The nanny bubble gets bigger

This week, Forbes takes a peek inside the world of professional nannies and finds that some of them are making more than $100,000 a year.

It seems like a crazy number, when you take it at face value. Factor in the fact that many of these nannies have Ivy League degrees, medical certifications and fluency in several languages, and it becomes a little more understandable; an impressive resume is an impressive resume, whether you use it to apply for a financial analyst or an au pair position.

And many would point out that when it comes down to it, there's no job more crucial than the full-time care of children -- so why shouldn't nannies be paid accordingly?

Whether or not a six-figure salary is reasonable is one discussion that's sure to spark heated arguments on both sides -- but it may not be worth wasting too much breath over.

Had this Forbes story come out in 2005, it would have been unremarkable, just one more chapter in the anthology of freewheeling spending.

To see this story now, though, is a little bit crazy. Even the super-rich are feeling the pinch of the recession, and six-figure childcare may be among the easier areas to cut back on -- especially if one parent has lost his or her job.

What's going on in the nanny market is a bubble, pure and simple -- one on the verge of bursting. Whether it's logically sound or not to devote $100,000 a year to a nanny (sorry, governess, as one of the Forbes subjects prefers to be called), one thing's for sure: the number of people who can do it has to be falling fast.

And as smart, experienced child-development and education specialists watch their jobs in other fields dry up, the pool of potential nannies is about to be flooded with qualified candidates hoping to cash in -- and the salaries they're after, in turn, will drop.

So if you're a current top-salaried nanny, now's the time to hang onto your assignment and request an advance on your bonus (if your employers were going to send you to Anguilla, ask for the trip's cash equivalent instead) -- and to burn any resumes your employers get in the mail.
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