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British butlers and Mary Poppins-style nannies wanted in the Middle East

Published: Updated:
British butlers and Mary Poppins-style governesses are in high demand in the Middle East, with some staff earning up to $240,000 a year, the Bespoke Bureau British Butler and Housekeeper Academy said in a report.

The butler academy said it has witnessed a huge spike in requests for British-trained traditional butlers staff across the world, the Daily Mail newspaper reported last week.

The academy, which has positioned 430 butlers in 2012 across the world, a 100 percent increase since last year and four times as many in 2010, said the demand in the Middle East is proving to be much higher than its supply.

Company director Sara Vestin Rahmani said that the agency was experiencing a massive increase in the number of wealthy families wanting butlers, Arabian Business reported her as saying.

“Demand is growing in the Middle East at a similar ratio but the demand is bigger than the supply. It is a fine balance as we don’t want to just churn out numbers,” Rahmani said.

“It is a niche market but it is booming so we have seen a lot of interest… It is a butler and domestic staff agency for celebrities, high net worth individuals and royalty,” she added.

Training takes place at The Grosvenor Hotel in London’s Victoria and at Hatfield House, the 400-year-old ancestral home of the Marquess of Salisbury.

According to the academy’s website, the training courses include various butler training aspects such as a finishing school, valeting, silver service, cooking, flower arranging amongst others. The agency also trains existing hotel staff, housekeepers, house managers, butlers and other staff to become more professional butlers.

The agency said it has also noticed demand from five-star hotels in the Arab region.

“The hotels come to us and look for us to train their household staff or want their staff to be British butler trained. That is the sort of thing I do in Dubai and Abu Dhabi,” said Rahmani, who had just returned from a visit to Dubai, where she spent nearly half the year.

“There is huge demand and we have a waiting list from private houses and hotels in the Emirates and Saudi Arabia.”

Training courses for staff starts from $1,282 for two days and up to $9,619 for a six-week course.

Nannies

The agency also places governesses in Arab homes to educate and discipline children.

“In the Middle East we have been placing Mary Poppins-style nannies for many years and we have seen a similar market, it is the people who want their children to speak a certain way and be educated a certain way,” Rahmani said.

The agency’s top earning butler is based in Saudi Arabia and earns $240,487, she revealed.

The agency has also developed one-on-one etiquette training for Arab businessmen, “so when he travels to Europe he knows how to dine and greet people.”