High-end recruitment agency founder reveals details of wealthy clients

Could YOU work for the world’s richest families? Put your life on hold and be ready to jump on a private jet with 30 minutes’ notice or babysit a diamond-clad dog, says high-end agency CEO (but you could earn £90,000 a year)

  • Mayfair-based company Polo & Tweed is a luxury service recruitment specialist
  • CEO Lucy Challenger provides uber-rich with nannies, chauffeurs, housekeepers
  • Candidates strictly vetted before being chosen by affluent families across globe
  • Agency places nannies up to £95,000 a year and US butlers up to £200,000

The founder of a high-end recruitment agency for the super-rich has revealed the weird and wonderful requests of the elite when sourcing staff for her wealthy clients. 

London and Berkshire-based Lucy Challenger, 37, is the founder and CEO of Polo and Tweed, a Mayfair recruitment agency with a 20,000 strong staff including butlers, chauffeurs, chefs, housekeepers and nannies. 

From a permanent dog sitter to protect the animal’s diamond collar to children’s  nannies that double as security guards, there is no request too specific for the agency.  

Lucy told FEMAIL how candidates are rigorously vetted before meeting her clients – who include a famous British singer seeking her own lady’s maid –  to ensure they have the key attributes necessary to be on their books. 

London and Berkshire-based Lucy Challenger, 37, (pictured) is the founder and CEO of Polo and Tweed, a Mayfair recruitment agency with a 20,000 strong staff

Lucy sources employees for clients ranging from working professionals to celebrities, politicians and even royalty

THE VETTING STAGE 

Potential employees are heavily vetted before being considered for Polo & Tweed’s affluent clients, but it’s also important that they have the right personality for the job. 

‘We have to vet every single person and background checks and criminal checks, said Lucy. ‘Because ultimately we’re placing people in very privileged settings and we want to keep everyone safe.’   

If you’re looking to ‘join from cold’, candidates are looking at an average four month waiting period before starting the process, and employees on Lucy’s books range from 18-85. 

‘We are looking at duties, skill set, but also personality match because of course working in private family settings is very different to working in a corporate setting,’ said Lucy. 

 Lucy, pictured at the Mayfair agency, says that to work with high net-worth families there is an expectation to ‘drop everything and really commit’, but that the salary is worth the sacrifice

The Mayfair recruitment agency (pictured) has a 20,000 strong staff from across the globe, including butlers, chauffeurs, chefs, housekeepers and nannies 

‘It’s very different the process we go through to a normal recruitment company who are just looking at the CV.’    

‘Job hopping is a bit of a turn off,’  added Lucy. ‘It’s hard because with Covid the world changed and so many people were in the situation where they lost their jobs and we get it that people have to survive.

‘In the last year particularly you see people who have had a job for say three months and then they’ve moved on to another job, but if you look back they’ve been in positions for years so we advise our clients to ignore 2020.’  

DO YOU HAVE THE RIGHT ATTRIBUTES?  

Are you flexible?  

To be part of an uber-rich household you’ll need to be flexible, making sure that you’re able to put your own life on hold and jump on a private jet with a day’s notice if need be. 

‘Flexibility is the most asked for request’, said Lucy, ‘The understanding that if Mum and Dad are stuck at the office, that nanny doesn’t just clock off and leave the children at home with no one looking after them. 

‘Flexibility to understand that situations change and they can change last minute and with high network families that flexibility goes to a whole other level of expectation. 

‘It could be you get a call and 30 minutes later the driver is taking you to the private airplane and you’re jumping on the jet to fly, so you have to have the right attitude and personality to deal with that.’ 

How much can you expect to earn? 

Butler

Entry-Level: £30,000 – £42,000

Mid-level: £42,000- £75,000

High-level: £76,000 upwards

Live-in nanny 

Entry-Level: £25,000 – £30,000

Mid-level: £31,000 – £50,000

High-level: £51,000 upwards

Chauffer

Entry-Level: £28,000 – £37,000

Mid-level: £38,000 – £55,000

High-level: £56,000 upwards

Live-in housekeeper 

Entry-Level: £25,000 – £35,000

Mid-level: £36,000 – £50,000

High-level: £51,000 upwards

Lady’s Maid

Entry-Level: £30,000 – £42,000

Mid-level: £42,000 to £75,000

High-level: £76,000 upwards

Chef 

Entry-Level: £28,000 – £37,000

Mid-level: £38,000 – £55,000

High-level:  £56,000 upwards

Are you committed?    

Lucy says that to work with high net-worth families there is an expectation to ‘drop everything and really commit’, but that the salary is worth the sacrifice.

‘Commitment and the right personality,’ said Lucy. ‘You have to enjoy making other people’s lives better, you have you enjoy that. 

