Demand grows for skilled yue sao nannies

Updated: 2014-07-09 07:31

By Fan Feifei (China Daily)

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Demand grows for skilled <EM>yue sao</EM> nannies

Chinese yue sao - nannies for baby and mother in the first months after birth - show their skills at a job fair in February. Many Chinese want to have a baby during this Year of the Horse, increasing demand for the nannies. He Junchang / Xinhua

The demand for Chinese yue sao - nannies for baby and mother in the first months after birth - is rising on the back of an expected baby boom in the Year of the Horse and relaxed family planning regulations.

The salaries of some of these highly sought nannies - who specialize in taking care of newborns and mothers for the first few months after childbirth - are even surpassing those of white-collar workers, said childcare and homecare professionals.

"You need to book the services of senior yue sao at least three months in advance. The demand has risen about 10 percent this year compared with those of last year," said Li Jielu, general manager of Beijing Ainong Homemaking Service Co, which provides cleaning services and baby care.

To meet the diverse demands of customers, homemaking companies such as Ainong often classify the nannies into grades based on their skill level. The price of their services is set accordingly.

"We don't recommend junior yue sao, who may lack the requisite experience, to look after newborns. 'Medium-skilled' yue sao charge from 9,800 ($1,575) to 12,800 yuan each month. Yue sao with premium skills, the so-called 'gold medal' nannies, can charge 16,800 to 19,800 yuan each month," Li said.

The average salary in March for white-collar workers in Shanghai ranked first among Chinese cities, hitting more than 7,200 yuan a month, figures from major recruitment site showed. Average wages in Beijing and Shenzhen were nearly 7,000 yuan, the portal reported.

Medium and premium level nannies are the most popular because of their specialized training and experience, Li said.

There is no standard certification issued by the authorities for yue sao. But before they start work, these nannies need to present documents to clients including skills certification issued by homemaking companies, health certificates and identity cards, Li said.

An employee surnamed Liu from the Beijing Kangaroo Mama Services Center said most families choose nannies who charge between 8,800 to 10,800 yuan a month, with eight to 10 years of work experience.

The earlier these customers decide and reserve potential nannies, the better choice they have, Liu said.

Most of the nannies will live with their customers and provide 24-hour care and services.

They are expected to be especially busy this year.

The Chinese zodiac has a significant influence on the year that families choose to have children.

Many people believe that those born in the Year of the Horse, which falls this year, will be lucky and successful. But those born in the Year of the Sheep, next year, are said to experience ill fortune in their lives.

Xu Jiurong, 49, from Hubei province, has worked as a nanny in Beijing since 2007.

She earns more than 10,000 yuan a month.

"My schedule is fully booked till early next year," Xu said.

The demand for nanny services is so great this year that families should book them at least six months in advance, Xu said.

Before becoming a full-time nanny, Xu studied nursing and received special training on maternal care and childcare. She also trained in diet, nutrition and disease prevention, with the relevant certificates to prove her training.

Xu is now a senior nanny in the industry.

"I try to get to know my customers better before I start work and list the types of services I can provide the families. I also keep up to date on baby care through online and other resources," she said.

Despite her busy schedule this year, Xu said she is satisfied with what she does and regards looking after babies as a huge responsibility.

The money she earns helps cover her son's tuition in the United States.

Wu Shasha, who works in a State-owned enterprise, said she booked a nanny through friends for about two months when she was pregnant. She gave birth to a boy in February.

"The yue sao was very considerate. She came to the hospital when I was giving birth. Then she looked after me and my baby well in the next two months, making us dinner and washing our clothes, among other tasks."

Wu said she paid the nanny 10,000 yuan a month and felt at ease when the nanny stayed with her.