A lot of jobs in Hong Kong are under threat from cheap labor from across the border.
Banks are moving more of their back-office functions to the mainland. Locally made furniture is increasingly giving way to made-in-China products.
But babysitting is one area where Hongkongers can be relatively safe because this type of job is not threatened by low-cost competition or technology.
And it pays very well, too.
The Hong Kong Economic Journal talked to Cherry, a professional babysitter, about the job.
Cherry says working mothers used to rely on their parents to care for their children while they’re away.
But nowadays, they prefer the services of professional nannies.
“The older generation tends to be more strict with children and they also regard physical punishment as being acceptable, but many young mothers don’t share that view,” says Cherry, a mother of three.
Leaving children in the care of a domestic helper is not an option either.
Which is why experienced nannies are highly sought-after, she says.
Cherry attended intensive training to learn how to care for infants and nursing mothers.
She continues to hone her skills by studying common health problems among babies and how to handle them.
A professional nanny is expected to know which foods can’t be given to infants and how to prepare infant formula, and other technical knowhow.
Some high-end babysitting services charge up to HK$50,000 (US$6,450) a month.
“Top babysitters train children to be very well behaved. Some double as English tutor,” Cherry says.
According to research, Hong Kong has a shortage of 150,000 babysitters, so there’s always a vacancy out there.
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