$40 per hour salaries? Full benefits? A brand new car and designer duds? We couldn’t help but wonder how seriously to take ABC Family’s new hit show “Beverly Hills Nannies,” so we sat down with Katie Vaughan of Westside Nannies, Beverly Hills’ premier nanny placement agency, for the inside scoop of what it’s really like to work in America’s most prestigious zip code.
eNannySource: Are nannies really making $40 per hour and receiving full benefits?
Katie: Unlikely, says Vaughan. According to this placement queen, an experienced and educated nanny working in Beverly Hills makes $20-$25 hour on average. On occasion, extremely high caliber jobs will pay large annual salaries (upwards of $80,000 per year), but these are rare opportunities for seasoned, veteran nannies that have already experienced the ups and downs of working in a high-net worth home. As for benefits? Also a rarity, says Vaughan. About half of her clients offer health insurance when offering a new nanny a position, but again, full benefits are typically only offered for very elite positions. Most of the time, nannies must be willing to accept the fact that the industry they work in does not offer the same benefits a corporate job might, and while Vaughan wishes more clients valued the idea of offering their nannies benefits, it still isn’t commonplace.
eNannySource: Rubbing a principal’s feet – what was up with that?
Katie: In her 7+ years as owner of Westside Nannies, Vaughan has never once heard of a nanny massaging their principal, and would be more than concerned if this request was made – and fulfilled – by one of her candidates! “As far as Westside Nannies is concerned, massaging an employer – even if it is just their feet and it’s done in a playful manner – is totally inappropriate and bizarre! This was definitely a scripted scene – this just does not happen.”
eNannySource: We also couldn’t help but notice that each featured nanny was stunningly attractive, stylishly dressed, and primped to the nines. Is this really reflective of the Beverly Hills nanny candidate pool?
Katie: Absolutely NOT, reports Vaughan. “We represent nannies of every age, size, and race out there. I was actually shocked to see how limited the representation of nannies on the show is – it couldn’t be more skewed. We interview dozens of candidates each week, and are looking for poised and professional childcare providers – not poised and professional childcare providers who also look like models! Having placed nannies in high-profile and celebrity homes, I can tell you that they definitely do not all look – or need to look – like they’re ready for the red carpet. They need to be loving, genuine, and full of nanny experience in order to land a job; not just beautiful and thin.”
eNannySource: So what can viewers walk away from the first episode believing?
Katie: According to Vaughan, the perks of a top-notch nanny position can be incredible. While it usually takes time to build a strong rapport and sense of trust with a family before the gifts start flowing, she has placed nannies that have received all-expenses paid vacations, unattainable designer handbags, brand new vehicles, and cash bonuses (including one family who paid off their nanny’s entire college education)!
eNannySource: A free trip around the world doesn’t sound bad to us, but what’s the final consensus on being a real nanny in Beverly Hills – and not one filmed for reality television?
Katie: “It’s tough, tough work. Our nannies work 60+ hour weeks, give up their friends and loved ones to commit to their positions, and aren’t taking leisurely lunch breaks and attending weekly spa sessions with the Moms who employ them. They are changing dirty diapers, putting together school projects, preparing dinner, and diffusing sibling rivalry everyday. They certainly aren’t going in each morning with a full-face of makeup and curled hair, are living off of reasonable salaries, and are usually driving a mini-van – not Porsche.”
Katie Vaughan is the founder of Westside Nannies, a boutique staffing agency with offices in Beverly Hills and San Francisco, that specializes in placing professional and educated nannies. Because of their high standards and discretion, the agency is known for placing nannies with high profile and celebrity families, and has been featured on programs such as Entertainment Tonight, Dr. Phil and E! News.