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1/33! /&£> UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF LABOR BULLETIN OF THE WOMEN’S BUREAU, No. 106 HOUSEHOLD EMPLOYMENT IN CHICAGO UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF LABOR FRANCES PERKINS, SECRETARY WOMEN’S BUREAU MARY ANDERSON, DIRECTOR BULLETIN OF THE WOMEN’S BUREAU, No. 106 HOUSEHOLD EMPLOYMENT IN CHICAGO By B. ELEANOR JOHNSON UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE WASHINGTON: 1933 For sale by the Superintendent of Documents, Washington, D.C, Price 10 cents CONTENTS I Letter of transmittal Introduction" Characteristics of household employment Purpose of the study Method of collecting data Classification of findings Summary: The employing group Summary: The household workers Outstanding difficulties of employer and employee___________ _____ Part I. Character of the employing group________ __ Family status _ _ __ The income _____________________________________ Size of home_________________________________ _____________ Size of family______________________________ _______________ Number and age of children________________ ________________ Number of invalids and aged Housekeeping experience of the employer Summary The number of employees per family Factors determining the number of workers Income______________________________________________ Size of the family Number and age of the children____________________ Size of the home ________________________________ ___ Conclusions The types of work for which assistance is employed Full-time women workers____________________ ______________ Comparative needs of the employer for assistance in the various branches of housework Food preparation, serving, washing dishes Daily and weekly care of the home Washing, ironing, mending Care of children___________________________ Answering bell, receiving packages, and so forth Employee responsibility Part-time workers___________________ _______________________ Employers’ need of assistance at different time periods during the day The household worker preferred by Chicago employers Race and nativity Domicile status Personality traits desired in employees Summary Summary Part II. Character of the employee group _________________________ Occupation Race and nativity_____________________________________ Age---------------------------------- --------- ---------------------------------------------Marital status Schooling Training for household employment________________ ____ _____ Efficiency of the supply __________________________________ Wages____________________________________________ ____________ Wages of resident employees Wages of nonresident employees Stability of the worker__________________ __ Preference of the worker as to domicile status ill Page vn 1 1 2 3 4 4 5 8 9 9 9 10 11 11 12 12 13 14 14 14 15 16 17 18 18 18 19 19 20 21 22 22 22 23 24 26 26 27 28 29 30 31 31 32 33 35 35 36 37 39 39 42 42 43 IV CONTENTS Part II.—Character of the employee group—Continued. Kinds of housework the employees liked best and could do best____ Personality traits desired by employees in the person for whom they work Summary Part III. Outstanding difficulties of employer and employee____________ Difficulties of employer in securing household workers_____________ Other problems of the employer 48 Training and efficiency 48 Attitude of employee 50 Character and personality; cost of service and turnover_______ Minor problems Varied nature of problems Special problems of the employee Difficulties in securing work Hours______________ Free time 54 Amount and character of work demanded. Attitude of others toward the work and those engaged in it____ Living conditions No change desired Desirability of household employment as a job________________ Summary Appendix—Schedule forms TEXT TABLES 1. Income of employers 2. Size of home 10 3. Size of home, size of family, and age of children, of employers reporting income 4. Number and age of children in homes having full-time household employees 5. Housekeeping experience of employers, by income_________________ 6. Total number and average number of household workers employed by families in each income group 7. Number of employers having full-time workers only and both full-time and part-time workers, by income 8. Number of employees per family, by size of family_________________ 9. Number of employees per family, by number and age of children in the household__________________ 10. Number of employees per family, by size of home_________________ 11. Distribution of full-time women workers according to branch of house hold employment 18 12. Branch of housework in which the employer had the greatest and the least need of assistance 20 13. Responsibility of full-time women employees for laundry work______ 14. Number of households in which full-time women employees had major responsibility in selected household tasks 23 15. Kinds of work for which part-time workers were employed_________ 16. Comparative need of employers for household assistance during given time periods, week days and Sundays 25 17. Race and nativity preferred by employers 26 18. Number and percent of employers having full-time women workers of specified race and nativity in their employ 26 19. Domicile status of full-time women employees compared with prefer ence of employers 27 20. Traits desired most, desired least, and those seldom found in employees by employer 29 21. Full-time women workers in each specified branch of household em ployment, by race and nativity 31 22. Full-time women household employees, by race and nativity________ 23. Number of native-born white, foreign-born white, and Negro women in certain selected occupations, Chicago, censuses of 1910, 1920, and 1930 24. Number and proportion of full-time women household employees in each age group 84 44 45 46 47 47 51 52 52 53 53 53 55 56 57 57 57 58 59 9 11 12 13 14 15 15 16 17 21 24 32 33 CONTENTS V Page 25. Full-time women workers in each specified branch of household em ployment, by age group_____________________________ 26. Full-time women household employees, by race and marital status, with a distribution of the married and widowed, by number and age of children 35 27. Schooling of full-time women householdemployees, by race_________ 28. Place in which training for household employment was obtained, by race 36 29. Training considered most valuable, by race 37 30. Branch of household employment in which employers found it neces sary to train new workers 37 31. Adequacy of training and experience of present full-time women em ployees when engaged 38 32. Efficiency of present full-time women employees in various kinds of household work 39 33. Weekly wages and living status of full-time white women employees, by branch of household employment 40 34. Weekly wages and living status of full-time Negro women employees, by branch of household employment 40 35. Weekly wages of full-time white women employees, by living status and age 41 36. Weekly wages of full-time Negro women employees, by living status and age__________________________________ 37. Time with present employer, by race 43 38. Length of employee’s experience in household and other employment, by race 43 39. Preference of full-time women employees as to living or not living at the place of work and number living in and living out in present employment, by age and race 44 40. Branch of household employment full-time women workers liked best, liked least, and could do best 45 41. Personality trait desired most, desired least, and seldom found in em ployer by employee 45 42. Number of employers and employees using specified methods of secur ing workers or work 47 43. Method used by employer to determine applicant’s qualifications___ 44. Changes suggested by full-time women employees to make household employment a more desirable occupation, by race:_________________ 45. Amount of free time desired by full-time women employees, by race. 46. Desire of full-time women employees concerning direction and super vision of work, by age 56 47. Number of full-time women employees who had done other work and number who planned to do other work at some future time, by race. 48. Kinds of work