Despite there being about 400,000 maids in Beijing, few can meet the demands of high-end families in the city, especially foreign families.
|Made-to-order maids lacking in the capital
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According to the Beijing Taxation Authority, the high-income population hit 250,000 in 2008. A blue paper issued by the Beijing Academy of Social Science placed the total average capital of a high-income family at 2.36 million yuan this year.
So, while there are plenty of rich families in the city, their needs are certainly not common - they seek a particular type of "high-end maid".
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.
Virtually every definition lists a sound knowledge of English as paramount, but a housekeeping industry insider said only about 15 percent of maids are educated to a college standard.
As a result, the municipal government has adopted measures to improve the skill set of maids since last year.
One training project, which started last October and benefited 12,000 maids last year, is planning to train another 60,000 maids this year, said Guo Jianxin, deputy director of rights department with the Beijing Municipal Federation of Trade Unions, which takes charge of the project.
The government invested more than 20 million yuan into the project, which offers courses that include cooking, nursing, cleaning and flower arrangement, to suit the needs of wealthy families.