Pay: Factors That Go Into Determining a Nanny’s Wage

There aren’t any cut and dry rules that tell you this job equals this hourly rate. It would be a lot easier on parents and nannies if there were. So where do you start when you’re determining what your wage should be?   The best place is to talk to some of the local agencies in your area and your local nanny support group leaders.  They can give you a feel for what the typical salary or hourly wage is.  Then look at the details of your job description – what you offer and what you need – and the nanny qualifications you want. By considering the factors involved, you can decide on a fair and competitive wage.

Below is a breakdown of the factors that generally go into determining an appropriate wage for a job. Remember this isn’t an exact science. There are always intangible things like the parent / nanny connection and the nanny’s personality that also influence the wage offered. But this is a great starting point.

Your Job Description
Location     The most important factor is location. If you compare two identical positions, one in Short Hills, NJ and the other in St. Louis, MO, you’ll find each employer can offer very different compensation packages and attract the same level of quality caregiver. The only exception to this rule is the salary for executive positions. These positions offer a high-end salary and benefit package regardless of location.

Unfortunately unless you’re willing to move, this factor is out of your control. If you live in an area where nanny wages are above average, you’ll have to pay within that range to attract and keep a quality caregiver. Generally, areas can be ranked as they are below. But please remember these are only guidelines, not hard and fast rules.

  • Level 1 (highest) NYC
  • Level 2 bedroom communities that serve NYC plus large cities on East and West Coast such as Boston, Seattle, Los Angeles, San Francisco and San Diego
  • Level 3 other cities on the East Coast such as Philadelphia and Washington D.C
  • Level 4 smaller cities not on the East or West Coast such as Chicago and Dallas and small tourist towns
  • Level 5 (lowest) smaller cities and towns

Responsibilities     If you limit your nanny’s responsibilities to the typical child-related duties (i.e. children’s laundry, meals, transportation), responsibilities don’t impact salary. However if you add family or household-related duties (i.e. family meals, family laundry), your nanny’s wage will go up accordingly.

Number of Children     Unlike other childcare options, the number of children you have doesn’t impact the wage you’ll need to pay for a great caregiver unless the number of children or ages of children are particularly demanding (i.e. 4 children under 5, 3 month old triplets).

Stay-at-Home Parent     If you’re hiring an entry-level nanny, being a stay-at-home parent doesn’t factor into the hourly rate. However if you’re hiring an experienced nanny being a stay-at-home parent generally raises the rate. How much depends on the individual nanny.

Living Space     For most live-in nannies, living space factors into the wage they require for a particular position. With all other things being equal, smaller, less private space will increase the required wage while larger, more private space can actually decrease the required wage.

What You Want In Your Nanny
Experience     This factor weighs heavily in determining the nanny’s wage. The more experienced a nanny is, the higher rate she can command. However don’t assume that experience equals quality care. It doesn’t. Regardless of how long a candidate has been a nanny, she should be interviewed and referenced thoroughly.

References     References count a lot in this profession. All nannies should have great references. However a nanny with a portfolio full of stellar references can command an above average wage.

Education     While a degree pushes a salary higher, it does so only slightly if the nanny doesn’t have hands-on in-home care experience. However a child-related degree combined with nanny experience automatically puts a nanny in a higher range.

Age     Nannies between the ages of 25 and 45 are generally the most sought after so they tend to be in a higher range.