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Staff Pay

annual salary survey

Are Private Service Staff Living Comfortably in 2024?

Salaries are always a hot topic, and the numbers can vary by SO many factors. Whether you oversee a workforce of one or 100, whether you have worked for a week or three decades, salaries should be reviewed annually to adjust for changes in responsibilities, newly acquired skills, performance, and the cost of living in your city, county, and state.

Starting Salaries

Starting salaries for entry-level staff working in the Private Service industry in the US in 2024 are usually between $75-100k. These figures may or may not include employment benefits such as housing, health care, continuing education, etc. Entry-level titles for experienced staff often include housekeeper, nanny, chauffeur, groundskeeper, cook, under butler, valet, personal assistant, security guard, yacht bosun, for example.

Management Salaries

Discussions over management salaries for experienced staff in the Private Service industry generally start at double ($170-200k) what the entry-level staff are paid and go up based on an employee’s tenure, skill set, and reputation. After all, these individuals are highly experienced and directly manage the staff and assets in their assigned departments. Variables also include title, duties, experience, location, hours, and more. 

Calculating Variables

Variables to salaries in the same geographic region include title, duties, formal education, continuing education, experience, references, location, hours, and more. Hybrid staff can expect higher wages due to multiple responsibilities and titles falling to one person. 

MIT hosts a Living Wage Calculator, which lists the minimum wage, poverty wage, and living wage needed for a specific county in the US, along with a table of typical expenses.

Forbes hosts a Cost of Living Calculator to compare the cost of living between two cities, which is helpful when considering relocation. While these are great tools, neither calculators factor in the wages needed for Private Service staff to Live Comfortably.

Why Living Comfortably Matters

Staff who are well compensated for their work are loyal, dependable, and enjoy higher levels of job satisfaction. They are free to focus on the needs of their employers, staff, the estate, and foresee possible problems before they arise. Such staff have the freedom to pursue hobbies, care for loved ones, and better their education, while not consumed with the worries of living paycheck to paycheck. They often contribute to their community and experience a higher quality of life. Employers experience stability, continuity, and reduced turnover. A 2021 survey by Indeed states:

Fair pay isn’t just money in the bank for workers; it’s also a strategic way to retain talent and maintain output. 

In fact, 82% of workers feel more engaged with and fulfilled by their work when they are paid fairly, and 81% of respondents say they are more productive and loyal to their employers.

Living Comfortably

According to a study by Smart Asset, the national average salary to Live Comfortably in 2024 is $96,500 for single individuals and over $300k for families.

While cost-of-living premiums and inflation metrics capture the price increases in goods and services, they do not necessarily account for all the additional costs needed to live comfortably – such as a buffer from the stress of living paycheck to paycheck. 

The 50/30/20 budget recommends that for sustainable comfort, 50% of your salary should be allocated to your needs, such as housing, groceries and transportation; 30% toward wants like entertainment and hobbies; and 20% toward paying off debt, saving or investing. Applying the local cost of necessities and taxes to this rule, we can derive the pre-tax salary needed to live comfortably in 99 U.S. cities.

Key Findings

  • On average, an individual needs $96,500 for sustainable comfort in a major U.S. city.This includes being able to pay off debt and invest for the future… without the pressure of living paycheck to paycheck.
  • A family must make over $300k to raise two kids comfortably in six cities.Two working adults need to make a particularly high combined income in San Francisco ($339,123); San Jose ($334,547); Boston ($319,738); Arlington, VA ($318,573); New York City ($318,406); and Oakland, CA ($316,243) to raise two children with enough money for needs, wants and savings.

Find Your City

Benchmark Reports

Reputable organizations routinely publish benchmark reports on salaries and trends that include some (not all) roles within the Private Service industry. Such reports are national averages, not specific to one market, and do not account for an individual candidate’s education, experience, and reputation. Benchmark reports should be used as a guide to predict salary trends, not as a magic number used to justify payroll rates for new hires. 

Groupe Insearch

Morgan Stanley + Botoff Consulting

  • 2023 Estate and Household Compensation 
  • 2019 Family Office Compensation 
chocolates with box on white surface

The Benefits of Generosity

In the unique setting of affluent households, private service staff face a distinct set of challenges in their daily operations, handling a diverse range of tasks from housekeeping, childcare, and culinary arts to property management, staffing, and travel logistics. While conventional practice often pegs their compensation to national averages, there are significant benefits for both principals and their private staff when wages exceed these norms. Such a practice not only directly benefits the staff involved but also contributes to a more positive and productive environment within the estate. Let’s delve into the multitude of benefits this approach entails.

Attracting and Retaining Talent

Offering wages above the national average naturally attracts a higher caliber of talent to estate positions. Experienced and skilled professionals are more inclined to seek out roles where their contributions are recognized and rewarded with competitive compensation. By paying above-average wages, principals can secure the services of individuals who bring exceptional skills, experience, and dedication to their roles, thereby elevating the quality of service provided.

Motivation and Job Satisfaction

Adequate compensation serves as a powerful motivator for staff to perform at their best. When private service staff are compensated generously, they feel valued and respected for their contributions, leading to heightened job satisfaction and a greater sense of fulfillment in their roles. This, in turn, translates into enhanced productivity and a more harmonious work environment within the estate.