employees planned to do in the future, by race______ 3 36 48 55 57 57 54 LETTER OF TRANSMITTAL United States Department of Labor, Women’s Bureau, Washington, March 31, 1933. I have the honor to submit the findings of a study of house hold employment in Chicago, made by B. Eleanor Johnson under the direction of Dr. Hazel Kyrk of the department of home economics and household administration of the University of Chicago. As a supplement to Women’s Bureau Bulletin No. 93, Household Employment in Philadelphia, which was based almost wholly on employers’ schedules, Miss Johnson’s study, to which a much larger group of employees contributed data, should be a valuable addition to the Bureau’s group of reports on this important subject. Respectfully submitted. Mary Anderson, Director. Hon. Frances Perkins, Secretary of Labor. Madam: VII HOUSEHOLD EMPLOYMENT IN CHICAGO INTRODUCTION CHARACTERISTICS OF HOUSEHOLD EMPLOYMENT The worker who chooses employment in private households meets conditions totally unlike those she would meet in other occupations. The work itself is more varied in character, and the conditions under which it is done are different. There is no similarity in the methods of determining wages, hours, and amount of work to be done. Per haps the most outstanding difference of all is the attitude of the public in general toward household employment as contrasted with its attitude toward other occupations, and it is this prejudice that is responsible for many of the problems within the occupation. In contrast to industrial jobs, housework has not been analyzed and split up into its component parts for the purpose of installing ma chinery or of reducing to one particular process the kind of work assigned to each employee. The general worker in a private house hold is expected to carry on all the processes of all the tasks involved in the physical care of the household. Her daily routine requires that she do first one kind of work and then another.1 Some of the tasks of the household worker are definitely unskilled; they are quickly learned and are repeated with such frequency that they become more or less automatic. Others, as the laundry work and the weekly cleaning, might be termed semiskilled work. Cooking, on the other hand, is highly skilled, as is the care of children. Both require careful training and considerable experience before the worker can be regarded as really efficient. The conditions under which the household employee does her work are different from those of the industrial worker. As a rule, the physical surroundings are pleasanter and more attractive; there is opportunity for better air and light than in many industrial plants, and the worker is free from the constant noise and hum of machinery that add to the exhaustion of the industrial worker. The work itseif is diversified and presents greater possibilities for interest and for exercising creative faculties than does work of the highly specialized, repetitive, and monotonous type that results from intensive division of labor. It is free from the strain of constantly timing processes to the speed of a machine, for housework can easily be adjusted to the speed of the worker, since there is considerable flexibility in the time during the day when each task must be completed. As far as the specific conditions of work described are concerned, household employment would appear to be a fairly desirable occupa tion, but there is one condition that is sufficiently important in the • In their study, The Present Use of Work Time of Farm Homemakers, Bui. No. 234 (July 1929), State College of Washington, p. 29, Inez Arnquist and Evelyn Roberts state that an average of 67 changes of work were made during the day by the housewife. Though the paid employee may not be responsible for so great a variety of tasks, this is indicative of the unspecialized character of her work. 1 2 HOUSEHOLD EMPLOYMENT IN CHICAGO eyes of the average worker to counteract all that the others might contribute to its desirability: That is, that in a large proportion of households the employee works alone, while in the other occupations she is one of a group. In other employment she has company in her work, others around her are doing the same thing she is doing or work similar to it, and she has an opportunity for the social contacts that are so necessary to contentment. Even when the household em ployee is not at work it is difficult for her to make arrangements to see her friends. The amount of leisure and the time she will be free are so uncertain, and the fact that in so many cases she lives in the home of her employer, a practice found today in almost no other occupation, add to the difficulty of planning for social life. Because household employment is a relation between individual employer and employee, it is unstandardized. The household em ployee finds no definite wage scale based on experience, skill, or the amount of work required. The very basis of her wage is different from that of the industrial worker. Household service is among consumers’ goods of the luxury class, while the wage of the industrial worker is one of the costs of production, which the employer expects to have returned when the commodity that the worker helped to produce is sold. In household employment there is no standard for the length of the working day nor for the amount of work to be accomplished during that time. A worker changing from one household to another does not know whether she will be expected to put in more or less time than in her former job, nor can she be sure just what free time she will have to herself or at what specific hour during the day this free time will come. Under these conditions “overtime” rarely is com puted. Even at the present time many workers are expected to per form any service that may be required from the time of getting up in the morning until going to bed at night—“in domestic service it is the person who is hired, and not, distinctively, the labor of the person.” 2 The main reason, however, that household employment is considered on a lower plane than other occupations for the untrained woman is the social stigma attached to it. Other workers, her employers, and sometimes her own family make the household worker feel that she is inferior to everyone else. Because of the characteristics peculiar to household employment and the fact that conditions that existed 40 years ago still exist, special studies must be made if household occupations are to be other than “the least standardized, the least modernized, the most feudal of all the work in the modern world.” 3 PURPOSE OF THE STUDY Practically all the early studies of household employment had as their fundamental purpose to discover and analyze the causes under lying the difficulties in household employment. The present study was undertaken to determine, among other things— 1. The character of the demand for household workers 4 and particu larly for full-time workers. * Domestic Service. In vol. XIV, reports ol tnc Industrial Commission, 1901, p. 759. s America's Domestic Servant Shortage, by Ethel M. Smith. In Current History, May 1927, p. 218. * Workers engaged in the group of occupations concerned with the physical care of the house and its mem bers and carried on in private homes for a money wage. INTRODUCTION 3 2. The character of the supply of household workers. The study was planned to bring out information relative to the character of the employing group and the factors that are important in determining the number of workers employed. It was meant to throw light on employer preferences as to the race and nativity, educa tion, training, skill, and personal qualities of the employee, and the relative need of the employer for assistance at different time periods during the day and with different household tasks. (For the employer schedule see p. 59.) It was planned to secure facts relative to the personnel of the employed group, their education and training, as well as the kinds of housework in which they were engaged, their preferences regarding their work, and their attitude toward it. (For the employee schedule see p. 61.) Since so large a proportion of the workers