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Where have all the potential au pairs gone???

(34 Posts)
Artichokes Mon 19-May-14 10:01:03

This time last year I advertised for an au pair of Au Pair World and i was inundated with literally hundreds of applications. I could not even begin to open them all but those I read were mainly very good and I soon had a shortlist of five great candidates to interview. We ended up with a great au pair.

Last week I advertised again using the same job description and I have only had a few decent replies. Au Pair World seems much quieter.

Have others found this? Is there a new site where all the au pairs are looking or has something chnaged and fewer people want to be an au pair this year?

OvertiredandConfused Mon 19-May-14 12:25:41

I only wish I knew! I've been hunting for nearly two months now with no luck :-(

Artichokes Mon 19-May-14 13:54:47

So you have found the same? Its so odd. Our job is London, 22 hours, three days off, only v light child related housework, last year I was fighting people off.

Karoleann Mon 19-May-14 15:14:31

We're looking for a new one for September start and have had lots of good applicants....oddly we're outside London. We do pay a bit more as I live in an expensive area and they have their own flat, but they don't usually eat with us during the not everyone's cup of tea.

Have a look what the other potential hosts are offering and see if you're competitive. Maybe as the economy is picking up people are getting more fussy.

I have noticed that less of the applicants have previous au pair experience though.

emily94 Mon 19-May-14 18:18:13

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

MezleyM Wed 21-May-14 09:16:21

This worried me a bit as we were just about to start looking I hastily put a profile on au pair world...I am struggling to get through them all! We are about 30 minutes outside London. The vast majority have been Spanish guys (we've got a fab Spanish girl this year), and lots look really promising...
Maybe you need to widen your preferences?

Artichokes Wed 21-May-14 09:51:46

Maybe I do need to widen preferences. I've said I want a gap year, Northern European girl. I thought that would be fine as I'm not asking for lots of experience, or a driving licence etc. but maybe it's Northern Europeans who are in short supply.

Francezinha Sat 31-May-14 17:02:19

I know! I have just signed up for au pair world and I have to say, I wasn't really satisfied with what I saw, most candidates seem to be from Spain (which is not surprising), but with reallly bad to non-existent English skills! We now decided to join a second site that seemed interesting (au pair village), so we'll see! I hope we can find somebody, I didn't expect this to be so complicated!

Karoleann Sun 01-Jun-14 00:29:12

After a week of looking, we ended up hosting a French girl 23, with 4 years driving experience, master degree and has looked after her sister children a lot (who are the same age as mine), done a couple of summer camps etc, intermediate english.
We had 163 applicants on au pair world and i don't apply to anyone and we're outside London.

Do you have nice pictures on your page? We had a family one, one of the kids on the beach and a tree climbing one though. I've taken mine down as we've found a nice au pair.

We offer £100/week, rail card (only discounted travel, not free), car during the week and when free at weekends, gym membership (which only works out at £10/week). However, we don't eat with our au pair, we give her a food allowance, and we're not a going out with au pair at the weekend family.

Always mention you have a cleaner too, most au pairs do not want to be general cleaners.

Are you expecting for too much? Most applicants will only have basic/intermediate english and babsitting experience. You want someone who enjoys being with children.
Most placements are done 3-4 months before they start, maybe you're too late or too early?

If you pm me with your au pair world name, I'm happy to have a look at your profile.

Headofthehousehold Sun 01-Jun-14 07:35:23

Karoleann - how much food allowance? As my children are getting older and DS if off to boarding school in Sept I was considering moving to an allowance but wasn't sure how much. How do you keep their food separate ?

mumsareglam Sun 01-Jun-14 13:42:09

My 2 cents on this are that it is down to the number of families searching in a given period, search criteria and the sort order.
I also think if you are logged in on multiple devices i.e. phone and web then you your login does not get refreshed all the time.

I tested this out and I had just logged in on my phone then searched as an au pair and I was not even on the first 10 pages. I had to log out on all everything then I was at the top of the sort order.

I work in the web industry so get to hear the developers crooning about the importance of sort order daily!

I also found when my profile was newly created I had a rush of applicants which makes me think the initial sort also factors in your creation date.

Either way AP world is not working for me this year, I have recruited twice (very successfully) but this year I am having a different experience.

I have sent an email to AP world but not sure if it will make a difference.

