We found this article on the Bespoke Agency that we didn’t know had been published.
Interesting read on us
The ranks of British butlers are growing after decades of decline. That growth isn’t enough to keep pace with the rising demand for their services in China however, where a rapidly growing caste of wealthy citizens sees the butlers both as ideal house keepers and status symbols.
China is a nation with many of those rising ultra-wealthy citizens, and they’re desperately yearning for the professional help of modern butlers
Butlers were once ubiquitous in the households of British royalty and wealthy businessmen. According to the International Guild of Professional Butlers (IGPF), there were 30,000 butlers employed in the UK in the 1930’s. Just 50 years later that figure had plummeted to a mere 100. The butler ranks have since rebounded to as many as 10,000 in the UK, with many more stationed in households abroad, according to Thestar.com.
Thanks for this is owed to the fact there are growing ranks of incredibly wealthy entrepreneurs and businessmen the world over. And rather than being affected by the economic downturn, the wealthy elite prosper and continue to grow richer.
“The really rich aren’t affected by the economic downturn. They’re getting richer. We’re lucky in that sense” said Sara Vestin Rahmani of the butler training and placement agency the Bespoke Bureau.
China leading the world in butler help wanted ads
There are growing ranks of incredibly wealthy entrepreneurs and businessmen the world over. (Source: Shutterstock / Stuart Jenner)
China is a nation with many of those rising ultra-wealthy citizens, and they’re desperately yearning for the professional help of modern butlers, which function both as personal assistants and housekeepers. Despite the fact it’s estimated the market for butlers is still a few years away from hitting its full stride in China, the demand is already outpacing the availability of top butlers, who are paid as much as $160,000 annually.
“They’ll (China) soak up as many butlers as they can get their hands on,” says Gary Williams of the British Butler Institute.
Butler training institutions are scrambling to meet China’s demand for British or British-trained butlers. The London-based Bespoke Bureau opened six butler training schools in China in 2012. However the rush to churn out new butlers has some worried that they won’t meet the high standards of the profession.
“There’s a lot of nouveau riche around who think a butler’s what they need. Whatever training’s going on is pretty poor. It’s not correct. You’ve got to know how to clean a shoe, how to do a proper press. You’ve got to do the old skills” says 78-year-old butler Rick Fink to Thestar.com.
Those pitfalls aren’t doing anything to lessen the demand in China, where the status of having a British butler is becoming highly coveted and even a necessity.
“We are getting lots of inquiries from these Chinese who are sitting on piles of money. They are discovering that if you spend eight million US dollar on a villa with marble flooring, you need someone to come along who knows what they are doing” said Robert Watson of The Guild of Professional English Butlers.
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