engaged in household employment are women, and since it is in household employment as a full-time job that most of the problems of the occupation are cen tered, the study was planned primarily to secure information relative to the women who were full-time household workers. METHOD OF COLLECTING DATA It was believed that the information desired could best be obtained through the use of the schedule method. It was planned to present the problem to groups of employers and employees and to have the schedules filled out under supervision. With this plan in mind, two schedules were prepared, one for employers, and one for employees,6 which contained questions relative to the points mentioned. The date of the study was 1930. Employee schedules, for the most part, were secured through the cooperation of the Young Women’s Christian Association, the Urban League, and Winchell Continuation School, though a number were secured through employment bureaus and individuals. In the main they were filled out under supervision by members of householdemployee clubs of the Young Women’s Christian Association, by household employees enrolled in English classes, by groups of house hold employees that were assembled through the Chicago Urban League, and by groups of girls in Winchell Continuation School who were employed as mothers’ helpers. Only a small part of the employer schedules were filled out under supervision, since it proved a difficult problem to get in touch with groups of women among whom were many employers of full-time household workers. Some schedules were filled out through the co operation of women’s organizations and individuals, but the majority were secured by mailing schedules to women known to be employers of full-time household workers. Information concerning the study and special instructions for the filling out of the schedules were mailed with the forms. Returns were secured from 250 employers and 250 female employees, and together these furnished data concerning 576 full-time female employees. Of the employers, from a minimum of 211 to the total 250 answered the various inquiries. Of the employees, from a minimum of 218 to the total 250 did so.5 5 Copies of these schedules will be found in the appendix, pp. 59 to 62. 4 HOUSEHOLD EMPLOYMENT IN CHICAGO CLASSIFICATION OF FINDINGS After tabulating and analyzing the data given on the schedules, the information was classified under the following main heads: I. The character of the employing group. II. The character of the employee group. III. Outstanding difficulties of employer and employee. SUMMARY: THE EMPLOYING GROUP A summary of the facts presented in the various sections of the report will bring out more clearly the present status of household employment as an occupation for women and girls. One of the chief characteristics of the Chicago families that employ full-time household workers is that their yearly income is sufficient to permit the well-to-do and luxury standards of living. More than three fifths of the group studied had incomes of over $10,000. The husbands of these employers of household workers were for the most part professional men, executives, entrepreneurs, and officials. About two thirds of the families studied lived in houses rather than apartments. Their homes ranged in size from 4 rooms and 1 bath to 28 rooms and 12 baths. About three fourths of the homes had 10 or more rooms (including baths) and 5 percent had 20 or more. The households employing full-time workers ranged in size from 1 to 8 persons. Four-person households were more frequent than any other size, but the average for the entire group was 3.8 persons. Just over seven tenths of the families had 3, 4, or 5 members. Of the 23 families having 6 to 8 members, none lived in the homes having 20 or more rooms; 9 of the 12 largest homes housed families of 3 members or less; a family of 2 lived in the house having 28 rooms and 12 baths; and a family of 5 in the apartment having 4 rooms and 1 bath. Clearly the size of the home had not been decided merely on the basis of adequate housing. These households contained neither very many children nor very young children. Two thirds had no children under 8 years, and in little more than a third of the households were there two or more under 16. A large proportion of the households were old-established ones. More than half the employers reporting had kept house for 20 years or more; only 6 had kept house for less than 5 years. The average number of employees per household was 2.7—1.5 full time and 1.1 part-time workers. Regardless of the fact that the size and composition of the family and the size of the home are of primary importance in determining the kind and amount of work to be done, in the present study they appeared to be of slight importance in determining the number of workers. Income was the important factor in determining the number of paid assistants in a household. When one considers that the services of an employee at $15 a week involve an expenditure of $780 a year, or nearly 16 percent of a $5,000 income, the importance of income in determining the amount of assistance is not to be wondered at. As the income increased from less than $5,000 to over $10,000, the average number of workers (men included) increased from 1.1 to 3.1. It was only when the income was at least $5,000 that the group averaged one full-time employee supple- INTRODUCTION 5 men ted regularly by one or more part-time workers; and only when the income was over $10,000 did it average two full-time workers. Three fourths of the households had only one full-time employee, the general worker; 25 percent had cooks, 17 percent second girls, and 7 percent children’s nurses and chambermaids; while the pro portion having such specialized help as ladies’ maid, parlor maid, and so on, was very slight. Employers’ need of assistance Eighty-four percent of the households studied had most need of assistance with the cooking, or at least as much as for any other branch of housework. The need of assistance with the daily and weekly cleaning of the house and with dish washing was the next most keenly felt. According to the statements of employers, the need of someone to answer the bell, receive packages, and so on, was negligible. Studies have shown, however, that this service is expected, and that in only a small number of households is the employee entirely free to follow her own pursuits during the afternoon or evening. She is expected to be "on call.” The major responsibility for the washing of dishes and the weekly cleaning was given over to the employee in practically all the house holds. In the great majority of cases the major responsibility for cooking and serving also was the employee’s, while in comparatively few homes was she given the major responsibility for tasks requiring initiative, managerial ability, and a knowledge of scientific principles. In 50 households responsibility for the laundry work was entirely the full-time employee’s; in only 4 of these cases was such full-time worker a laundress. In 84 families the full-time employee had no responsibility for the laundry work; in another 50, practically all but special laundry work was done by other than the full-time worker. From statements of employers it would appear that the extremely long working day and irregular hours in many homes are unnecessary. According to at least half of the employers’ schedules, a working day of about 10 hours on week days, including time for meals, and 6 hours on Sunday, seems a possibility. Type of worker preferred Employers preferred the foreign-born white worker, with the Negro second in preference. They also preferred the resident full-time employee; about three fourths expressed this preference, and about the same proportion actually employed resident workers. “Honesty”, “dependableness”, “willingness”, “good nature”, “kind ness to children”, and “the ability to follow directions” were personality traits desired by the majority of employers in their household workers. “Initiative” and “knows her place” were considered of comparatively little importance. “Initiative” was the trait least commonly found. SUMMARY: THE HOUSEHOLD WORKERS