THE MOST VITAL SUPPORT STAFF
Support staff is the backbone of any business. I could not stop drawing comparisons with the very special support staff we provide in Domestic Ambassadors – the household staff. I compare them to the first tier of a beautifully and richly decorated wedding cake.
There is simply not enough domestic staff with the right skills, attitude and experience to supply the demands of our clients up and down the country. I am referring to the kind of domestic staff with a wealth of experience gained from their training and experience in serving royalty, diplomats, aristocrats, celebrities, professionals and successful business people. The kind of staff who treat their positions as their professions, have genuine work ethics, sensibilities, patience, perseverance and willingness to constantly improve their skills and serve dutifully and with pride. It is very hard work indeed, not for the lazy people of this world, but our jobs are better paid than most office jobs.
The captains of industries, many of our clients, will not tolerate dealing with mediocre staff. They need an over-all support in their domestic lives- intelligent, capable, confident, reliable, organised and enthusiastic staff to manage their homes and provide support for their families.
The household staff is the first tier support staff an employer will do business with by the times he wakes up in the morning until he retires in the evening. The employer’s hearty breakfast is prepared for him, his clothes must smell nice and meticulously ironed by his housekeeper, his house must be spotless, organised and beautifully cleaned like a gleaming palace and his children are well taken care of.
The household staff support will provide balance to his gigantic and challenging responsibilities in his work place. We, as his first tier support staff must provide all these needs for the well-paid jobs we enjoy. His second tier of support staff, his office staff, will hopefully also make his life much easier.
Dreaming of joining life ‘downstairs’ used to be an ambition for poor young men and women in the olden days as shown in many period films such as Downton Abbey. Unfortunately, attitude towards domestic employment changed dramatically in the past fifty years. Second and next generations of Filipinos would prefer white-collar jobs rather than work in servitude although they enjoyed the material wealth and financial stability their parents who came to the UK in the early 1970’s as domestic staff achieved.
So, where will we get the first tier of support staff who will continue to serve the future captains of industries since the Home Office ended the domestic visa scheme in April 2012? They branded domestic workers as ‘unskilled’ which is totally cruel and an insult to the English language. How can you iron your employers’ shirts if you do not have a skill in ironing or feed his family when you do not have skills in cooking?
I have a big problem as a recruitment consultant as to the skills, personalities and experience of many European applicants who can hardly match our clients’ requirements and expectations and more importantly are unwilling to do the jobs. They do not have a clue on what a housekeeper’s duties entail when they read the job specification as they are not used to this sort of work environment in their own countries. Many applicants prefer to live-out, there is no long-term commitment and there is a lack in the necessary basic domestic skills and work ethics required. The same mentality can be seen with some of the natives of this country who shy away from domestic chores.
An applicant coming from the so-called developing countries understands the value of hard work, compassion, warmth and genuine care towards her employer’s children and the elderly. She offers versatility, experience and flexibility. She will protect her employer’s properties and offer sacrifices when necessary. She appreciates all the good things her employers have to offer, financial stability, security and above all, self-respect.
As long the UK economy remains sound and healthy, the few remaining Filipino domestic workers will continue to provide a vital domestic support to anyone contributing to the wealth and economic success of this country – our second home.