A good housekeeper doesn’t have to be a maid or a housekeeper to be sexy.
In fact, housekeepers are the most desirable workers in the hospitality industry.
And in a new survey of more than 1,000 people, a majority of them said they would hire a housekeeping job over anything else, including a new job as a full-time caregiver.
“They just have to have the right temperament, the right attitude, the ability to handle stress,” says Susan Ritter, who runs the online homecare company MyHousekeeper.com, which provides free, personalized services to housekeepers.
Housekeepers, or housekeepers in the industry’s shorthand, work at hotels, apartment complexes, apartments and restaurants, as well as restaurants and homes.
The vast majority of those surveyed, 57%, said they’ve worked at least 10 years in the service industry.
While that figure is up from last year, it’s still a low number compared with other professions, such as teachers and dentists.
(The American Association of Colleges of Nursing reported that in the U.S., more than 6 million people are now registered as homecare aides.)
The survey, conducted by the staffing firm Groupon, polled more than 4,000 workers in all 50 states, with responses from 1,100 people in each state.
“It’s really important to find a job that suits your personality,” says Ritter.
“You have to know yourself and what you want to do, and you have to make sure you know how to handle a wide variety of tasks.”
To find a good housecare job, the survey asked the participants to rate their work-life balance, how much time they wanted to spend with their family and whether they were happy and fulfilled with their job.
Ritter says that while a great homecare job can offer perks such as paid vacation time, a low-paying one might also pay less.
“I would say that there are two big reasons to look for a good homecare position,” says her co-founder, Katie Johnson.
“One is that you can work long hours, and the other is that your work schedule can be a little less predictable.”
Ritter agrees, saying that people are looking for a flexible schedule, flexible schedules are harder to find, and a less predictable schedule can lead to lower pay.
It’s also important to be willing to work a lot, she says, noting that people who work in the homecare industry tend to be less likely to have insurance and higher deductibles.
“The bottom line is that if you have an insurance policy, that will be more likely to help you than a job where you’re not insured,” she says.
Some of the best jobs in the housecare industry are also often low-paid.
“A good housecleaner is probably not the most attractive gig out there,” says Johnson.
She recommends a full time position with benefits and a 401(k) plan, as opposed to a part-time job.
“Because they are working full time, they’re paying their bills,” she adds.
A good home care job, Ritter suggests, will be at least 75% of the annual salary, or about $75,000 a year.
“When you have that kind of salary, it makes a lot of sense to go into the field for that amount of money,” she explains.
In the meantime, Riter says it’s important to look into homecare options that you might want to consider.
“If you’re looking for an internship, maybe you’d be interested in one of the larger homecare companies that offer those jobs to homecare workers,” she recommends.
The survey also asked respondents whether they’d be willing, under certain circumstances, to pay more to hire a homecare aide in the future.
“In the past, you might have to pay a little more, but now, people want to take advantage of this new generation of homecare jobs,” says Michael McKeown, who helps run the hospitality business IHE, a company that provides care services at the upscale boutique hotels of New York City.
“That said, if you’re a student or working with kids, there’s not a whole lot of pressure to pay too much.”
In general, however, Ritters says the biggest obstacle to hiring a housecleaners job is the salary.
“There’s no way that a college graduate can do a full year of housekeeping,” she notes.
“As long as they are willing to do the work, and they have the discipline to do it for the money, it can be an interesting career.”
Homecare jobs, however lucrative, aren’t always cheap.
Some jobs, like those in the hotel and restaurant industries, pay well.
“Housekeeping is a lot more of a minimum-wage job,” says McKeow, who also works as a marketing director at IHE.
“So if you want the best possible salary,