Proportions in the various branches of housework As so large a proportion of the employing group had only general workers, it is not surprising to find that two thirds (382) of the 576 full-time women employees for whom information on occupation was 6 HOUSEHOLD EMPLOYMENT IN CHICAGO available were engaged in general housework. Seventy-six were cooks; 50 were second girls; and the remainder included 26 nurse maids, 16 chambermaids, and very small numbers (1 to 6) in other occupations. Race and nativity From the reports of employers their general preference was for the foreign-born white worker. Of the 573 employees from both employer and employee schedules, 42 percent were foreign-born white, 30 percent were Negro, and 28 percent were native white. Age The employers expressed a preference for the worker over 25 years of age because of her greater permanence and dependability. More than half (52.7 percent) of the employees whose age was reported were 25 to 44 years, and 16 percent were 45 years and over. Thus only 31 percent were under 25 years. The median age for the entire group was 29; for white employees it was 26 and for Negroes it was 35. The age distribution of general workers was wider than that of any other group. Nearly two fifths (37.7 percent) were under 25 and one seventh (13.3 percent) were 45 and over. All but one of the entire group of workers under 18 were general houseworkers. As a group, cooks were older than general house servants. Only 3 of the 71 re ported for age were under 25, while over one fourth were 45 years or more. Marital status Of the 250 full-time employees whose marital status was learned, nearly three fourths (73.6 percent) were single. The races differed greatly in this: 96 percent of the white employees, in contrast to only 34 percent of the Negroes, were single. The method of securing schedules may have been largely responsible for this high figure among white, women, since in all probability married women would be found less frequently than single women in clubs, English classes, and the continuation school. Education and training In general, the education of the household employees had been meager. Of the 246 reporting amount of schooling, 166 (67.5 percent) had completed no grade higher than the eighth. The figures available show the following for white and Negro employees: Of 159 white employees, 4 (less than 3 percent) had completed only the fifth grade or some grade below the fifth, 73 (45.9 percent) had completed the eighth grade, and 47 (29.6 percent) had continued in school beyond the eighth grade; 6 of these had had some college work and 5 special training. Of 87 Negro employees, 17 (19.5 percent) had completed only the fifth grade or some grade below the fifth, 22 (25.3 percent) had completed the eighth grade, and, although 33 (37.9 percent) had gone above the eighth grade, none had had college work and only 1 special training. Of the 246 employees reporting on this, over one fourth, whether white or Negro, had attended special classes. A very much larger proportion, 83 percent, had secured all or a part of their training in their own homes, and 61 percent had secured all or a part of their training in the homes in wliich they had worked. Of the group as a INTRODUCTION 7 whole, 49 percent considered the training received in their own homes, and 42 percent considered that received in the homes in which they worked of the most value. Efficiency of the workers Of 211 employers reporting, all but 14 stated that they found it necessary to train new employees in all or a part of their duties. Probably because of the difference in standards, not only of employer and employee but of the various households of the employing group, one sixth of the employers reported that employees needed training in “my way of doing things.” Cooking, serving, and cleaning were the branches of housework in which it was most frequently necessary to give training. Training in thoroughness and order of cleaning was more often necessary than training in methods of cleaning. If so large a proportion of housewives (93 percent) found it necessary to train employees in all or a part of their tasks, it is not surprising that almost one half indicated that one of their outstanding problems had been to secure efficient workers. However, only one fourth of the present employees of these housewives were reported as having meager training and experience when engaged, and for 30 percent the training and experience were reported as superior. At the time the schedules were filled out, about seven tenths of the employees were giving good service and only a very small part were giving poor service. e It seems evident from these conflicting statements that house wives must interview large numbers of prospective employees before finding one with adequate qualifications, which according to their own statements seven tenths are successful in doing; or that the complaint of inefficiency is based on knowledge or impression of the general market supply rather than on actual experience with workers in their employ. Wages The wages that these household employees received varied with race, domicile status, kind of work done, and age. In general, wages were lower for Negro employees than for white employees, for non resident than for resident workers, for general work than for any other occupation. Of the resident white employees, more received $20 and under $25 a week than any other wage, while the largest proportion of Negro workers received $15 and under $20. About seven tenths of the resident white employees doing general housework, in contrast to only about one tenth of the cooks, received less than $20. More than seven tenths of the second girls, nearly three fourths of the chamber maids, and about one half of the children’s nurses received at least $20. Wages showed a tendency to increase with the age of the worker. All resident workers under 18 years of age received less than $15 a week; over four fifths of those from 18 to 24 years received less than $20; well over one half of those who were 25 to 44 received $20 or more; and almost three fifths of those who were 45 or more received at least $20. The stability of household workers In general, other studies of household employment have indicated that women do not remain long in any one household. As opposed to this, almost half of the 555 employees reported in the Chicago study 8 HOUSEHOLD EMPLOYMENT IN CHICAGO had been with their present employers from 1 to 5 years and 15 percent for 5 years or more. .. Preference of the worker as to domicile status One of the suggestions made repeatedly in the past as a remedy for certain conditions existing in household employment is to encourage the worker to live outside the home of the employer. Of 156 white employees in Chicago who reported their preference as to this, 82 percent preferred living in, whereas 55 percent of the 89 Negroes who answered the question preferred living out. This difference can be accounted for by the fact that a large proportion of the Negroes were or had been married and presumably had homes, while a large percentage of the white employees were foreign born, with whom living in the home of the employer was customary. For others the preference was determined by purely economic rather than social considerations. Personality traits desired in employer Of the personality traits listed for checking, “fairness” was the one desired by the greatest number of employees in the person for whom they worked, and this was the trait reported by the greatest number as seldom found. “Kindness”, “punctuality”, and “good nature” also were much desired in employers. “Patience” and “generosity” were the traits mentioned the least frequently. OUTSTANDING DIFFICULTIES OF EMPLOYER AND EMPLOYEE Problems reported most frequently by employers had to do with the lack of training and efficiency on the part of the employee; the attitude of the employee toward her work, her associates, and her employer; the difficulty in securing employees with desirable per sonality traits; the cost of service and turnover; and the inadequacy of records, references, and supply of workers available