A few years ago, I got a call from my housekeeping friend.
She was looking for a housekeeper and she was asking me to help her with a lot of the housework.
I was a full-time professional, but I was still looking for some freelance work.
“Do you have a job?” she asked.
I told her I did, and that I could do it from home.
I had a few ideas on what kind of job I could find.
I thought it would be nice to work with a woman who had been in the industry a long time.
But when I heard she had been a housekeeping manager for 20 years, I knew she was right.
And I wasn’t alone.
I’m one of many who feel that housekeeping is a low-paid and undervalued job.
It’s not only women who are left behind, but men too.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) says the average housekeeping job pays just under $14,000 a year.
It says more than a quarter of housekeepers are women, but the ABS also says that while women make up nearly 80 per cent of housekeeping workers, they make up just over 30 per cent in the broader workforce.
The job can also be tough, says Anne Williams from the Women’s Employment Commission.
“It’s a difficult job, it’s hard work and there are challenges,” she says.
How long does it take to find a new job? “
But the good thing is it’s very rewarding and rewarding in itself.”
How long does it take to find a new job?
There are a number of reasons for the wage gap, says Williams.
“There are the economic factors, there are the social factors, the gender factors, which make the difference,” she adds.
There are also barriers to entry for women.
“They may be more likely to have a higher-paid job or a higher salary, but they’re also more likely not to have experience of the job, and it’s not necessarily about qualifications,” she explains.
The ABS also collects data on the wage rate for all workers, but it’s also a very important source for looking at wage inequality.
“So, the ABS has a good sense of how the wages are distributed across the workforce,” says Williams, but there are other factors at play.
“For instance, the wage of someone who’s doing the house cleaning, or housekeeping, or even housekeeping in general, is very variable, because there’s a lot to consider.
So, there’s no way to really know how they’re doing it,” she notes.
“And it’s something that we can’t just say ‘it’s the job’.”
One thing that really struck me, though, is how much different men and women actually do it.
“The male housekeepers who do the house work, they’re actually pretty skilled at the job.
They’re not just looking for hours, they are actually doing it for hours,” says Anne.
“That’s something I think that is really interesting.”
Women are paid less than men for the same work, too.
A study by the Australian Bureau for Employment found that the median pay of housekeeper in Australia was $24,800, compared to $43,400 for a comparable job in the retail sector.
In the retail industry, housekeepers typically make $50,000, compared with $75,000 for housekeepers in the wholesale sector.
What can you do to close the wage disparity?
If you’re looking to find work in the home cleaning industry, you can try to work in an industry with lower turnover, says Vanessa from The Domestic Worker’s Association.
“You’re really getting a little bit of flexibility and flexibility that you can apply to other roles, and so that’s good for everyone,” she suggests.
“We’re also a lot less likely to be overworked and we’re really not used to working overtime.
So it’s really good for people to be flexible and able to take advantage of that.”
There are some things you can do to increase your wage, too, she adds, but you need to look at the bigger picture.
“One of the things that’s important is that you’re making money,” says Vanessa.
“If you’re going to be making $75 a week, you need a decent job.”