Landing a nanny job is never easy, and the COVID-19 pandemic has made finding a nanny position difficult - but not impossible. We have previously written about what it takes to be a nanny in 2020. Now, here are our top tips on landing a nanny job in the new normal.
The shape of the nanny job market
We’ve all heard that the UK is facing an economic downturn, but what does this mean for nannies?
The nanny market, and therefore the volume of new nanny jobs available has declined to an extent. This is attributable to several factors:
- Some parents are reluctant to change nannies for the time being, sticking to the childcare arrangements they currently have while the uncertainty around the pandemic and its impact is relatively high.
- Some parents are moving out of the UK, or to the countryside. That’s due to the combined impact of the pandemic and Brexit.
- Some parents are facing financial difficulties, with their job market also being unstable.
- Some parents remain reluctant to invite anyone new into their homes, for fear of contracting the coronavirus that could put themselves or a family member at risk.
- Some parents are now working from home and no longer need extra help with childcare during work hours. This has mainly impacted the after school nanny market, as parents still need help managing younger children during work hours.
However, there are more parents on the market that have never hired a nanny before, following the widespread closures of nurseries across the country. A reported 20% of nurseries have shut their doors for good, with a further 70% financially struggling.
What nanny jobs are out there?
The ratio between nanny vs. nanny-housekeeper job has remained the same as pre-pandemic
The available jobs on the nanny market have remained relatively stable across the pandemic, with ⅔ of parents looking to hire a nanny and the remaining third searching for a nanny-housekeeper.
Demand for live-out nannies v. live-in nannies has increased slightly
Proportionally, there has been an increase in parents looking for a live-out nanny. Prior to March 2020, 71% of parents requested a live-out nanny, with 26% looking for a live-in nanny. However, following the first national lockdown, the percentage of parents looking for a live-out nanny rose to 76%.
While one may initially hypothesise that parents are looking for live-in nannies to minimise their contact with others that might risk bringing the coronavirus into their homes, many parents ultimately may not have the space to accommodate a live-in nanny. Furthermore, with more and more parents working from home, many have turned to converting spare bedrooms into offices and can therefore no longer accommodate a live-in nanny.
That said, the demand for live-in nannies continues to be much greater than the supply of live-in nannies. If you’re struggling to get a live-out job, consider a live-in job, and your options will certainly expand exponentially.
There have been a noticeable increase in demand for nanny drivers
The largest visible change on the nanny market has been in the requests for nannies and nanny-housekeepers that can drive. Prior to March 2020, only 6% of parents specifically requested a nanny that could drive; since then, this has leapt up to ¼ of parents looking for a nanny or nanny-housekeeper that can drive.
This is mainly due to the concerns surrounding public transport; in order to minimise the contact the nanny has with others, parents are wary of inviting a nanny who takes public transport into their homes for fear of catching the virus on the bus, tube or train.
What are parents looking for in a nanny post-COVID pandemic?
Nannies who can walk, cycle or drive to work
With many parents wary of their nanny catching the coronavirus on public transport, parents are now looking for nannies that are able to use alternative methods of transport. As mentioned above, there has been an increase in parents that are now looking for a nanny or nanny-housekeeper that can drive, but parents are also open to nannies that can walk or cycle to their home. Some parents have even bought bicycles for their nannies in order to encourage them to cycle to work, instead of relying on public transport.
Nannies who live with low-risk people
Parents are now also looking for nannies that live alone, or live with people that seldom use public transport and have minimal interaction with people outside of the home. This echoes the sentiment that parents are cautious about inviting people into their home that risk transmitting the coronavirus to the family.
Nannies who are team players and can work as a team with parents
Despite many nannies expressing a preference for sole-charge nanny jobs, parents are looking for nannies who are willing to work as a team. With more parents working from home, they are now able to watch what their children do more closely, from the activities they do with their nanny to what they are eating throughout the day. While this means that nannies may lose some of their independence, there is also an opportunity for nannies to collaborate with parents, keeping them up to date with how their routines and schedules are changing as they get older.
