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Cost of nannies soars due to increase in demand

By China Daily in Shanghai | China Daily | Updated: 2016-11-15 07:27

New mothers in Shanghai wanting a nanny to care for them and their babies in the months immediately after birth could find that service becoming ever more expensive.

Nannies are in high demand due to China's adoption of the universal second-child policy and increasing labor costs.

This has also led to concerns that there will be a shortage during the Spring Festival, which will start in late January, when it is expected that a nanny's services could cost up to 20,000 yuan ($2,920) per month.

Some netizens have even claimed that hiring a nanny could cost upward of 30,000 yuan per month - more than double the rate of a decade ago and about three times the guideline price of 6,000 to 10,000 yuan set by the trade association.

However, service providers in Shanghai contacted by China Daily said the price will vary from 10,000 to 20,000 yuan per month.

Between the start of the year, when China relaxed its family planning policy, and the end of June, 8.31 million births were registered nationwide. In Shanghai, the number of births between January and October increased 12 percent year-on-year.

Du Yonghong, a supervisor at DOMO, which provides domestic workers, said demand had increased since the relaxation of the family planning policy, but insisted that her company had not raised prices for Spring Festival, nor had it experienced any shortage of labor.

She said the cost of nannies provided by DOMO ranges from 11,000 to 13,800 yuan, depending on the nanny's age, education, skills, reputation and birthplace.

"Shanghai mothers, in general, prefer nannies from Shanghai or the neighboring provinces of Jiangsu and Zhejiang, because they share the same living habits, customs, tastes and dialects," Du said.

Another internet-based provider of domestic helpers, youfumama.com, quoted 9,800 to 15,800 yuan per month. It said those in the higher price bracket are either more experienced, better communicators or are certified in areas such as nutrition.

The company said it had not raised prices for the Lunar New Year, but pointed out that workers have to be paid double during the three-day Spring Festival due to national regulations.

However, as most employers set the terms - including salary levels - months in advance, price hikes for the beginning of a new year are unlikely, said Zhang Baoxia, secretary-general of the Shanghai Home Service Industry Association.

"It's true that demand for nannies and other helpers has increased, but the gap is not as exaggerated as some people have made out," she added.

Fang Aiqing contributed to this story.

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