March 22, 2012

Nanny's Do Not Make $180,000 a Year

You may be wondering why the title of this article is saying something seemingly obvious that nanny's do not make $180,000 per year.   The reason I'm saying this is because of the article I saw on Yahoo titled Nannies for New York's Super Rich are Earning More Than $180,000 a Year That article cited the New York Times article The Best Nanny Money Can Buy

Between the two articles I see one person named as the single example of a nanny that makes $180,000 annually.    The reporters have a single data point and then turn that into a trend of some sort.    Maybe they have other data about many other nannies that they didn't bother to tell us about but I honestly doubt that is the case.   They almost certainly heard about one nanny that makes a lot of money then spun it into an article.

One nanny making $180,000 does not mean that "nanny's" make $180,000.   

I know of one high school drop out who became a billionaire, but that does not mean that high school drop outs are billionaires.  Johnny Depp may have pulled in $100 million in 2011, but that does not mean that actors make millions.  In fact the median hourly wage for actors was $17.44.

Most child care workers make relatively low wages.   The average across that industry is $10.15 per hour and the top 10% in the field only makes $14.08 per hour..   In the highest paid city the mean wage is $13.97 per hour.

Why do I say any of this?     Well the problem I have with articles like this is that they take an extreme corner case and then present it as if its somehow typical.   This could lead a reader to imagine that they could actually end up making $180,000 (or more) by becoming a nanny.   I'd like to say "you can't" but that wouldn't be accurate since we do know of one nanny who apparently makes $180,000.    Therefore to be accurate, I guess I'll have to settle by saying that virtually no nannies make six figure salaries and nobody should ever expect to make that much as a nanny.   I'm going to assume that the chances of making that much as a nanny are roughly 1 in 600 thousand.   I pick that probability based on knowing that there is 1 nanny making $180,000 and about 600 thousand child care workers in America.

I think that reporting on these extreme cases is kind of negligent.   Would you go to a small rural town and tell all the kids in the high school drama class that actors make millions of dollars and neglect to tell them that most aspiring actors work part time as waiters for years without landing any actual acting work?   Would you tell a bunch of middle school kids who are playing soccer that soccer players make millions of dollars a year and not mention that theres only a few jobs in professional soccer and most of the higher paid jobs are not in America?   No, hopefully you wouldn't do this kind of thing.   Likewise I don't think we should run around telling people that nannies make 6 figure wages because it gives people unreasonable expectations and fails to point out that the overwhelming vast majority of people in the field make lower than average pay.


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