Your Concise Guide to Finding a Job as an Au Pair
Becoming an au pair can be a way to spend a gap year, a chance to start a career in childcare, or an exciting overseas adventure. But before you start packing your bags, you first need to secure that au pair job opening! To help you do just that, we’ve put together a simple guide to finding au pair jobs, just for you.
Local au pair opportunities
The easiest way to find au pair work is right here on Job Mail. To help your search turn up all the relevant results, make sure to try synonym keywords such as ‘babysitter’and ‘nanny’ too.
Another site to look into is Au Pair SA, a database of au pairs and au pair jobs in South Africa. You can list your own services here as well, and wait for a family in need to find you.
Lastly, you can also try doing a Google search for au pair jobs in your area (for example, search: ‘Au pair jobs Bellville’). This will turn up a number of great sites with opportunities in your area.
What should you look for?
There are different kinds of job opportunities for au pairs in South Africa. So make sure to look for one that suits you. Most of the jobs are part-time (half-day) work. Some are just for specific days of the week, while others can include weekends. Balance out your earning expectations with the number of hours you are willing to put in.
Another factor to take into account is, of course, the children you will be looking after. Some jobs involve looking after teenagers, while others involve looking after toddlers. The number of children you are expected to look after will also influence your earning prospects—although it goes without saying that the more kids you are going to be looking after, the more stressful your job is going to be.
What will you earn?
Some jobs will earn you R5000 per month; others more, others less. The average salaries can range anywhere between R5000 and R11000 a month. The amount you earn will depend on your employer, your working hours, and the number of children that will be in your care. So balance out how much you want or need to earn with how much time and effort you are willing to put in.
Some jobs might also give you optional live-in accommodation, meals, or other benefits.
For the better jobs—with the higher pay—competition can be tough. So make sure you stand out from the rest, not only in terms of experience, but also in terms of skills and training. You might want to consider investing some money in a part-time au pair course to put yourself ahead of the curve.
Au pair overseas
Becoming an au pair will give you great opportunities to work and travel overseas. But securing overseas employment is a bit trickier than getting a job here in South Africa.
Because working overseas requires a lot of administrative paperwork and logistics, it is recommended that you find work through an agency. The agency will not only help you find a family looking for an au pair in your desired country, but will also help you with visa applications and other arrangements.
You can take a look at some of the following agencies and websites to find work as an au pair overseas:
If you have a specific country in mind, you can once again do a simple Google search to find available jobs or prospective programmes. It will be easier, though, to do it through an agency that is based (or has offices) in South Africa.
Just make sure to use a reputable agency that will not exploit you, as you will have to pay agency fees, visa fees, and possibly additional programme fees. If possible, try to get references from other au pairs who have used the agency’s services previously.
What are the benefits?
The biggest benefit of working overseas will be that you get paid to travel. Not only that, but you will likely be earning more money than you would be earning at home, as you will be paid in a foreign currency. Just remember, however, that living costs overseas are also much higher than in South Africa.
Working as an au pair overseas also has the following benefits:
- Your host family will give you accommodation and meals
- You will get to explore a new culture
- You will be able to travel during holidays
- You will be able to save money to take home
- You might have the opportunity to learn a new language
Things to remember:
Your job contract will most likely last a year. This means both that you have to commit to a long-term contract, and that you have to go home after the contract expires. While it will be possible to stay on after a year, it will take a lot of administrative hassle to extend your visa for another stay (you might have to come back to South Africa first in order to do that).
International jobs often also have stricter requirements than local ones. Requirements can include:
- Basic skills in the language of the country
- Being single with no dependents
- A valid passport
- A police clearance certificate
- Professional references
- A certain amount of babysitting or childcare experience
As with local job opportunities, the more qualified you are, the easier you will secure an au pair position overseas. But you don’t have to hold a Bachelor’s degree, either. Even a distance learning au pair course, or a relevant short course, will put you ahead of a lot of your competitors.