Tips for Selecting the Right Helper
Currently, Hong Kong families employ helpers primarily from the Philippines, Indonesia, and Thailand, and increasingly helpers from Myanmar. Most Filipinos can only communicate in English. However, Indonesians, Thais, and Myanmar helpers are trained in speaking Cantonese.
Employers are free to choose helpers between age 18 and 50. The age of your helper can contribute to your family’s dynamics. If you have small kids, you may need someone who is between 30 and 40 years old and has the experience and energy to take care of children. For the teenagers in your family, you may need a younger helper in her 20’s who can communicate with them. Elderlies may appreciate the sympathy of a mature helper in her 50’s.
You must scrutinize the helper’s background information and her expectation for her future employer’s family, so that both you and the helper are on the same page. Pay attention to whether her family situation really requires her to work in Hong Kong. This will become the factor that governs her work attitude and sense of responsibility.
Employers often wonder whether it’s best to employ a helper who is new to Hong Kong or already has experience in working in Hong Kong. According to some experts, those new to Hong Kong are generally more loyal and less demanding, but their lack of experience will require more training and grooming. The more experienced “local” helpers generally pick up work faster and show greater initiative. However, some of them might have been influenced by other “local” helpers and have accumulated bad habits.
Every country has its own cultural, religious, and social practices. You must understand their distinctive lifestyles and choose a helper who can match your own lifestyle. Some Indonesian helpers, due to religious reason, do not eat pork, and some of them cannot even touch pork. Some of them have to pray at certain times of the day. Employers are advised to be mindful of the helper’s customs.