After spending the past few years navigating COVID-19, working families with school-aged children have had an added challenge this fall - keeping up with the skyrocketing cost of caregiving.
Urbansitter.com, a company that helps families find care for their children, surveyed 500 of its sitters across the country, and learned their average hourly rate in 2022 is up 11%, to $20.57 an hour, according to CEO Lynn Perkins.
Perkins pointed out that it has outpaced inflation, with the Northeast experiencing the biggest jumps.
“One of the things that we found is that the northeast is our most expensive area for finding care. You're paying about 5% more than other places in the country. And so when you factor that in as well, you now have cost of gas and inflation and regional differences that are making it really expensive when people are looking for back-to-school help,” Perkins said.
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Perkins explained part of the average wage increase has to do with fewer people in this field, making families compete for a more limited pool of caregiving candidates.
Add to that higher costs, like gasoline, and you can see why sitters can now often command perks they might not have gotten before.
Perkins noted, “About two-thirds of them are looking for a gasoline stipend, and if they're driving, about half of them are looking for a minimum guaranteed number of hours a week."
Perkins said besides a gas stipend and minimum guaranteed hours, other things to attract the caregiver of your choice include:
- Flexible hours for work-life balance.
- And having most or all of the people living in your house vaccinated for COVID.
“…And this has come up in our surveys over the past two years, that around half of our sitters are particularly interested in working for families that are fully vaccinated and boosted," Perkins added.
Urbansitter.com said hourly rates should go down in the future if inflation subsides as predicted, but not by much. That’s because those entering the field are often people who have left teaching and caregiving professions during the pandemic, who can command top dollar.
So what do you do to keep your babysitting costs down? One idea from the company is to double up with another family needing a sitter - it could cut your costs in half.
As far as the most expensive babysitting markets, Urbansitter.com ranked New York, San Francisco and Seattle at the top of the list. All have been in the $21 to $23 an hour range for one child.
For more information about babysitting average wages, click here.