Finding the best nanny for your family starts with being able to attract them with a well-written job description. Here are our top 10 tips for writing a nanny job description.
How to write a job advertisement for a nanny
When starting out your nanny search, the first step is writing an attractive job description, or a job advertisement. How hard can it be?
The answer is, a lot harder than most parents think. When hiring a nanny, many parents fall into the trap of thinking that they’ll simply know who to hire when they meet the right nanny. Sound familiar?
As a result, parents often end up writing a loose job description with the intention to later adjust the job to match the nanny’s needs. We’ve seen this happen too many times, frequently resulting in longer nanny searches and shorter placements.
While parents believe that this level of flexibility opens them up to a greater pool of potential nannies, they actually risk doing the opposite. Nannies much prefer clarity, knowing exactly what position they’re applying for, what their hours will look like and how much they can expect to be paid.
Just like in the corporate world, nannies are unlikely to apply for a job that doesn’t state how much they will be paid, what the hours are or what the role entails. That is, unless the nanny is applying for every job that they come across - in which case, you’re unlikely to find the right nanny for you anyway.
Therefore, knowing exactly what it is you are looking for in a nanny is critical to the success of your nanny-hunt. Where do you begin?
- Type of nanny. While the difference between nannies and nanny-housekeepers may appear minimal, not knowing the difference between the two can be costly.
- Live-in or live-out? While the hours may not necessarily differ, live-in nannies offer more flexibility whereas live-out nannies offer more privacy.
- Sole-charge or shared-charge. Shared-charge implies you’re looking for an extra set of hands to help out with the children, whereas sole-charge suggests you’re happy for the nanny to take the reins.
- Schedule. Nannies need to know how many hours the job they are working for is offering and whether or not they will be full-time or part-time.
- Language requirements. While it’s acceptable to request a nanny that speaks another language, be warned that the more requirements you have, the narrower the applicant pool becomes.
- Driving. If looking for a driver, remember to consider additional practicalities, such as whether or not you’d be happy to insure them on a car and if you have parking available.
- Salary. Alongside the monthly salary of the nanny, you also need to consider whether or not you will include babysitting hours in the contract, as well as if you will provide the nanny with petty cash for taking the children out for the day.
- Travel. If you plan on taking your nanny on holiday, you need to specify when and how long for, as well as giving a brief outline of what the children’s routines look like while on holiday.
- Routines. Knowing the child’s routines will give the nanny an idea of what a typical day will look like in terms of activities and structure.
- Example: if you’re stuck for words, look to our example for inspiration.
Step 1: Do you need a nanny or a nanny-housekeeper?
Presumably, you have already decided whether a nanny is really right for you, or whether you’d be better off looking for an au pair or a babysitter. We have previously written about all you need to know about different types of nannies if you’re still not so sure.
Once you’re certain you want to go with a professional childcarer, you then need to establish whether you are looking for a nanny, or a nanny-housekeeper. While the responsibilities between the two appear minimal, not knowing the difference between the two can be costly.
Responsibilities of a Nanny
Nannies’ sole responsibility is taking care of the children. Their role is centred around promoting the children’s wellbeing, organising fun and educational activities to support their growth and development. They will also do cooking and light housework, but only for the children, otherwise referred to as ‘nursery duties’.
Responsibilities of a Nanny-Housekeeper
Nanny-housekeepers, on the other hand, divide their time between childcare duties and housework. As well as overseeing nursery duties, nanny-housekeepers will be carrying out housework duties on behalf of the whole family, such as cooking, cleaning, doing the laundry, dusting and vacuuming. These responsibilities, however, are not set in stone, as some families will also have a cleaner to pitch in with the above, so responsibilities will vary from family to family.
Inevitably, as the nanny-housekeeper will be dedicating a significant proportion of their time to housework, they will not be able to spend as much time with the children. A nanny-housekeeper is therefore usually more appealing to and suitable for families that have older children who are already in nursery or school, or families where one parent is not working or can otherwise look after the child(ren) while the nanny-housekeeper is carrying our housekeeping duties.
As any mum will confirm, it is absolutely possible (in fact, the case in most families without help) to look after the children and take care of the house at the same time, overseeing the cooking, cleaning, laundry and all the other errands needed to run a household smoothly. But, don’t forget that mums are superheroes.
That is not to say that nanny-housekeepers are not. They are, however, professionals who are paid to carry out their duties to the highest standard and, as most mums will agree, taking care of the children while simultaneously keeping the house immaculate at all times is no easy task.