Nannies who can pitch in with housework
Moreover, parents are looking for nannies who are willing to pitch in around the house and use their initiative. Although the demand ratio for nannies against nanny-housekeepers has remained relatively stable, the boundaries between the two roles are becoming increasingly blurred. This is attributable to the fact that as parents are now working from home, they are looking to spend more time with their children, so are hoping that nannies will pitch in with light housekeeping duties while the parents play with the children. We are aware that there are nannies out there who are not too keen on this aspect, so it is important to clarify what your roles and responsibilities will be during the interview.
Nannies who are educationally and developmentally focused
Finally, there has been an increase in parents looking for nannies who are educationally focused. This rise can be attributed to schools closing earlier this year and the pressure on parents to homeschool. This does not mean that parents are looking for nannies that will take over the role of a teacher entirely, but rather they are looking for someone who will coordinate educational activities with the children, for instance teaching younger children how to count, or even teaching them how to speak a second language.
How can I work as a nanny when parents are at home?
To ensure that you are able to work as a team with parents, it’s important to know how to conduct your daily duties as a nanny while the parents are working from home.
Communication is key!
Communication is a two-way street, so not only is it the responsibility of the parent to inform you of your responsibilities and duties, but it is also your responsibility to take initiative. For example, with parents now working from home, the children will be looking to come into the office more to have a cuddle, so it is imperative that the nanny and parents have a discussion surrounding when they should allow the child to come in, and when visiting the office is strictly off-limits.
Balance initiative with following the parents’ lead
Although initiative is important to a nanny’s job, it’s also important to follow instructions set by the parents. For instance, if the children seem restless at night, the nanny might be asked to take the children out more in the day to tire them out. From there, you can take the reins; you might choose to take them to the playground, or have an activity day in the garden.
Have a clear understanding of parents’ expectations
This goes back to the importance of communication. As there is a noticeable increase in parents looking for nannies who will pitch in with housework, it is worth asking your employer what exactly they are expecting you to do. For instance, while they play with the children in the evening, is there any light housework that you could do to help out? Will you be expected to provide lunch for the parents as well as the children?
Align on activities, especially screen time
As a nanny, screen time should be the last resort, but parents understand that nannies need breaks too. Therefore, check in with the parents to see which activities they would like you to do with the children, and when it is acceptable to place them in front of a screen while you take a well-deserved break. Taking this one step further, see if there is anything that the parents would like your children to engage with on the screen; are they happy for you to put on a Disney film, or would they prefer it if they watched an educational video aimed at children?
How to get a nanny job in a competitive market
With fewer nanny jobs and more nannies available in the pandemic, finding a nanny job is tough, which means nailing every aspect of the recruitment process is essential. Follow these top tips to boost your chances of landing a nanny job in the mid-pandemic economy.
When looking at your nanny CV, the profile picture will be the first thing parents see. Therefore, it’s important to:
- Smile! You will be working with children, so you want to look professional and approachable.
- Don’t pout or pose. 90% of parents said they would not hire a nanny who was pouting in their profile picture.
- Use a passport style photo, framing only your head and shoulders. (But smile!)
- Have someone else take the photo for you. Selfies reduce your chance of landing a nanny job by 80%.
- Busy backgrounds reduce your chance of securing a nanny position by 25%. Stand against a plain background, such as a white wall or a door in your house.
Make sure that your social media looks professional too
Prior to making a hiring decision, parents will try to learn as much as they can about their potential nanny, so naturally will head to social media to find out more about you.
- If you don’t want employers looking at your personal pictures, change your settings to private! You can do this by visiting the ‘Settings’ section of any social media site - just remember to do this for all of your accounts.
- Even if you set your social media accounts to private, note that you are leaving a trail when you are commenting on forums, ir Facebook groups. Note that many parents are members of the same groups as nannies, and can easily find everything you have ever said in a Facebook group.
- Remember to make sure your WhatsApp photo is professional, as parents will definitely check this when contacting you. To play it safe, use the same picture that you use on your CV.
Write a strong nanny CV
Here’s what to include in your nanny CV to make it stand out from the crowd.
A good personal statement includes an overview of who you are and what makes you stand out as a nanny. One critical mistake that nannies make when composing their CV is copying and pasting their personal statement from a CV library. Not only is this obvious to parents, but also makes your CV devoid of personality.
