The Domestic Service Industry – Is It For You?

Published on April 18, 2017

The domestic service industry is a great way to earn a good living and have a long term, solid income and career. It has lots of potential to climb the ladder to higher up, better paid jobs too. Have you considered working in the domestic service industry? Read our guide to find out if it’s the right career choice for you.

Types of Jobs

There are many different jobs that come under the umbrella of ‘domestic service’. Domestic staff are normally employed by a private household or family who need someone to look after their home. This can range from a nanny for the children, a cleaner or housekeeper.  Even a chauffeur to drive them around or a butler to serve.

Anything you can think of falls under domestic service, so long as it’s a role working for a private household.

Is the Domestic Service Industry Right For You?

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It is important to understand that you will mostly be working in someone’s private and personal space. You might even be living in the property, so this type of job involves a very different setup than being in an office for several hours of the day.

You’ll need a few vital characteristics to suit a role in the domestic service industry:

Reliability and Trustworthiness

You are working in people’s personal space and might see them at times that they are not ‘ready’ for the world. This could be the first thing in the morning if you are serving breakfast or cleaning the bedrooms.  In the evening after a long and stressful and busy day. You might also be trusted with security codes and keys to properties and vehicles. Letting you in their private home is an enormous sign of trustworthiness from a family.  You should give them no reason to doubt that trust.

Discretion

Family life goes on even with staff around, so you might witness arguments or situations that the family would like to keep private. Perhaps you will also be exposed to private information in the house. You should be able to deal with this and keep this information to yourself at all times.  You should also be able to disappear into the background when your presence is not welcome or needed.

Resilience

Working in the domestic service industry is by no means a 9-5 set up. You are dealing with private households and their schedules, so this means you might be working early mornings, late nights and weekends. Also, if you are the right hand (wo)man to a principal, you might be working long hours when they need you by their side. You need to be able to stay sharp, active and alert to serve your family.  Giving them the same stand out service after a 19 hour shift as you would on a 2 hour shift!

HNW Families vs. Smaller Households

Where you work will make a big difference in what your salary is, and also your growth potential. You should realise the most important thing is that you have an employer you enjoy working for, where you have mutual respect and your working conditions are good.

Within the domestic service industry, there are many different levels of households. Simply put, if you work for a small household, it is unlikely there will be much growth potential in your role, responsibilities, and salary. If you’re working for a family with a small or medium-sized house, it is unlikely they will need more staff than just you. Also, although your salary might increase on a yearly basis, it’s unlikely that you’ll get a new function with more responsibilities and a higher salary.

If you work for a VIP or high net worth household, they may already have more than one member of staff in place. This means you could potentially climb up the career ladder within the household. You could go from a cleaner,+ to a housekeeper, to head of housekeeping. Similarly, you could climb from a junior servant or valet, to butler, up to head butler or estate manager. 

How to Find a Domestic Service Job

There are several different ways to go about finding a domestic service job. The internet is a great source of job advertisements and work opportunities. Websites like Gumtree, Craigslist and Indeed are just a few examples of places where you can find and look for roles. Then there are also different recruitment agencies that you could consider using, rather than applying for a job directly.

In all cases, it is highly advisable to be very critical of the set up. Read the job description and avoid websites that ask you to pay fees. Generally, recruitment websites should charge the client for work and a job search, not the candidate who wishes to apply.

Recruitment Agencies

Recruitment agencies can be extremely helpful in your search for a domestic service job, as they will have a wide variety of jobs available and a large network of clients who will be looking for staff in the future. Although they might not have the perfect job for you right now, in the world of domestic recruitment things can change quickly. If the agency knows you, has all your details and knows what kind of job you are looking for, they might be able to match you with a new client.

When dealing with a recruitment agency, be careful. No agent should ever charge you to join their books, and if they ask for any deposit or money then avoid them.  

When you join an agent, they should check who you are.  They will arrange an interview and check your documents. You should provide your passport or ID and any other information they request.

Using Agencies for VIP Domestic Service Roles

When you are looking for a job as a domestic worker, recruitment agencies will have access to a higher standard of client, and it will be easier to find you a decent job in the sector.  Firstly, the client will be serious about the search, as they are willing to pay a recruitment agency fee. Secondly, you are protected and guided by the agent.  It is our job to protect you and ensure you don’t end up in a position which is not suitable for you.  

Ultimately, you will always have the right to make any decisions you want when it comes to your domestic job search, but a good agent will guide and protect you at all stages.  You can also read more about our own agency process from start to finish.

At Polo & Tweed, we register candidates from around the world, with different backgrounds and cultures.  No matter the role what you are looking for in the domestic service sector, we would love to help you find your next dream job, or offer you any further advice you might need.  Have a look through our vacancies, register today or log in to your candidate portal to update your job alerts and start the search for your dream domestic service job!

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