Elite New York Nannies Earn $180,000 A Year
Do you speak fluent Mandarin? Can you cook a four-course meal? Ride and groom a horse? Steer a 32-foot boat, manage an art collection, and clean an ice rink? Do you have celebrity contacts? And do you have the looks of a global supermodel?
If so, have you ever thought about becoming a nanny?
According to Adam Davidson in the The New York Times, the New York City area is home to scores of elite hyper-skilled nannies. Some wealthy families are willing to pay close to $200,000 a year for such a catch -- someone able to keep up with their sometimes wild demands. It's a great status symbol too, if you're nanny happens to have a degree from Harvard, or the looks of Penelope Cruz, or used to nanny Jon Bon Jovi's brood.
People don't usually go into child care to get rich. The national average pay for a nanny is between $8 and $17 an hour, according to PayScale. Child-care provider is one of the traditional "pink collar jobs," like nurse, teacher, waitress and secretary, which are mostly held by women and where they might earn considerably less than the blue and white collar jobs that are mostly held by men. The ranks of child-care providers are often filled by new immigrants who have little formal education.
One new immigrant nanny, who Davidson profiles, came from a poor family in Brazil, and began working as a nanny in the U.S. for $100 a week. Now she earns $180,000 a year, and has bought a beach house in Brazil, a penthouse in Miami, two homes in Los Angeles, a house for her mother, a condo for her sister, and taxi cabs for her brothers.
"That's unusual, but not unheard of," says Cliff Greenhouse, the president of the Pavillion Agency, which provides domestic workers to wealthy New Yorkers. "But there are many, many nannies earning over $100,000 a year."
The nannies that Pavillion places usually have bachelor's or master's degrees in early childhood education, teaching, or drama and the arts, or are trained rigorously in England. But the families aren't just paying for the skill set, according to Greenhouse.
"The child-care skills may not vary greatly from the $100,000 nanny to $40,000 nanny." The difference, he says, is that the $100,000 nanny is willing to dedicate her (or his, but usually her) life to the family, around the clock.
"You can imagine the needs of very wealthy families, who are very busy with their careers, philanthropic activities, travel demands," Greenhouse says. "The uncertainty of what your personal life will be like is tremendous."
There just aren't enough willing people to meet the demand. "How big is the Forbes list?" Greenhouse asks. "The Billionaire List? And it's getting bigger every day. It's not easy to attract a well-educated nanny who's willing to give up her life for any salary."
Greenhouse offers the example of an experienced teacher, earning $70,000 a year. "They're working nine months out of the year, and have a strong union to support them," he says. "What would it take for that well-educated teacher to work 11 months out of the year, on call 22 hours a day, five days a week? What would you want, if you were that teacher, to give up your life?"
Without hesitation, he knows the answer. "Well over $100,000 a year."
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Claire Gordon has contributed to Slate's DoubleX, the Huffington Post, and the book Prisons: Current Controversies. While an undergraduate at Yale University and a research fellow at Yale graduate school, she spoke on panels at Yale and Cornell, and reported from Cairo, Tokyo, and Berlin.
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