When I’m looking for an ayi, I want someone who knows how to iron, separate whites from colored, clean different types of surfaces and… write a thesis on the pros and cons of real politik. Okay, not really. But if I was, I’d be in good company, according to Shanghai Daily.
Says the paper, “maids with good educations are becoming more popular, especially among expatriates and wealthy Chinese families.” In fact, there’s so much demand that at least one ayi providing service has teamed up with a college to offer specific ayi training:
The Shanghai Household Services Association is working with Shanghai University of Technology to train a team of domestic helpers who have graduated from college.
The project will be fully launched by the end of 2011 and the first group of ayis from the program will enter the market in three years, according to Sun Shizhen, an official with the association.
All to provide a “high-end maid.” What exactly is a high-end maid? Diva Asia has some grasp of the answer:
One definition of a “high-end maid”, offered on beijingbaomu.com, a housekeeping website, said the employees should know how to cook Western food, understand Western manners, manage the families’ expenses, understand basic English and be able to teach nursery rhymes to children. The average monthly salary for a “high-end maid” is about 3,000 yuan, on top of some basic insurance coverage.
Shanghai Morning Post said “high-end maids” should speak fluent English, hold a degree in culture and, of course, be able to do a little housework.
While Shanghai (and the rest of the country) starting up schools to deliver cultured cleaner/babysitters to the ever-burgeoning upper class is new, the need for these types of people in China isn’t. It’s just that, four years ago, that niche was being filled by illegal Filipino workers. From Asia Times:
The increasing demand and rising salaries have begun to lure some Filipino maids to work for wealthy Chinese families, sometimes making as much as or more than they would in Hong Kong. In Shanghai, a couple offered 6,000 yuan per month for a Filipino maid with a college degree to teach their child English as well as do housework. An average Filipino maid in mainland China now makes between 3,000 and 4,000 yuan a month.
This is despite the fact that it is illegal for Chinese families to hire foreign domestic helpers. In practice, some foreign maids came to work on a tourist visa, while some family-services companies get around the regulation by colluding with some local schools to pretend to contract the maids as English teachers so they can get a work permit.