‘Service used to be a real bad word in this country, we see servitude as something that’s negative. But actually, definitely in the last 10-15 years, there’s been this real trend towards it being empowering. Because people are taking charge of their careers. 

‘Housekeepers can earn up to £80-90,000 a year, there’s quite a few industries where you can’t ever achieve that. 

‘So there’s nothing to be sneered at because you’re a housekeeper or a nanny, you can earn the big bucks.’  

Are you discreet?  

She told that potential candidates need to be discreet, aware that they’re entering into the private life of a family regardless of how high-end the family is. 

‘Discretion is at the heart of everything, they want people who are discreet, the phrase “What the butler saw” goes across the board. 

‘It’s not just the butlers, the nannies, the PAs, the chauffeurs, the chef – they’re all in these private settings where family life is happening. It doesn’t matter how much money you’ve got, it’s still a family set up.’    

THE CLIENTS  

As for the type of person employees will be working for, they range from professionals to celebrities, politicians and even royalty.

‘We work with a lot of royalty all around the world,’ Lucy said, ‘We don’t work directly with the British royal family because they have their own in house recruitment. 

‘But we were on the phone yesterday to the palace doing a reference for one of our housekeepers that’s up for a job with us. We have a direct line with the palace.’ 

She went on: ‘We work with professional families, parents both working as lawyers or doctors, entrepreneurs and want a nanny or housekeeper for their home.  

‘We work with individuals that have high power, CEOs, politicians, people who are in the public eye, but not necessarily celebrities, we work with the celebrities, who always have a long list of requirements. Some are incredibly down to earth and others are not. 

‘Everyone has their own world, and why you hire staff is to make your life easier, so if someone wants a butler who can bake and do yoga with them, then why not?’  

Potential employees are heavily vetted before being considered for Polo & Tweed’s affluent clients, Lucy revealed

THE DAY-TO-DAY TASKS 

While placing employees all around the world, Lucy often comes across some extravagant and specific requests, including a permanent dog sitter, a nanny who could race horses and a childminder that doubles as a security guard.  

‘We’ve had a request for a dog nanny’, Lucy revealed, ‘Someone specifically employed to look after the dog, fly on the private jet look after the dog, protect the dog because the dog had diamonds around it’s neck.  

‘Nannies with specific skills like Mandarin speaking, one client wanted a nanny that had raced horses before, close protection skills is popular with nannies. 

‘If high net-worth families have fear of children’s security, although they have close protection teams working for them anyway, they want the nannies to have that understanding of what to do in a situation if it was to arise.’ 

She recalled a high-profile British singer who wanted a lady’s maid to wait on her hand and foot for £65-75,000 a year   

‘The Queen has a lady’s maid,’ said Lucy.  ‘It’s very old school. In the opening of Bridgeton she’s being dressed by a lady’s maid.

Lucy says 50 per cent of her clients are based in the UK, but come from all around the world. Pictured, Polo & Tweed’s Mayfair office 

‘She wanted help with fashion. What’s the latest fashion? Get me on the phone to Hermes and get me the latest bag, run her baths so when she gets home after recording the bath is run, the fire is on, her dogs are looked after and cared for. 

‘It’s so much more than someone to run the bath, it’s that full experience to make your life easier. She wasn’t married, she didn’t have a partner, she just wanted a really nice home to come home after a long day of work and relax.’ 

She added: ‘Lady’s maids are more in demand because there is less of them, a lot of Middle-Eastern clients, the houses are separated, so you need female butlers and that’s been massively popular in the last 10 years.’ 

WHERE WILL YOU BE LIVING? 

The agency, which Lucy says is similar to a ‘matchmaking service’, is based in Mayfair but works with clients and candidates from around the globe, including America, Europe and the Middle-East. 

Lucy says 50 per cent of her clients are based in the UK, but aren’t necessarily British, insisting that having a respect and understanding of other cultures is also essential for potential candidates.  

She said: ‘Our clients come to us for quite a specific match and the cultural understanding has to come with that. 

‘If you’re working for a Middle-Eastern family you do have to understand that culture and respect it, because their houses are run very differently to a typical British country home. So they have to have that etiquette in those positions.’   

THE SALARY  

‘Like most jobs the more you get paid the more responsibility you have’, she explained. ‘We’ve placed butlers in the States for over £100,000. Here they typically top out are around £80-90,000 mark, the high-end butlers. 

‘We’ve had estate managers on more, but in the States it’s a different kettle of fish, they pay up to £200,000  a year for the estate managers out there. 

‘Housekeepers we place live-in housekeepers on £65,000 sort of an average housekeeper is around the £40-45,000 mark, so we’re in a very unusual bubble of high paid jobs.’   

Source: Read Full Article