Step 2: Do you prefer a live-in or a live-out arrangement?
“As this will become your nanny’s home they will need to feel comfortable, able to establish boundaries between the working and living spaces.”
Next, you need to decide if you’re looking for a live-in or live-out nanny. It is very rare that nannies are willing to be either one or the other, so it is crucial that you understand the difference between the two before you start looking for a nanny.
Live-in nannies and nanny-housekeepers will be, as the name suggests, living with you in your home, or in an alternative accommodation that is provided for and paid by you (the latter being a far less common arrangement). Please note that a nanny is not an au pair, though au pairs typically live with families too.
Having a live-in nanny is beneficial if you often work long and unpredictable hours. For parents that have early starts, having a live-in nanny means there’s no concern the nanny will be late, and if work requires you to stay at the office a little later, you can be assured the nanny will be there to take care of the children in your absence. However, it is important to note that if you are staying late, you must be prepared to pay your nanny for overtime.
Since the overall costs for employing a live-in nanny are lower than hiring a live-out nanny, live-in nannies tend to be popular with families that have the space available to accommodate a live-in nanny. However, it is important to bear in mind that demand for live-in nannies far outweighs the demand for live-out nannies, with 21% of parents looking for a live-in nanny compared to the 11% of live-in nannies that are looking for a live-in nanny job.
If hiring a live-in nanny is the right option for you, it is important that you have the space to accommodate the nanny, outlining the following in the description:
- As this will become your nanny’s home they will need to feel comfortable, able to establish boundaries between the working and living spaces. Therefore, the more space the nanny has, the more appealing the job will sound.
- The nanny will need a spare bedroom, preferably with a double bed.
- They will need access to a bathroom. Although many nannies will be comfortable sharing a bathroom with the children, many would prefer to have their own bathroom or en suite.
However, it is important to be honest about the amount of space you have from the very beginning. While it might be tempting to avoid mentioning that you only have a small spare bedroom for the nanny until the last minute, you risk wasting your time if the nannies you are interviewing are looking for more space.
Live-out nannies and nanny-housekeepers, on the other hand, live outside of the home, usually commuting to and from their employers’ homes. While live-out nannies may not be able to be as flexible outside of working hours as live-in nannies are (at least, not without prior notice), they are ideal for families that value privacy and discretion in the evening and over the weekends.
Step 3: Will the nanny’s role be sole-charge or shared-charge?
“Working from home makes it even more important for the parents to clarify whether or not they want the nanny or themselves to lead.”
What does that even mean? We know these two terms are very specific to the nanny world, so we’ve broken them down for you here.
What does a “sole-charge” nanny do?
A sole-charge nanny role means that nannies take full responsibility for the children, overseeing playdates, activities and nursery duties. Nannies with sole charge ultimately have more responsibility, and therefore more independence and flexibility to plan the days, activities, routines and meals for the children. Sole charge nanny roles are very common, especially when both parents work outside of the home, leaving the nanny in full charge for the day.
What does a “shared-charge” nanny do?
A shared-charge nanny role is where the nanny shares her responsibilities with one or both of the parents, working together as a team. This usually means the nanny has far less independence than if they were sole charge, making the role less appealing than if it were sole charge. However, a shared-charge nanny role is a great position for more junior nannies or aspiring nannies who are building up their childcare experience.
It is important to note that when parents are working from home the role does not automatically become shared-charge. Working from home, however, does make it even more important for parents to clarify whether they want the nanny or themselves to lead.
Additionally, nannies find the roles when parents are working from home, or otherwise around, much harder for two main reasons. Firstly, no one enjoys being constantly observed by their boss as it puts on the pressure. Secondly, children tend to act up more when parents are around, making the nanny’s job harder as a result. The combination of high pressure and unnecessary stress typically do not make for an attractive job.
As more and more parents find themselves working from home due to various pandemic related lockdowns, nannies’ jobs are certainly impacted. Chances are you’re not the only one advertising a nanny job where parents are working from home, making it possible to argue that nannies’ chances of finding a job where the parents are not working from home are much lower. However, it’s still important to make your own job as attractive (and realistic!) as possible and to be clear from the outset of how much responsibility and independence you want to give your nanny.
Step 4: Determine you nanny’s weekly hours and schedule
How many hours do nannies tend to work?
