COVID-19 has undoubtedly brought about changes to every business sector. And we’re seeing significant changes in our industry that’s bringing about a new breed of nanny. We’re calling them, ‘New World Nannies’.
What is a New World Nanny?
New World Nannies are nannies who are doing their best to adapt to the new world. Nannies who have taken stock of the pandemic’s challenges and reshaped their approach to the sector.
From tactical fixes, like virtual nannying, to broadening their search to include nanny shares or part-time contracts. They’re shaping themselves to the opportunities the current market presents.
Why Is This Important?
The basic dynamic of the sector is that families demand childcare and nannies supply childcare. If the demand for childcare changes, then so must the services that nannies supply.
And demand has changed, and just like any service sector, the product – childcare provided by professional nannies – has to adapt to stay relevant. And good, full communication is key to helping both parties through the changes.
The changes in the sector are leading to nannies, on occasion, lacking guidance or being are kept in the dark over where they stand. And – in the saddest of circumstances – losing their role to perhaps cheaper options.Laure Greene – An experienced nanny and nanny consultant.
Necessity is the Mother of Invention
We should remind ourselves that the changes are through necessity. And not childcare fads and fashions.
Families that have been lucky enough to retain incomes are now, at best, more likely to be working from home (WFH). And, at worst, making ends meet with significantly lower income – and with the fear of even more challenging times ahead.
Note: This piece does not consider the impact the changes are having on childcare as a whole. Or on the ability of professional, diligent nannies to deliver a consistently high standard of childcare. That’s for another day as it’s an important topic in itself, and it deserves more than a footnote to this article.
Here, we are only considering the changing dynamics of roles currently on offer to nannies. And nannies’ willingness to take up those roles.
How Nannies and Families Fared Across Lockdown
The headline findings from our research are that nannies found the lockdown period significantly more challenging than families.
Families generally became less reliant on their nannies, with 40% of nannies furloughed for an average of 10 weeks. That’s a lot of families taking on childcare over lockdown. And, more importantly, that’s a lot of nannies not doing the job they love – looking after their charges.
Furthermore, both nannies and families showed a high level of acceptance that the role of nanny needed to become more flexible and agile in the ‘new world’.
I hear from a lot of nannies that after being away from the household, they were desperate to get back into position. And, when getting back into the role, there was much to do in order to re-establish structure and routine.Nanny Laura
So Where Do Our New World Nannies Fit In?
We asked both families and nannies whether they were more or less likely to consider/offer seven types of nanny roles that present more flexibility:
- Temporary Contract
- Virtual Nannying
- Nanny Share – Nannies caring for the children of two or more families’ children at the same time
- Live-in – while this isn’t a typically flexible role, it does provide the family with more flexibility
- Term Time Only
- School Holidays Only
The graph below shows whether nannies and families are more or less likely to consider each of the roles listed above. If the bar is above the midline, they are more likely to. And less likely if it’s below the mid-line.
Families (green) and nannies (yellow) seem pretty aligned until you get to live-in and school holiday only roles.
What This Means (for New World Nannies)
Part-time & Temporary Contracts
Both families and nannies are warm to the idea of part-time roles. Families can reduce their reliance on childcare (potentially driven by WFH) while nannies can use online sites, like ArmyofNannies.com to help construct flexible work schedules with more than one employer.
New World Nannies Insight: Consider how you can build complementary roles with multiple families and potentially numerous nannies. Create childcare networks that help you work in a more agile manner.
We were surprised to see this scoring so low. OK, so it’s not a fulltime childcare solution, but it does have its place, especially for specialist nannies and for consultations. And of course, during a lockdown, it can be the only way to stay connected to little ones.
Do check out our blog, 5 Tips to Virtual Nannying, for guidance on how to approach virtual nannying.
New World Nannies Insight: Build this skillset into your repertoire; it may come in handy, and it will undoubtedly be something that grows over time.
Probably the most contentious nanny role at the moment. Without going into the watch-outs with this approach, it’s increasing in popularity with families.
We have a great blog that covers those here
In in a challenging economic environment, with more WFH, that’s no big surprise. What’s encouraging is that the nannies we reached are also more open to the idea of a nanny share.
New World Nannies Insight: This takes work to make it work but, with planning and excellent communication, it can be a strong childcare position for an experienced nanny. Please, read the blog above. And get advice from nannies who are already making a go of this type of role.
Here we see the first significant difference between nannies and families; nannies are unwilling to consider it, but families are slightly more partial.
The mismatch is likely driven by families preferring nannies to remain in their ‘bubble’ (or less out-and-about). However, many nannies are not so keen on being directly attached to the family – especially with the risk of lockdowns and movement restrictions. They need their space.
New World Nannies Insight: There could be an opportunity for new world nannies. If you’re willing to live in, you’ll likely be searching for roles in a less competitive environment.
Term-time only and School Holidays Only
Term time is pretty equal with both nannies and families showing marginal negativity. But school holidays only roles show a significant mismatch between nannies (not for it) and families (for it).
Families enthusiasm for school holiday contracts is likely driven by WFH families requiring extra help during the school holidays. When school isn’t in-term, WFH days are disrupted so help is needed.
Conversely, nannies struggle to make a career/livelihood out of ‘holiday only’ contracts.
New World Nannies Insight: If you can find term and holiday roles to complement each other, you’ll be well placed and well rewarded. Especially school holiday contracts can come at a significant premium. But be aware, this will likely involve travel as we head to more normal times. And this kind of commitment has a significant impact on life outside of nannying.
A Discussion with Savernake Nannies Exploring the Blog
New World Nannies Are Here To Stay
We hope this piece of research helps both families and nannies understand how the nannying landscape is changing and where the tensions exist.
We also hope this piece helps ‘New World Nannies’ plot their career course. The sector is changing, but if you can embrace it and adapt, there is opportunity to do well in this most challenging of climates.
Look at the market, work out where you are willing to go and where you can stand-out. Then build a career path and CV based on that plan. Remember, no living nannies have been through this before. So be brave and find the opportunities that best work for you.
We are Army of Nannies
Army of Nannies is an online nanny finding agency that uses online tech to make better matches between families and nannies.
Complete your free profile and get introductions where you can see where it works and where you need to dig a little deeper.
To create your free search profile, visit armyofnannies.com
How We Conducted this Research
The research ran from 16 September 2020 for 4-weeks and secured over 100 nanny and family responders from the UK. It took the form of an online survey alongside in-depth interviews and opinion from industry experts.
New World Nannies Press
If you would a deeper understanding of the results, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll get right back to you.