Stability and Continuity

High turnover rates can disrupt the continuity and efficiency of household operations, leading to increased costs in recruitment and training. However, paying above-average wages (when paired with a culture of respect and collaboration) reduces the likelihood of staff turnover by fostering loyalty and commitment among employees. Staff members are more inclined to remain with an employer who recognizes their worth and compensates them fairly, thereby minimizing the costs associated with recruitment, training, and the potential disruption of services.

Career Development and Growth

Generous compensation packages can facilitate professional development opportunities for private service staff within wealthy estates. By investing in their employees’ growth and skill enhancement, principals can cultivate a motivated and competent workforce capable of meeting evolving needs and challenges. This not only benefits the staff themselves by enhancing their career trajectory but also contributes to the overall efficiency and effectiveness of estate operations.

Improved Quality of Life

Above-average wages afford private service staff the means to enjoy a higher quality of life, with access to better healthcare, education, housing, travel, and leisure activities. Financial stability and security contribute to overall well-being, reducing stress and enabling staff to focus on their work with greater dedication and enthusiasm. For example, international travel broadens their horizons, fostering an appreciation for diverse cultures and enriching their understanding of the world.

Recognition and Respect

Generous compensation demonstrates a genuine appreciation for the contributions of private service staff and acknowledges the importance of their role within the estate. Staff who feel valued and respected are more likely to take pride in their work and go above and beyond to meet the needs and expectations of their employers.

Enhanced Reputation and Prestige

Principals who prioritize fair compensation for their staff cultivate a positive reputation within their communities and industries. This reputation for ethical employment practices and generosity can enhance the prestige of the estate and its owner, attracting favorable attention and admiration from domestic placement agencies, peers, and neighbors.

Social Responsibility

Wealth comes with a responsibility to use resources for the betterment of society. By paying above-average wages, principals demonstrate a commitment to social responsibility and fair labor practices. They set a positive example for other employers and contribute to the broader goal of reducing income inequality.

Contribution to Economic Growth

Higher wages for private service staff contribute to economic growth by stimulating consumer spending and supporting local businesses. Increased disposable income enables staff members to participate more actively in the economy, thereby generating demand for goods and services and fueling economic activity within their communities.

Long-Term Financial Benefits

While paying above-average wages may represent a higher initial cost, it can yield long-term financial benefits. High-quality service staff contribute to the overall value of the estate, enhancing its appeal, comfort, and property value. Moreover, the stability and continuity provided by loyal, well-compensated staff can lead to cost savings in the form of reduced turnover and training expenses.

In conclusion, the practice of paying private service staff above-average wages yields numerous benefits for both staff and employers. From attracting top talent and fostering a positive work environment to promoting stability, growth, and economic prosperity, the advantages are manifold. By prioritizing fair compensation, principals not only enhance the quality of service within their households but also uphold principles of fairness, dignity, and social responsibility. In doing so, they create a mutually beneficial relationship that enriches the lives of private service staff and contributes to the overall success and prosperity of the estate.

keynote Speaker

Picture of Nicole Middendorf

Nicole Middendorf

CEO of Prosperwell Financial and Wealth Advisor with RJFS

Nicole is a money maven, a knowledge junkie, and a born coach. Nicole became an entrepreneur in 2003 when she launched her wealth management firm. She is the author of five books, the mother of two phenomenal children, a world traveler, a philanthropist, and an accomplished public speaker.

Nicole shares financial advice and real-life perspective on saving, planning, and investing with audiences across the country. Her primary goal is to take complicated subjects and make them easy to understand. She works hard to empower people to make crucial, positive changes in their own lives.

Picture of Nicole Middendorf

Nicole Middendorf

CEO of Prosperwell Financial and Wealth Advisor with RJFS

Nicole is a money maven, a knowledge junkie, and a born coach. Nicole became an entrepreneur in 2003 when she launched her wealth management firm. She is the author of five books, the mother of two phenomenal children, a world traveler, a philanthropist, and an accomplished public speaker.

Nicole shares financial advice and real-life perspective on saving, planning, and investing with audiences across the country. Her primary goal is to take complicated subjects and make them easy to understand. She works hard to empower people to make crucial, positive changes in their own lives.

Prosperwell Financial provides personalized wealth management advice to effectively guide you through every stage of life. Our advisors help to plan your way toward true financial happiness, including financial retirement planning, college education savings, estate planning, asset management, insurance, and financial divorce planning. Founded by Wealth Advisor and Certified Divorce Financial Analyst Nicole Middendorf, Prosperwell Financial serves individuals and executives all across the U.S. We help you gain the confidence needed to be in control of your financial happiness.

The Wealth Advisors at Prosperwell Financial take the time to learn about you. We want to know your goals, dreams, and desires. As a mentor and coach, we guide you through the process of discovering your financial options and possibilities. Whether that means planning for retirement, converting an IRA, working with a 401k, or wealth management services, Prosperwell Financial will have you covered.

FOR A LIMITED TIME!
May 1 to July 15, 2024

Take The
PSA ANNUAL SALARY SURVEY
Today!

Private Service Alliance™ invites Private Service Professionals and PSP Consultants to participate in our annual salary survey, providing valuable insights into compensation trends within the industry.

Your input helps to guide decision makers to ensure that salaries
remain competitive and reflective of the skills and
expertise of professionals in the private service sector.

Join us in shaping the future of compensation standards
throughout the private service industry.