Prior to the pandemic many wealthy clients would move between multiple homes based on a weather report.

As all their homes were staffed, stocked, and on standby, it was only a matter of a flight to get there.

The one thing they had not anticipated is that thanks to the recent pandemic and Brexit, the staff would no longer be there.

“It’s particularly housekeepers, the starting point of all big homes,” says Kerry Barnham, who runs the exclusive housekeeper recruitment agency Hummingbird Home Staff. “They’re in demand.”

Many of the top European candidates, she says, have moved home because of Brexit, leaving English housekeepers who don’t want to do domestic jobs as a career to handle the crises.

Housekeepers are suddenly finding themselves able to make more demands and can expect a lot more than the £35k salary they once earned (with tax and National insurance paid on top by the employer).

Some high-net-worth clients, assuming the economic fallout of the pandemic would give them the advantage, tried to reduce salaries, only to find their staff vanished overnight.

Even those who can find a housekeeper from the limited candidates on offer might find their cashmere sweaters are being thrown into the dryer. “In the Edwardian era, people knew to use wax and wash things in vinegar,” Kerry says. “Now they use bleach!"

Gardeners - one of the trickiest staff members to recruit - are now so in demand that clients have to offer gifts. One family even gave their gardener a BMW and agreed to pay all his petrol as an incentive not to leave!

It may seem that the only solution is to do what the President of Angola did and offer a salary to a prospective housekeeper that was five times the going rate, plus a house in any country of her choice. One Portuguese housekeeper now owns a large compound in the Algarve!

Find your perfect housekeeper with Hummingbird Home Staff

Concerned about finding a housekeeper amid the staff shortage? Hummingbird Home Staff, one of the foremost housekeeper agencies in London, is on hand to help you. We take pride in our thorough recruitment and interview process, ensuring that each household is matched to a high-quality candidate who has all the skills to meet their requirements.

Get in touch with our team today to get the ball rolling and find your ideal home staff!

Rise of the Housekeeper shortage!
Kerry Barnham
Posted by
Kerry Barnham on 8th Mar, 2024