Babies are crying out for help in China, as the relaxation of the country’s one-child policy leads to a surge in demand for qualified nannies, especially in the larger cities. And the nannies are cashing in, with some earning as much as 25,800 yuan (US$3,847) per month.
There is a waiting time of six months in Beijing and other major centers for the one-month service, leading to calls for China to put more resources into training and employing postnatal workers, according to CCTV’s financial program Economy 30 Minutes. Demand has risen sharply since China eased its one-child stance in 2013, but it is also a result of higher living standards.
Traditional beliefs are another factor behind the rising birthrate: the Year of the Pig is thought to be a good time to have a baby, with many Chinese convinced that people who are born this year will not have to worry about buying clothes and food for the rest of their lives.
Attractive wages may help to bring more women into the service. The entry level for post-natal workers is 8,800 yuan (US$1,313) a month, and more experienced workers can expect 11,800 yuan ($1,761) to 15,800 yuan ($2,358), rising eventually to 25,800 yuan. By comparison, the average monthly salary in Beijing in 2017 was 10,975 yuan ($1,638).
More training facilities are springing up to meet the demand. A Beijing family service center told the TV show that it had been conducting training almost every day since the Lunar New Year, with entry level post-natal workers graduating after 15 days.
Learning to care for babies — changing diapers, feeding with milk, washing their clothes, cleaning milk bottles and showering — is only part of the training. They are also taught how to assist the new mother at her most difficult time, including arranging meals.