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Housekeepers in Florida now make $150K/year — as the wealthy flee high-tax states like New York for the South

Housekeepers in Florida now make $150K/year — as the wealthy flee high-tax states like New York for the South
Housekeepers in Florida now make $150K/year — as the wealthy flee high-tax states like New York for the South

In the sunny streets of Florida, where palm trees sway in the warm breeze, an unexpected economic phenomenon is unfolding in the labor market.

Housekeepers, traditionally seen as a low-wage role, are now earning staggering salaries that rival those of many white-collar workers.

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According to a recent report from CNBC, Palm Beach and South Florida are experiencing a significant shortage of housekeepers. Staffing agencies say there’s a booming demand not only for housekeepers but also for nannies, chefs, drivers, butlers and personal security personnel.

As a result, CNBC reports, the typical hourly pay for housekeepers has increased from around $25 in 2020 to $45 or $50 today.

This trend is especially pronounced in Palm Beach, where housekeepers who have experience working in wealthy homes can earn $120,000 to $150,000 a year. In addition to their impressive salaries, they often receive comprehensive benefits packages that include 401(k) plans, health care, and overtime compensation.

“I have been placing staff for 30 years, and I’ve never seen anything like this,” April Berube, founder of staffing agency The Wellington Agency, told CNBC.

“It’s a severe shortage.”

$250K a year?

Due to the shortage of available housekeepers, homeowners are now having to pay significantly more than they anticipated.

“At first they’re in shock, and they say, ‘No way I’m paying that.’ It’s even uncomfortable for me to give them the numbers,’” Berube remarked. “But when they try to hire someone for less, with less experience, they almost always come back to us and say, ‘I learned my lesson. We are willing to pay for the experience.’”

Melissa Psitos, founder of Lily Pond Services, shared an instance where a Florida client initially aimed to hire a housekeeper for $75,000 a year but ended up paying $110,000.

But that’s far from the top. Executive housekeepers, who oversee a team of housekeeping staff, can command even higher salaries. Psitos mentioned knowing one head housekeeper in Palm Beach who earns $250,000 annually.

To put things in perspective, Ziprecruiter puts the average pay for housekeepers in the U.S. is $16.31 an hour, or $33,933 a year.

For those considering a career as a housekeeper in Palm Beach, it's important to note that those eye-popping salaries come with the requirement of a unique set of skills. According to Berube, housekeepers must possess “specific tools and skills” to work in wealthy homes. For instance, they need the ability to move quietly and discreetly through the house, the expertise to carefully clean antiques, and the knowledge to properly wash and press fine linens.

Read more: Thanks to Jeff Bezos, you can now use $100 to cash in on prime real estate — without the headache of being a landlord. Here's how

Wealth migration

The dramatic increase in housekeeper salaries in Florida might have something to do with the significant migration of wealth to the state.

A 2023 report from financial technology company SmartAsset found that in 2021, Florida saw a net influx of 27,500 high earners — defined as those making over $200,000 annually. That was more than any state in the study.

Texas was the second-most popular destination for high-income filers — it added 9,000 of them.

In contrast, California and New York experienced significant outflows, losing over 45,000 and 31,000 high earners, respectively — more than any other state.

While people move for a variety of reasons, taxes could be a factor behind the migration trend. Neither Florida nor Texas imposes state income taxes on their residents, making them attractive destinations for high earners looking to maximize their income. In contrast, New York and California not only have high state income taxes but also some of the highest living costs in the country.

According to the Florida Chamber of Commerce’s 2023 Florida Business & Economic Midyear report, new residents have infused a total of $39.2 billion of net income into the Sunshine State over just one year. Of this amount, $9.8 billion came from New York alone, more than any other state.

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This article provides information only and should not be construed as advice. It is provided without warranty of any kind.