at employment bureaus. Those reported least frequently related to the health and personal cleanliness of the worker and to the planning of the working day so that the household was well provided for and the worker had sufficient time for recreation. Problems reported by employees centered around difficulties in securing work; hours; the amount and character of the work demanded; the treatment received from employers; the attitude of others toward them and their work; and living conditions. Part I. CHARACTER OF THE EMPLOYING GROUP A number of questions arise as to the character of the employing group in the present study: Who represent the demand for house hold labor? What is their income? Are their homes large or small? Have they typically large or small families? How many have young children and how many have none at all? FAMILY STATUS The income Analysis of the schedules shows that of the 233 employers of full-time workers who reported in regard to income, about 97 percent (all but 8) had annual incomes of at least $5,000. More than three fifths had incomes of over $10,000. There is always the possibility of more than one income recipient in a household, but the Chicago schedules show that in only 15 of the 237 households employing full-time workers was the wife or daughter who had charge of the home gainfully employed. The schedules furnish no specific information regarding sons and daughters who contributed to the family income, but since in about 60 percent of the families all the children were under 16, at least in this group there probably was no contribution. About two fifths of the hus bands of these employers of household workers were professional men; the remainder were railroad and corporation executives, owners and managers of businesses such as manufacturers, wholesalers, retailers, importers, bankers, brokers, real-estate men, and insurance men. It would seem probable, therefore, that in all but the 15 households where the wife or daughter was gainfully employed the husband was the only income recipient. Table 1.-—Income of employers Employers reporting Yearly income Number Percent Total................................................ 233 100.0 $5,000 to $10,000____________ _ Over $10,000_______________________ 8 80 145 3.4 34.3 62.2 Since the incomes of this group were so high, a very large propor tion of the households were able to enjoy what is commonly called the luxury or liberal standard of living. This is the level of living that permits of expenditure for goods and services that are not necessaries and may be termed “luxuries.” It permits of delicacies for the table, more frequent dining out, more elaborate entertaining, a greater variety in the wardrobe as well as better quality, larger and more expensive homes that include many rooms in addition to the 1690°—33----- 3 9 10 HOUSEHOLD EMPLOYMENT IN CHICAGO usual dining rooms, living rooms, bedrooms, and kitchen, greater advantages of education and travel, and so on. The manner of living becomes highly complicated and a certain amount of form or ceremony becomes a part of the routine of the home. In order that this form and ceremony may be properly carried out, the full-time household employee becomes a definite part of this standard. About one third of the households (34.3 percent) enjoyed what has been called the well-to-do standard of living, in which they were able to indulge, to a moderate degree, in many of the luxuries as well as the comforts and necessaries enjoyed by people of higher incomes. In fact, practically all these families who employed full time household workers belonged to a specially privileged class because of the incomes they received. Size of home Since one of the things that income makes possible is a larger and more expensive home, it is interesting to know something of the size of the homes in which the employing group lived, particularly as size is so important a factor in determining the amount of work to be done in the home. It is also interesting to know whether the homes are separate houses or apartments, since this too affects the amount of work to be done. The schedules show that the homes ranged in size from one with 4 rooms and 1 bath to one with 28 rooms and 12 baths. As the number of baths for a house of a given size varied from 1 to 4, it seems desirable to include them in the total number of rooms repre senting the size of the house. On this basis the range in size was from 5 to 40 rooms. Of the 233 employers giving information regarding the size of the home, more than seven tenths lived in homes having 10 or more rooms. Five percent lived in homes having 20 or more rooms. Table 2.—Size of home Employers reporting Number of rooms 1 Number Total ................. ......................... 10 to 19....... ...................... ...................... 20 and over________ _________ Percent 233 100.0 65 156 12 27.9 67.0 5.2 i Includes bathrooms, as the number varied from 1 to 4 for a house of a given size. From table 3 it is clear that seven tenths of the families living in homes of from 10 to 19 rooms had incomes of more than $10,000, and all but one of those in homes with 20 rooms and over were in this income group. Almost two thirds lived in houses rather than apartments. The question then arises: Is the large home necessary because of the size of the family or is it an expression of the standard of living that the family desires to maintain? 11 CHARACTER OF THE EMPLOYING GROUP Size of family The number of persons that make up a household is perhaps even more important than the mere size of the home in determining the amount of work to he done. The smallest groups were households of 1 person and the largest were households of 8. Four-person households were the most numer ous, and the average for the entire group was 3.8 persons. About seven tenths of the families of the employers who answered this question had 3, 4, or 5 members; less than one fifth had 1 or 2 members, and only one tenth had 6 to 8. Seventeen of the largest families were in the highest income group. In examining the relation between size of family and size of home, it is apparent that of the 23 families having 6 to 8 members none lived in the largest homes—those having 20 or more rooms—and only 2 lived in homes having less than 10 rooms; about half lived in 8-room to 12-room homes, and half in homes having from 13 to 19 rooms. The 12 largest homes housed families of from 1 to 5 members, 9 of them housing families of 3 or less. A family of 5 was housed in the 4-room and 1-bath home, and a family of 2 lived in the home with 28 rooms and 12 baths. Table 3.—Size of home, size of family, and age of children, of employers reporting income Number of employers Yearly Income Total report ing in come Total $5,000 to $10,000...........Over $10,000................... Size of home Size of family 1 Less Less 20 than 10 to rooms than 3 3 to 5 19 per and 10 per rooms rooms over sons sons 233 65 156 8 80 145 5 38 22 3 41 112 12 43 167 1 11 1 12 30 7 62 98 Children No Both chil All 6 to 8 under All 8 under dren to 15 8 and under per 8 sons years years 8 to 15 16 years years 23 44 59 33 97 6 17 1 24 19 3 17 39 1 8 24 31 63 1 Unrelated to income, the size of the family was as follows: One person, 6; two, 38; three, 56; four, 67; five, 46; six, 18; and seven or eight, 5, a total of 236. Employees not included. Though the size of the family is, no doubt, a contributing factor, it is apparent that many other things influence the size of the home in which the group lives. A family of 2 or 3 persons would hardly choose a home having 20 rooms or more merely to secure adequate housing. The desire to maintain a given standard of living, or the desire for prestige which they believe a large home brings, or even a desire for display, or “conspicuous consumption”, as Veblen called it, undoubtedly influences their choice. Number and age of children The presence of very young children or of several children of differ ent ages in a household tends to complicate the problems of the homemaker and adds to the amount and kind of work to be done. 12 HOUSEHOLD EMPLOYMENT IN CHICAGO Table 4 shows that about two fifths of the 233 households for which information regarding number of children was secured had no such complicating problems, since they had no members under 16 years of age. In about one fifth of the households there probably were few problems due to the presence of children, since there was only one child under 16. In more than one third of the households such problems might be at a maximum, as these contained two or more children. About one third of the households would have the problems con nected with young children, as they had children under 8 years of age. Fourteen percent would have the problems of several children of varying ages, as they had children under 8 and from 8 to 15 years. One fourth of the households would have fewer problems due to age than the other two groups, as in these all the children were from 8 to 15. Table 4.