A full-time nanny typically expects to work 50-60 hours a week, but will likely accept 40 hours a week at a higher hourly rate. When setting these hours, be sure to note the specific times you will need the nanny for too.
What is a typical working day schedule for nannies?
A 7am-7pm or 8am-8pm is a typical schedule for a live-in nanny. Quite a few live-out nannies are comfortable with these hours too, but of course need to consider their commute time before applying.
If you find you need a nanny for less than 40, or even 30 hours a week, you will find that you’re more likely to have a successful hire if you advertise fewer full days as opposed to multiple half days. From the nanny’s perspective, they will need to find another part-time job to provide income for the remainder of the week and will likely be more successful finding a second job they can dedicate a full day to, rather than trying to work two separate shifts in the same day.
The risk of hiring a nanny on part-time hours lies in the fact that it is logistically difficult for them to manage two bosses and two holiday schedules simultaneously. As a result, they will always be looking for something more stable and easier to manage. On average, nannies stay in part-time positions for less than a year, so if you are looking for a part-time nanny be prepared for them to not last as long as you may like.
Step 5: Does your nanny need to speak additional languages?
“Bear in mind that having more requirements will limit the number of nannies available to you, sometimes very significantly.”
One mistake we see parents make all too often when writing a job specification is listing out all their ‘wants’ as opposed to focusing on their key ‘needs’. While there is nothing wrong with one or two aspirational ‘wants’, parents often create a ‘wish list’ that makes finding a nanny almost impossible.
Language requirements are one particularly limiting factor for parents when conducting their nanny search. Languages are often requested for two reasons: either the family speaks the language in their own home around the children and needs the nanny to do the same, or alternatively the parents are looking for a nanny that can teach their children to speak a second, or even third language.
It’s important to bear in mind that having more requirements limits the number of nannies available to you, sometimes very significantly. For example,
- If you are looking for a nanny who is fluent in Spanish, you are immediately limited to 16.3% of the applicant pool.
- This drops further to 2.0% of all nannies when you request both French and Spanish speaking nannies.
Objective criteria, such as whether or not a nanny can drive or speak a certain language, can often prolong a nanny search without guaranteeing a placement that will last, which is why at myTamarin we recommend focusing on subjective criteria, such as parenting style and personality when hiring a nanny.
Step 6: Do you need your nanny to be able to drive?
“If the nanny must use their own car, will there be adequate parking space in the area? Who will cover the cost of the parking permit?”
If driving is not an absolute must, you’re better off dropping this requirement as it limits the pool of available nannies quite significantly.
- About 40% of nannies have a driver’s license, yet half of these come from countries where they drive on the right-hand side of the road and are consequently often uncomfortable driving in the UK.
- There is a proportion of nannies that are not comfortable driving in London, leaving only about 10-15% of nannies available for your job.
That said, if you need your nanny to drive your children to nursery, school, after-school clubs and extracurricular activities, it is important to consider the practicalities associated with driving. For instance:
- Will you require a nanny to use their own car? (If so, it may be worth expanding your search to include nannies that live outside of London.)
- If the nanny must use their own car, will there be adequate parking space in the area?
- Who will cover the cost of the parking permit?
- Will you pay for the petrol used to ferry the children from one activity to the next?
These are questions that you need to consider when writing your job description, as these are questions that potential applicants would like to know.
Since March 2020 when the UK went into its first national lockdown, there has been a noticeable increase in parents requesting nannies that can drive, or rather, nannies that are able to avoid using public transport to reduce the risk of bringing the coronavirus into their homes. While this is ideal, having a nanny that doesn’t use public transport does drastically reduce the pool of applicants as most nannies commute between 45 minutes to an hour to Central London. If this requirement is crucial, be sure to note this on the job description.
Step 7: What salary should you offer your nanny?
While it can be tempting to put ‘flexible depending on experience’ next to the salary box on a job description, you can unintentionally put a lot of nannies off by not specifically stating the amount you are willing to pay. Despite your best intentions, nannies will see this as a job advertisement written by a parent that wants to find a highly skilled nanny for as little as possible, so will avoid applying for fear that the parents won’t pay them fairly. Therefore, when you’re writing your advertisement, you need to have a figure in mind.
What is a typical salary for a nanny in London?
Going back to step two, the amount you pay is dependent on whether or not you have a live-in or a live-out nanny.
