|A teacher demonstrates how to give a baby a bath at a maternity matron training program in Lianyungang, Jiangsu Province, last month. [For China Daily/Zhang Zhengyou]|
Following China's announcement allowing all couples to have a third child, more parents are expected to fuel growing demand for quality postpartum nannies and babysitters in the long term, further boosting the business growth of the sector, industry experts said.
In a recent poll conducted by China Youth Daily, nearly 70 percent of Chinese women surveyed who are of childbearing age said the primary reason that prevents them from giving birth to more children is because it is difficult to find helpers to look after babies.
Despite the COVID-19 pandemic last year when some sectors suffered from falling demand, urban Chinese families have shown a steady need in hiring babysitters. At this time, many expectant mothers in China book their postpartum nannies right after they get pregnant because it is extremely difficult to secure topnotch nannies if they are not booked early.
There is an apparent supply-demand gap between families who need babysitters and the number of available high-quality babysitters, especially in some densely populated major cities, said Beijing Ainong Housekeeping Service Co.
"More urban families are expected to generate higher demand for babysitters, and more people are likely to join the sector to become babysitters, as they have seen the growth prospects of the market. Thus, it has provided training schools like us with more opportunities to further develop businesses," said Wei Juan, principal of Beijing Tongzhou Fuping vocational training school.
Most training schools provide classes for postpartum nannies, nursery teachers, postpartum rehabilitation specialists, prolactinists or breastfeeding consultants, and early educational teachers who require a certain systematic expertise in their jobs.
In the past five years, the Fuping school recruited nearly 8,000 women who come from low-income families and offered them training sessions in babysitting, childbearing and elderly care.
Among nearly 8,000 students, the Fuping school selected more than 1,500 women out of the total and trained them to become professional maternal and child care nannies.
They learned basic knowledge in childbearing and took practical training sessions. So far, about 1,200 women are still working as babysitters and taking care of newborns and babies who are under 3 years old, the school said.
Besides teaching them baby rearing skills, the school also offers training sessions in communications and conducts psychological tests of trainees.
"Regulating and supervising the babysitting and domestic helpers training sector and ensuring orderly development of the sector remains a challenge," Wei said.
Zhao Wenbo, an analyst at LeadLeo Research Institute, a market research provider, said despite numerous people working in the babysitting sector, the supply of professional nannies who are highly skilled and possess senior titles has been inadequate to meet the demand.
"There has emerged a widespread demand among consumers and housekeeping enterprises to strengthen the professional skills and work ethics training of nannies. The safety issue remains a main malpractice of the babysitting sector," she said.
On another front, more large-size families are expected to emerge following the latest policy, and in the long term, the trend is forecast to stimulate higher demand for larger apartments.
A recent poll showed that among Chinese families who plan to have three children, nearly 90 percent of those surveyed said they have a strong desire to change to larger apartments, according to the China Index Academy, the country's largest independent property research organization.
Among those families who are willing to have three children, they are paying attention to the functions of different rooms. A majority of them would like to purchase three-bedroom or larger apartments, and they said the materials used for home renovations and interior designs need to be environmentally friendly.
Families who are willing to have up to three children are also focusing on supporting facilities and value-added services available in the neighborhood. Most interviewees said childbearing requires convenient housekeeping and babysitting services, as well as kindergartens located nearby.
"Those communities equipped with comprehensive and high-quality services for childbearing will be more attractive to potential homebuyers of young families who are willing to raise more children," said Zhang Guangjie, a senior analyst of China Index Academy.
(Source: China Daily)
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