Ms Wang has visited the Beijing-based Three-Eight Housekeeping Service Company, the largest of its kind in the Chinese capital, a couple of times, but found it very hard to get her child a well-trained nurse.
"It is easier to find a college student than a housemaid equipped with professional knowledge in education and cooking," said Ms Wang.
At present, most housekeepers available in large cities such asBeijing and Shanghai are poorly-educated rural women. These women,whose ages range between 16 and 45, can only do simple housework such as cleaning and nursing at a monthly salary of 300 yuan (36 U.S. dollars).
As China's rapid urbanization drive leads to an increasingly larger gap between urban and rural areas, it is becoming very difficult for rural housekeepers to promptly adapt to urban living.
Three-Eight Housekeeping Service Company has introduced some 100,000 rural housemaids from more than 20 provinces to Beijing since the company was first founded in 1985.
However, the company is only responsible for matching housemaids with particular families after giving a briefing to therural laborers on basic urban living skills such as how to use a toilet and home electrical appliances.
"It is beyond us to provide systematic professional training for rural housemaids so as to better prepare them for urban employment," said Zhang Xianmin, general manager of Three-Eight and a veteran, who had worked in the housekeeping trade for 18 straight years.
In fact, even service companies such as Three-Eight, which only provide simple training to rural housekeepers, are rare in China's housekeeping market, as most agencies quickly clinch deals for their housekeepers, who may have arrived in the city just a few hours before.
Xu Xiuli, a 29-year-old woman from Taihe county in Anhui province, east China, has been in Beijing for seven years and is now a highly valued housekeeper.
"I cannot only care for children, but also teach them singing, dancing and even speaking simple English words," said Xu, who now enjoys a starting salary of over 400 yuan (48 U.S. dollars).
Unfortunately, most of Xu's peers cannot provide similar services.
At present, a growing number of white-collar workers and other high-income professionals are seeking housekeeping consultants and housekeepers who can provide services to meet their employers' picky demands and high social status. However, only a few are qualified.
To better develop China's fledging housekeeping industry, governments at various levels have made a series of policies and regulations.
In 2000, the Ministry of Labor and Social Security formulated professional standards for the housekeeping industry. Beijing Municipal Bureau of Labor and Social Security also demands only certified housekeepers are qualified for employment.
Although the implementation of relevant regulations still takestime, painstaking efforts have been made by some housekeeping agencies to train high-level housekeepers for a quickly modernized and urbanized China.
Researchers on China's fledgling housekeeping industry urge still better organization of the industry by attracting more urbanlaid-off workers and rural labors to enter the profession as well as further matching housekeeping incomes with education and qualifications.
(Xinhua News Agency July 12, 2002)