—Number and age of children in homes having full-time household employees [233 employers reporting] Number and age of children Households having chil dren of specified num ber and age Number Percent Total-............................................................................. .......................... ................... 1 233 100.0 ............................................... .............. .......................................................... . 51 18 33 85 26 26 33 97 21.9 7.7 14.2 36.5 11.2 11.2 14.2 41.6 Number of invalids and aged In only a very small proportion of the households were there either invalids or aged persons. In 3 there were chronic invalids, 1 of whom was away from home most of the time, and in 7 there were aged persons, 1 in each of 6 households and 2 in the seventh. So few households of this group had the special problems that the presence of invalids or aged in the home entail as to make them practically negligible. Housekeeping experience of the employer More than one half of the employers reporting housekeeping experience and income had kept house for 20 years or more, well below one half had kept house for 5 to 19 years, and only 6 women had kept house for less than 5 years. These results might be due to greater interest in the problem of household employment on the part of the older woman. They probably indicate, however, that a number of years of housekeeping experience had been gained during the period required for the professional man, entrepreneur, official, or executive to reach the point where the income was sufficient to permit the employment of a full-time household worker. The relation between the income and the number of years of house keeping experience of the employer would tend to substantiate the 13 CHARACTER OF THE EMPLOYING GROUP latter view. A larger proportion of the employers with incomes of over $10,000 than of employers with smaller incomes had had as much as 20 years of housekeeping experience. Table 5.—Housekeeping experience of employers, by income Total reporting Yearly income Employers in each income group having housekeeping experience of— Less than 5 years Num ber 5 to 19 years 20 years and over Percent Number Percent Number Percent Number Percent Total ................................. 226 Less than $5,000...... .................. $5,000 to $10,000........................ Over $10,000________ _______ 8 80 138 100.0 100.0 100.0 6 5 1 2.7 6.3 .7 100 44.2 120 53.1 35 CO (i) 43.8 43.5 40 77 50.0 55.8 1 Percent not computed; base less than 50. Another characteristic, then, of the employing group is that the majority had had considerable experience in housekeeping, probably gained during the time necessary for the husband to gain the experi ence and efficiency requisite to command an income sufficient to permit of paid assistance in the home. Summary The employing group was comprised largely of families in which the husbands were chiefly professional men, officials, executives, and entrepreneurs whose incomes were sufficient to permit well-to-do and liberal standards of living. The great majority (72.1-percent) lived in homes having 10 or more rooms and about 5 percent lived in homes having 20 or more rooms. The households in this group were for the most part not those of young married people but of families that had been established for 5 years or much longer, as in so large a proportion (97 percent) the wives had had at least 5 years of household experience and more than one half had had 20 or more years of such experience. The fact that in 40 percent of the families there were children from 8 to 15 years old and in about 40 percent there were no children under 16 also indicates that the majority of the households were not newly established. These households were not what might be termed large, as seven tenths had only four members or less; nor had a very large percentage of them the problem of very young children or of many children, as almost two thirds of the families had either no children under 16 or only one such child. So small a proportion as to be almost negligible had chronic invalids or aged persons requiring special care. In general, the households of the employing group were compara tively small, with few special problems due to the presence of very young children, many children, invalids, or aged. They had been established some time, were housed in comparatively large homes, and had sufficient income to maintain a well-to-do or liberal standard of living. 14 HOUSEHOLD EMPLOYMENT IN CHICAGO THE NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES PER FAMILY With this picture of the employing group in mind, the next questions are: “How many workers do they employ?” and, “What is the rela tionship between the number of workers and the size of the house, the size and composition of the family, and the amount of the income?” The 230 householders who reported income and number of full-time and part-time employees had a total of 618 workers. Of these, 356 (57.6 percent) were full-time workers and 262 (42.4 percent) were regularly employed part-time workers. The average number of full time workers per household was 1.5, of part-time workers 1.1, and of full-time and part-time 2.7. Table 6.—Total number and average number of household workers employed by families in each income group Number of employees 1 Income group Total employ ers re Full porttime tag only Full time and part time Full time Part time Total Full time Average per employer Full time and part time Full time Part time Full time and part time Total-............................ 230 80 276 262 356 618 1.6 1.1 2.7 Less then $5,000 ................ $5,000 to $10,000_____ ____ Over $10,000_______ _______ 8 78 144 7 23 50 1 62 213 1 76 185 8 85 263 9 161 448 1.0 1.1 1.8 0.1 1.0 1.3 1.1 2.1 3.1 i Both men and women. FACTORS DETERMINING THE NUMBER OF WORKERS Income An analysis of table 6 shows that income is a very important factor in determining the number of household workers employed. As the income increases from less than $5,000 a year to over $10,000, the average number of full-time workers increases from 1 to 1.8; the aver age number of part-time 6 workers increases from 0.1 to 1.3; and the average number of total workers increases from 1.1 to 3.1. It is only when the income is $5,000 or over that the group averages one full-time employee regularly supplemented by one or more part time workers. It is only when the income is over $10,000 that it averages two or more full-time workers. The findings of the present study show that the proportion of households employing only one full-time worker decreases greatly as the income increases. Seven of the 8 employers with incomes of less than $5,000 had only one full-time worker, as compared with not quite three tenths of those with incomes of $5,000 to $10,000 and exactly one ninth of those with incomes of over $10,000. The percentage of households employing two or more workers, either full time only or both full time and part time, increases greatly as the income increases. Only 1 of the 8 with incomes of less than $5,000 had 2 employees, while 8 Those workers who come in for a few hours at a time to supplement the work of the regularly employed full-time workers. 15 CHARACTER OF THE EMPLOYING GROUP about nine tenths of those with incomes of over $10,000 had at least 2. In the income group over $10,000, more than twice as many employers (90) had 3 or more workers as had 2 workers (38). Table 7.