Assuming the job is full-time (40+ hours a week):
- The typical live-out nanny salary is £11-£12 per hour net (equivalent to £15-£17 gross)
- A live-in nanny job is typically £400-£500 net per week (equivalent to £500-£650 gross)
Are nannies self-employed or salaried employees?
It’s also important to note that while maternity nurses and temp nannies can work on a self-employed basis, a permanent nanny cannot, making it your responsibility as a nanny employer to pay the nanny’s tax, national insurance and pension contributions. Because of this, we recommend agreeing to a salary on a gross basis.
It’s also important to set aside a budget for additional outgoings, such as:
- Overtime and babysitting. Live-in nannies typically have two nights of babysitting a week included in their weekly wage, whereas live-out nannies will need to be paid extra for babysitting hours.
- Any petty cash for when the nanny takes the children out for the day.
- If you have a live-in nanny, you will also have to pay for their food, during and outside of her working hours. Typically, this is arranged as an extra grocery shop, or as an add-on to yours.
Step 8: Will your nanny need to travel with you?
“If you plan on taking the nanny on vacation, make sure you specify how long you will be going away for and the time of year you choose to do so.”
If you plan on travelling with your nanny, for a vacation or for a prolonged period of time, it is crucial that you include this in the job description. While some nannies love the idea of going abroad, others are not so keen on staying away from their families for prolonged periods of time.
When writing the job description, make sure you specify how long you will be going away for and the time of year you choose to do so. For example, while many nannies would be comfortable going away for a couple of weeks over the summer holidays, you’re likely to struggle to find a nanny that will go away with your family for a month over Christmas.
It’s also important to think about what the nanny’s responsibilities will be while you’re away. It’s unlikely that the children will be in their usual routines when on holiday, which means that the nanny's schedule will also have to adjust accordingly. While you don’t have to think about the details until closer to the time, it’s important to have this in the back of your mind.
Step 9: What exactly will the nanny daily routines and responsibilities be?
As mentioned above, by defining whether you are looking to hire a nanny or nanny-housekeeper, there will immediately be some expectations as to what the role responsibilities will be. However, it is important to give an overview of what the day-to-day duties will entail, and the best place to begin is by outlining your children’s routines.
Routines vary greatly depending on the age and number of children you have; a nanny in sole charge of two school-aged children will have a completely different schedule to a nanny-housekeeper that is in shared charge of two twin toddlers. By outlining what your children’s routines look like, the nanny will not only get an overview of what their responsibilities will be, but also of what type of family they will be working with.
It’s also worth noting whether or not you will need additional help outside of working hours. For instance, parents hiring a live-in nanny will often include two evenings of babysitting a week within their contract, while parents hiring a live-out nanny will require them to babysit once a month for extra pay.
Finally, you should include the number of children you have and their ages, as well as the details you feel comfortable sharing about your family. This will not only give nannies a much better sense of who you are, but will help them to decide whether or not it’s a job that they would thrive in.
Step 10: Nanny job advertisement example
Struggling to find your words? Here’s an example of a live-in nanny job description:
“A friendly family are looking for a fluent English-speaking live-in nanny to join their family in Hampstead on a long term basis, forming a strong bond with their two daughters (aged 2 and 3) and becoming part of the family.
Although both the parents will be working from home, they work long hours, so being able to keep two young children entertained for a long period of time is a must. As a result, they are looking for someone energetic and outgoing with experience working with children of similar ages.
A typical day would begin by giving the children their breakfast and getting them ready for a fun and active day. The 3-year-old starts nursery at 9am, so you will be responsible for dropping her off in the morning. The nursery is a 20 minute walk away, but as you will be taking the 2-year-old with you the parents would prefer a nanny who can drive. They will be happy to insure you on their car and give you access to their drive.
While the 3-year-old is at nursery, you will spend the morning engaging with the 2-year-old by playing games and reading interactive books. The fun will pause briefly while you pick the 3-year-old up from nursery at 12:30pm, resuming after a nutritious lunch. The afternoon will be spent playing games, cooking dinner for the children, bathtime and then getting ready for bed.
They have a large home and you will have your own bedroom (complete with a double bed) and bathroom.
Salary: £450-500 a week
Hours: Full time Mon-Fri, 7am - 7pm.”
Help with putting together your nanny job description
Although there is a lot to consider when writing your nanny job advertisement, it doesn’t have to be a struggle. For additional advice and support, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit us at mytamarin.com.
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