Demand for nannies

Updated: 2012-03-02 15:53

(China Daily)

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As the Year of the Dragon is believed by many to be a lucky year for giving birth, the increasing number of expectant mothers in China has boosted the demand for yuesao, or nannies especially responsible for taking care of new mothers and their babies.

As a result of this increased demand, the wages of such nannies have been rising rapidly and in response to this, some cities have introduced, or are planning to introduce, a wage cap for yuesao.

However, such restrictions do not address the real problem, which is the shortage of well-qualified nannies of this specialty. These nannies are usually female migrant workers, who are able to work as babysitters, and early childhood teachers; sometimes even as nurses or dietitians.

The higher incomes of the 1980s generation and higher expectations for the single children have resulted in a soaring demand for nannies in cities throughout China.

Actually the wages for such nannies have been rising for a number of years. So why there is still a shortage despite the higher wages is worth considering.

The shortage of nannies simply reflects the changes taking place in China's employment market, as the new generation of migrant workers entering the market have greater job expectations and want more career development.

Rather than capping wages, local governments should allow the market to set the wages of such nannies.

Instead, they should introduce measures that will benefit the industry's long-term development and attract more young people to join the service.

To this end they should provide financial support for the industry and create more training opportunities.

Some schools and agencies have sprung up in recent years to provide training in teaching skills, hygiene and housekeeping, but more are needed and they must be regulated.

This is already the practice in many developed countries. In the United States, there are over 30 universities that offer majors in housekeeping and there are specific colleges that serve to provide comprehensive training.

Better trained and qualified nannies will be able to earn more and they will garner more respect from society.