—Number of employers having full-time workers only and both full-time and part-time workers, by income Number of employers having— Income group Full-time workers only Full-time and part-time workers Total 1 3 and over 2 Total.________ ______________ 230 46 Less than $5,000. ... .................................... $5,000 to $10.000.._____ _______ Over $10,000___________ 8 78 144 7 23 16 4 2 4 and over 3 8 59 46 8 4 67 1 32 34 18 41 6 41 Size of the family Just over seven tenths of the families for which data regarding size were available had from 3 to 5 members. Slightly under one fifth had less than 3 and one tenth had 6 or more, the largest having 8. The families with less than 3 members had an average of 3 em ployees, both full time and part time, which was somewhat higher than for the larger families. The average number of full-time em ployees also was slightly higher for families of less than 3 members than for either of the other groups. Families of 6 to 8 averaged slightly more part-time help than did the others. It would seem that the size of the family was of little consequence in determining the number of household workers employed. Table 3 (page 11) shows that there are no large families—that is, families of six or more—in the lowest income group, while 8 percent of the families with an income of $5,000 to $10,000, and 12 percent of those in the highest income group, are of this size. The larger the family the larger the expenditure necessary to provide those things considered essential to maintain a given standard of living. It is apparent, therefore, that the effect of a large family is that it tends to delay the employment of the paid worker until the income has increased sufficiently to more than cover expenditures for these essentials. Table 8.—Number of employees per family, by size of family Number of employees 1 Size of employer’s family Families reporting Full time Number Percent Total Full time and part time Part time Average Total Average Total Average Total............................... 233 100.0 360 1.5 266 1.1 626 2.7 Less than 3_______ ____ ____ 3 to 5________ ______ _______ 6 to 8 44 166 23 18.9 71.2 9.9 79 243 38 1.8 1.5 1.7 53 184 29 1.2 1.1 1.3 132 427 67 3. 0 2.6 2.9 > Both men and women. 16 HOUSEHOLD EMPLOYMENT IN CHICAGO Number and age of the children Of the 233 households reported, 51 had 1 child under 16 years, 85 had 2 or more, and 97 had none. The families with no children under 16 averaged 2.9 employees per family, slightly the highest of all groups. Families having two or more children had an average of 2.8 employees regardless of whether the children were all under 8, all 8 to 15, or some one and some the other. Families having only one child had an average of 2.2 employees. The families with no children under 16 averaged 1.7 full-time work ers, which was the highest in this class, but those with two or more children of 8 to 15 also averaged 1.7. Those whose 2 or more children were under 8 and 8 to 15 had slightly less full-time assistance, an average of 1.6 workers. Households with 2 or more children, all under 8, had still less full-time assistance (1.4 workers), though presumably there would be greater need for help in these homes than in those where none of the children were less than 8. Households in which there was only one child averaged the least full-time assist ance, 1.3 workers. Table 9.—Number of employees per family, by number and age of children in the household Number of employees 1 Number and age of children Total house holds reporting Full time Total Total...................................................... All under 8 years: One____-................................................... Two and over............................................. All 8 to 15 years: One---------- ------------------ ---------------Two and over--------------- --------------Both under 8 and 8 to 15 years: Two and over------------------ --------------No children under 16-------- ---------------- Average Part time Full time and part time Total Average 233 360 1.5 266 626 2.7 18 26 23 36 1.3 1.4 17 36 40 72 2.2 2.8 33 26 43 44 1.3 1.7 29 28 72 72 2.2 2.8 33 97 53 161 1.6 1.7 40 116 93 277 2.8 2.9 i Both men and women. Since families with no children had more household assistance than had those with children, it is evident that the number of children is not the primary factor in determining the amount of paid assistance. However, since households in which there were two or more children had not only more total employees, both full time and part time, but more full-time employees than had households with only one child, it would seem that the number of children is a contributing factor in determining the amount of household assistance to be employed. Thus the relation between the age of the children in a household and the number of full-time workers employed is practically the opposite of what would be expected from the standpoint of the rela tive amount of work involved in the care of young children and of older children. Households in which there were two or more chil dren from 8 to 15 had more full-time assistance than households in which there were two or more under 8 and also more than house holds in which the two or more were under 8 and from 8 to 15, though where the children are younger there might be expected a need for more help rather than less. However, since these households are 17 CHARACTER OF THE EMPLOYING GROUP largely those of professional men, executives, officials, and entre preneurs whose incomes increase with experience, it is probable that not until the children are 8 years old or more has the income increased sufficiently to permit employing full-time workers. The results shown in table 3 tend to support this conclusion. Those families with in comes of $5,000 to $10,000 have a higher proportion of children under 8 and a lower proportion of children from 8 to 15 than those with incomes of over $10,000. This fact, together with the fact that there is more full-time household service in the families whose chil dren are 8 years and over, tends to strengthen the conclusion that income is a tremendously important factor in determining the num ber of paid workers employed. Size of the home Of the 230 houses and apartments for which there were data re garding number of rooms and number of full-time and part-time em ployees, 68 percent had from 10 to 19 rooms, 27 percent had less than 10 rooms, and 5 percent had 20 rooms or more. Table 10.—Number of employees per family, by size of home Number of employees i Number of rooms 1 Total homes reported Full time Total Total____________ ____ Less than 10. _ ____ _______ 10 to 19 20 and over._____ ___________ Full time and part time Part time Average Total Average Total Average 230 355 1.6 264 l.l 619 2.7 62 156 12 66 244 45 1.1 1.6 3.8 46 192 26 .7 1.2 2.2 112 436 71 6.9 ‘ Includes bathrooms, as the number varied from 1 to 4 for a home of a given size. * Both men and women. The size of the home is a tremendously important factor as far as the amount of work involved in its care is concerned. Each extra room adds to the amount of work to be done and to the time necessary for doing it, so that it is reasonable to find more household assistance in a very large home than in a comparatively small one. The data collected in Chicago show this to be the condition. The homes hav ing 20 or more rooms had an average of 5.9 workers, both full time and part time, which was 4.1 more workers than the average num ber employed in homes having less than 10 rooms and 3.1 more workers than the average number employed in homes of from 10 to 19 rooms. However, other things being equal, the larger the home the larger the income necessary to secure it as well as to maintain it. Table 3 (page 11) shows that there is a direct relationship between the size of the income and the size of the home. In the lowest income group, 5 of the 8 households reporting had homes with less than 10 rooms and none had homes with 20 rooms and over. In the next income group, slightly more than half (41 out of 80) had homes with from 10 to 19 rooms and one family had a home with 20 or more rooms. In the highest income group over three fourths had homes of from 10 to 19 rooms and about 8 percent had homes of at least 20 rooms. 