5 Takeaways for Families from GTM’s Household Employment Surveys

Oct 26, 2017 | Employee Benefits, Hiring an Employee, Retaining Employees

Familiy takeways from recent household employment surveys.

Following these steps can help families hiring a nanny to expand their pool of qualified candidates and retain their top employees.

Nannies and the families that hire them want the same thing. That’s just one of the key takeaways from GTM’s recent household employment surveys of employers and nannies.

1. Families and Nannies Both Want a Good Fit

Employers cited “demonstrated responsibility and trustworthiness” as the top quality they look for when hiring a nanny. Employers were asked to rank 14 qualities on a scale from one to 10 with one being not important and 10 being very important. Responsibility and trustworthiness scored a 9.7 ahead of personality fit (8.8), passion for childcare (8.8), references (8.6) and experience (8.4).

When nannies were asked about qualities they seek in a family, “trustworthy/ethical employer” ranked at the top (9.8) based on the same scale.

Nannies are more interested in finding a good fit and a family they can trust. Families want similar qualities in a nanny. While offering competitive pay and benefits is important, families also need to show nannies that they will be treated fairly.

The personality of the family (9.5), rate of pay (9.3), being paid legally (8.9), and hours/schedule (8.9) were the other top responses.

2. Good Communication Practices Will Help Retention

Forty-three percent of families hired more than one nanny in the past five years. That means retention can be an issue for families who like and want to keep their nanny.

The top reason why a nanny would leave her job is that the family no longer needs a nanny because their children have outgrown the need for in-home care. There’s not much a family can do in that situation. However, a change of schedule/number of hours (38%), bad pay (31%), and lack of communication (26%) are all well within a family’s control.

Good communication practices start with establishing a household employee work agreement at the start of employment. Clearly communicate any change to this agreement such as changes to hours, schedule, and job responsibilities. Also, set up an annual performance evaluation to discuss how your nanny is doing her job and any pay raises.

3. Hiring through an Agency Can Shorten Hiring Process

Household employers spend a lot of time finding a nanny. Forty-six percent of families conduct four or more interviews during the hiring process. Forty-five percent of families spend 20 hours or more on recruiting, interviewing, and hiring a nanny.

However, there are significant differences in time spent hiring and employee retention when hiring through a placement agency or on an online job site like Care.com or Sittercity.


Hiring a nanny through an agency rather than using an online job site has many benefits for families.

It’s no wonder that 74 percent of employers who hired through an agency cited “time savings/hassle-free process” “quality of candidates” (57%) as top reasons they chose to work with an agency. The number one reason was “security/screening of candidates” (91%).

Simply put, when a family goes through an agency rather than an online job site to hire a nanny, they’re going to get a better quality nanny, one they’ll keep for longer, and they’ll spend less time finding the right match.

4. Benefits Can Help Attract, Retain Top Candidates

Most nannies receive paid holidays (88%), paid vacations (89%), and paid sick days (76%). This is the starting point for families when offering household employee benefits to a potential hire. To separate themselves from other employers, families may want to consider offering annual bonuses and flexible hours. Only 47 percent of nannies have schedule flexibility and just 44 percent get a bonus.

Of the nannies, that receive an annual bonus, 55 percent receive at least $750.

Other considerations to help with retention are gifts for nannies at key points in the year. Ninety-four percent of nannies receive a holiday gift and 81 percent get a birthday present from their employer. However, just 27 percent of nannies are recognized on their job anniversary.

5. Paying Legally Expands Number of Candidates

By not legally paying an employee, a family cuts in half the number of available candidates for their position. Forty-six percent of nannies say it’s not likely they would take a job that paid “off the books.”

Peace of mind that they’re compliant with the law was cited by nannies as the most important reason to be paid legally scoring 9.0 on a scale of one to 10. They also want to be eligible for Social Security and Medicare benefits (8.9), have a legal employment history (8.7) and be able to file for unemployment (8.2).

Need help with legally hiring a nanny? Check out How to Hire a Nanny: Your Complete Guide to Finding, Hiring, and Retaining Household Help. Written by GTM Payroll Services Founder and CEO Guy Maddalone, this comprehensive resource provides solutions to issues families face when they hire someone to work in their home.

GTM’s website also provides a number of resources to guide families through the hiring process and with employee management.

About GTM’s Household Employment Surveys

GTM conducted its household employer survey in August 2017. The nanny survey took place in September 2017.

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