The modern day housekeeper: What does the role actually entail?
If you look on Angela Mortimer’s private staffing jobs board you will see many seeking live in or live out housekeepers for their discerning clientele in luxury communities across the U.S. and in London. Most of these clients will have far better than average homes with a lifestyle with more stories than their modest 4 floored West Village home. The problem with having houses of grandeur is that they require constant maintenance from the aspect of cleanliness. It is extremely unlikely that the gentleman or lady of the household are going to put their social life on hold every Sunday to blitz their home armed to the teeth with mops, dusters and chemicals. Far from it…that is why the demand for housekeepers is such.
Housekeepers keep house, they are not always a deep cleaning service. This is why there are many additional duties than encompass the housekeeping role itself. Daily duties do of course include cleaning; and it’s worth pointing out that a good housekeeper will have knowledge regarding specific chemicals for specific surfaces but beyond the cleaning a housekeeper is be responsible for laundry duties such as washing and ironing moderately expensive clothes – so there is a risk factor present in terms of spoiling items of clothing. Running general errands such as trips to the supermarket to keep the principal’s pantry stocked is becoming commonplace for private housekeepers as well.
For many wealthy families it is highly likely they have one or two children. Housekeepers who accept a position with a family of whom have children should expect to be involved in various child-caring duties. There may be a resident nanny who has daily charge of the principal’s children but in circumstances where the nanny is not present, the housekeeper will more than likely be asked to deputise. If you like working with children then this is not too much of a problem.
The role of the modern day housekeeper has actually become so diverse that clients are now requesting housekeepers with skills other than childcare. Having culinary skills and a clean driver’s license go a long way when it comes to being appointed housekeeper, as you may just end up spending meal times in the kitchen and parts of your week behind the wheel running general errands or school runs.
For clients with large rural estates it is more common for them to employ domestic couples which traditionally means a man would undertake the more intensive manual tasks such as grounds-keeping and general maintenance of the estate whilst the woman attends to all housekeeping and interior duties. However, this is 2016 and the female of the species have broken the mold in terms of manual labor being a macho specialization. So females with relevant skills needn’t be concerned with merely being confined to the interior of the household. These domestic couple positions usually come with a rather handsome net salary as well as a self-contained cottage on the grounds of the estate itself.
The job market for housekeepers and domestic couples has always been strong. Housekeeper salaries have a wide range, but increasing employer’s are raising wages to ensure stability and commitment. But during the recession, dust still gathered, gardens still grew and the owners of luxury properties and estates of grandeur still needed domestic assistance.