- List all your relevant experience, from your time working explicitly as a nanny, or from other childcare relation positions, such as time spent as a nursery nurse or primary school teacher.
- Outline the nanny job details, such as whether or not the position was live-in or live-out, full-time or part-time and if there were any specific responsibilities in your job.
- List your experience in chronological order, with your most recent position at the top.
- Be prepared to explain gaps in your CV, or any other jobs that are not childcare related.
Parents love nannies who care about their professional development. Make sure you list any relevant qualifications that you have, and continue to look for more nanny related courses and webinars to improve your nannying skills.
If you’re struggling with creating a good nanny CV, sign up with myTamarin, and we will happily help you create a nanny profile that stands out.
How to ace the nanny interview and trial
Both the interview and trial are not only there to see if you are competent for the job, but to see if you and the family are a good match. Finding a good nanny is like finding a romantic partner, so it’s important for the parents to know as much about you as possible before making their decision.
The assessment of whether or not the parents think you’re a potential hire begins before you’ve even sat down, so impress them with these few simple steps.
- Don’t be late! While nanny agencies might be more forgiving, 90% of parents will not offer a nanny a second interview if they are late. Avoid this by planning your journey far in advance with Google Maps, aiming to arrive 15 minutes early should any complications with your journey arise.
- Dress appropriately. As you’re applying for a nanny job, you need to be prepared to get involved with the children, even if it’s the first time meeting the family. This means wearing something practical, such as jeans and trainers - high heels won’t be much good if you’re accompanying the family to the park!
- Wash your hands, especially amidst the coronavirus pandemic, as it demonstrates that you are hygiene-aware and can be trusted to not bring the coronavirus into the home. As soon as you arrive, ask where you can wash your hands, and bring hand sanitizer as a backup.
- Smile and maintain eye contact. Body language speaks volumes in an interview and can be a good indicator as to whether or not you connect well with the family. By avoiding eye contact or maintaining a gloomy composure, parents are unlikely to consider you the right candidate for them.
- Interact with the children. Even as early on as the first interview, parents will expect to see you interact with the children. As you will be hired as their primary source of childcare, they will want to know how you are around children, so impress them with simple gestures such as waving hello or asking to hold the baby.
- Do not talk badly about your previous employer. While nannies mistakenly think this flatters their prospective employers, instead it can leave them with a bad impression! Even when asked, for example, what annoyed you about your previous employer, always try to remain positive, instead offering constructive criticism rather than outright disdain for them (for example, stating that you would have preferred it if they’d told you they were running late after work one evening, rather than complaining that they were always late home).
- Wait before asking about salary. Unless parents bring up salary first, wait until the second interview or trial before having this discussion. Having it too early could leave the impression that you’re only there for the money and will leave if a higher paying offer comes along. To remove this burden altogether, speak to your nanny agency to see if they can negotiate a better salary for you.
Success stories from nannies who have found work in 2020
While finding a nanny job is difficult, the good news is that it’s not impossible. Here are some of the things other nannies have done in 2020 to secure a nanny position.
- Hope on a bicycle, or a scooter. Parents much prefer nannies who can avoid using public transport.
- Move closer to the city. Nannies have moved to cities for work from outer areas in order to overcome the public transport barrier.
- Learn to drive. While the above option is not viable for all nannies, those that live remotely have learned to drive to replace their usual commute to work. Plus, you’ll be a match for many more jobs where driving is a requirement, and part of the nanny job, e.g. to take children to nursery or school.
- Go temp. Not only will this plug gaps in your resumé, but this also opens you up to opportunities to go full time, especially with parents who formerly relied on nurseries for childcare and are experimenting with hiring a nanny instead. We’re also finding that many temporary nanny jobs evolve into permanent nanny positions.
- Look into live-in jobs. There are many more parents looking for live-in nannies than there are live-in nannies. If you can go live-in for a year or two, this will increase your chances of finding a nanny job.
- Keep learning. With more parents looking for nannies that are educationally focused, the best way to demonstrate this is by investing in your own education. Begin by taking a few online courses, such as the ones offered by myTamarin.
This content was produced as part of a myTamarin Academy event. To access previous events, or to learn more about the events we have lined up, get in touch with firstname.lastname@example.org
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