £39,000 – £54, 000 per annum.
The candidates that we deal with need to be experienced and have previous work-related checkable references. The housekeepers that we would represent will all have good previous relevant experience, either from previously working in private domestic homes, in hotels or for cleaning companies. Nannies will have either previously have worked as a nanny for a family or worked in a nursery and carer/companions will either have worked in care homes, for domiciliary care agencies or for private clients.
Something urgently needs to be done by this Government to rectify this problem, as the supply shortage of good candidates is forcing salaries to go even higher and makes employing the help untenable for those who need the assistance most in order to run their everyday lives, however sadly I’m not sure they are interested or even care.