Artandco Sun 01-Jun-14 13:49:52

I think the best candidates now use agencies. They cost the au pair nothing, yet they have back up from agency if family aren't what they advertise. They also perceive families who pay the agency for the service as those with proper knowledge of what an au pair should do

Cleaning puts au pairs off

If in London you really need to pay travel pass as £30 a week for zone 1-2 travel card is a lot out of £90-100 pay. Cost more if in further zones. Au pairs need to get around with children/ to language classes/ to explore so this is big draw

SiLovell Sun 01-Jun-14 14:32:42

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

Francezinha Mon 02-Jun-14 13:36:17

I didn't know about the log in! Wow - this technology is too elaborate for me it seems :-)
I don't know about the most qualified au pairs using agencies, they do cost the au pairs quite a bit of money, and they're young, and especially if they come from Europe where it's relatively easy to travel and work abroad, there is no real need for them to use agencies - at least not from what I have read.
Maybe mumsareglam is right and it's something about the timing? Who knows, maybe they are all on vacation right now... I guess we just have to be patient and keep looking!

bubblegun Mon 02-Jun-14 13:58:44

I wouldn't use an agency, in case of problems they are no help, they don't check anything you couldn't check yourself, their only function is to skim money off the top! I would try logging in more frequently, that's a really good suggestion. And eventually just accept a Spanish person smile

Artandco Mon 02-Jun-14 14:10:34

France - any decent agencies for nanny/ au pair will not charge the nanny/ au pair for anything. Only the parents as the clients. Therefore it's a win win to the candidates, as the agencies can find them multiple families to choose from

BranchingOut Mon 02-Jun-14 14:39:16

Are they all doing exams right now?

Karoleann Tue 03-Jun-14 22:23:25

Head- I just top up her sainsbury card which is a pre-paid card. This one eats nothing! But i have a max for £25. Plus I get her food on babysitting nights.

Karoleann Tue 03-Jun-14 22:24:26

NB We had dire applicants via an agency and i gave up and used au pair world

fluffymouse Wed 04-Jun-14 01:18:56

I'm surprised karoleann that you force au pair to eat separate and from a budget. Is eating with the family not part of the au pair deal? Is the au pair sent to her room to eat on her own?

Mum2Pea Wed 04-Jun-14 07:43:44

We have used Aupair world before and received approx 500 applicants within a couple of weeks.
This April, we again used the site (for a start date of Sept 1st) and again had well over 300 applicants.
We have now offered and are very happy with the girl that wiill join us in Sept.

My suggestions would be
1. Yes, you get to the top of the families list whenever you log in resulting in more applicants. I work so could not look at profiles during the day but just logged in every hour to stay at the top.
2. Make sure your profile is detailed on both you as a family and what you expect from your AP. I think this at least filters out those who have different expectations.
3. After the 1st application, we gave them more info and said if you are still interested, email me on xxx. Again, this filtered further.
4. By email, we then sent them a large questionaire to complete. Again some didnt bother respoding but those that did, you can check whether they match up with your criteria / family.
5. We did several skype interviews per AP and then a final interview with the children - for us this was the real test and the interaction told us all we needed to know.

We actually ended up with 3 girls after the final stage, all of which would have been suitable, so it can be done.
You just need LOTS of time and be persistent.

Good luck!

Karoleann Wed 04-Jun-14 09:28:23

fluffy - she has a separate flat with a kitchen area.

She does eat with us a couple of times a week, usually Sunday roast which is our only weekly family meal and a midweek evening meal, usually on a night DH is out. DH gets home really late and the last thing he wants to do at 9pm is chat to an au pair. I'm at home too most of the time, so we chat lots then.

We always choose an au pair that would prefer to do that, and it means they can eat what they want, when they want and not have to wait until 9pm to eat and put up with my grumpy DH. They also have the option of eating with the children at 5.30 (which our first au pair did).

car1sberg Tue 17-Jun-14 14:10:05


I am considering the idea of an au pair to start early next year, and am rather clueless at the moment.. Would you possibly mind telling me the sorts of questions you asked on the questionnaire you sent potential au pairs?

Thank you!


car1sberg Tue 17-Jun-14 14:10:43

Sorry my above message was for mum2pea!

Francezinha Tue 17-Jun-14 23:18:19

@mum2pea - great idea! If you don't mind sharing, I'd be interested, too!!!

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