18 HOUSEHOLD EMPLOYMENT IN CHICAGO Since the size of the home has a tendency to increase as the income increases and since the number of household workers increases as the home increases in size, it is evident that income is the controlling factor in determining both the size of the home in which the family lives and the number of workers employed to carry on the routine housework involved. Conclusions The general conclusions that may be stated regarding the impor tance of the foregoing factors in determining the number of workers employed in a given household are as follows: 1. The size of the income is the all-important factor. 2. The size of the home is of secondary importance, since it is dependent upon the income. 3. The size of the family and the number and age of the chil dren in the family, all of which are important in determining the amount of work necessary in a given household, are of little im portance in determining the number of household workers em ployed; rather, they are factors that prevent many from having the surplus necessary to employ paid workers. THE TYPES OF WORK FOR WHICH ASSISTANCE IS EMPLOYED The next interest is in knowing what workers these employers engage, whether they prefer workers of a certain age and race, and whether they have more need for assistance in some kinds of house work than in others and at certain times of the day than at others. For the person who is planning to do housework and for those who are planning courses for the training of household workers, it is im portant to know the kinds of work for which assistance is employed and the relative need of the employer for assistance in the different branches of housework. FULL-TIME WOMEN WORKERS Of the 326 full-time women workers employed in these househol ds well over one half (54 percent) were general workers, 18 percent were cooks, and 12 percent were second girls; 5 percent were children’s nurses, 5 percent were chambermaids, and 6 percent were engaged in eight other kinds of work. Table 11.—Distribution of full-time women workers according to branch of household employment Employees Branch of employment Number Total.............. ........... Chambermaid____ _____ __________ Percent 326 100.0 177 58 40 16 16 4 3 4 2 2 2 1 1 54. 3 12. 3 4.9 4.9 1. 2 1.2 .6 .3 .3 CHARACTER OP THE EMPLOYING GROUP 19 A comparison of these results with those of three earlier studies shows that, though more than half of the employees in each study were general workers, with cooks and second girls next in importance, there appears a greater tendency toward the employment of workers for special branches of household work in Chicago at the present time than in the studies in other localities at earlier times. An analysis of the 237 employers’ schedules from which data on this point were available shows that the greatest need of employers was for the general worker. Three fourths of the employers had such a worker. The next greatest need was for cooks and second girls, but the need was much less, for only 25 percent of the house holds employed cooks and only 17 percent had second girls. The need for children’s nurses and chambermaids was next, but only 16 households (6.8 percent) had such employees. The proportion of households having such specialized full-time assistance as that of “ladies’ maid”, “kitchenmaid”, “parlormaid”, and so on, was very slight. COMPARATIVE NEEDS OF THE EMPLOYER FOR ASSISTANCE IN THE VARIOUS BRANCHES OF HOUSEWORK If the occupations of household employment are to be improved through the training of the employee, as is repeatedly suggested, it is important to know the specific kinds of assistance of which the employer has the greatest need, in order that these branches may be given sufficient emphasis in the training course. It is also important to know the degree of responsibility that the employee must assume, so that training for this may be included if necessary. The tasks ordinarily performed by the paid worker may be divided into five main groups: . . 1. Those centering around meals: cooking, serving, washing dishes. 2. Those centering around the care of the home: daily care, weekly c £ti*e. 3. Those having to do with the care of household textiles and clothing: washing, ironing, mending. 4. Those having to do with the care of children; daily care, occasional care during afternoon or evening. 5. Miscellaneous: answering the telephone and doorbell, receiving packages, and so on. Food preparation, serving, washing dishes Of the 243 employers who checked their relative need of assistance in the various branches of housework, 203 (84 percent) had a maxi mum need, or one as great as any, of assistance in the preparation of food, only 6 having no need of this. A larger number of employers felt the need of having this part of their work done for them than felt the need of assistance in any other work of the home, and except for the daily care of the home and the washing of the dishes fewer em ployers felt no need of it. 20 Table HOUSEHOLD EMPLOYMENT IN CHICAGO 12.—Branch of housework in which the employer had the greatest and the least need of assistance [Based on reports of 243 employers] Number of employers having— Maximum need or as much as in any other branch Minimum need or as little as in any other branch 203 194 190 189 184 182 172 68 36 31 26 17 Branch of housework 10 7 9 8 7 4 22 67 12 13 30 44 No need 6 5 6 15 37 48 9 94 173 183 156 165 Washing dishes ranked third from the standpoint of maximum need on the part of employers, and serving ranked seventh. In many families in which there is only one full-time worker, the members of the family take the responsibility for serving, but table 14 shows that in 231 cases the employee had the major responsibility. The paid employee had practically the entire responsibility for dish washing. In only 3 out of 241 households had she little or no responsi bility for it, and in 2 of these 3 the employee was a practical nurse. The major responsibility for the preparation of meals was not so completely given over to the employee, though it was hers in 215 out of 241 households. In seven households the responsibility was shared by employer and employee. Daily and weekly care of the home The daily care of the home was second from the standpoint of maximum need, 194 out of 243 employers having such need of it and only 5 having no need of it. Weekly cleaning was fourth from the standpoint of maximum need, though 15 employers felt no need of help in this. Since a number of the households reporting no need of assistance in weekly cleaning had two or more employees, this lack of need may be explained by the fact that the daily care of the house was so thorough as to make special weekly cleaning unnecessary. The major responsibility for the weekly cleaning was given over almost entirely to the employee, just as was dishwashing. In only 2 out of 240 households did the employer assume it, and in 1 it was shared by the employer and employee. Members of the family assumed the major responsibility for the daily care of the house much more frequently than they did for the weekly cleaning, particularly for the daily care of the bedrooms; of 239 employers, 76 assumed the major responsibility for bedrooms. However, a much smaller number, only 15, assumed the responsibility for the daily care of the living rooms. 21 CHARACTER OF THE EMPLOYING GROUP Washing, ironing, mending From the standpoint of maximum need to the employer, washing and ironing ranked sixth and fifth, respectively. In 50 of the households reporting, all the laundry work was done by a full-time employee. In only four of these cases was such full time employee a laundress. In 84 households (37.3 percent) the full-time employees had no responsibility for the laundry work, but in many other households these employees were expected to do part or all of the ironing. In 59 of the households they did special launder ing, such as the finer table linens, laces, the colored and finer clothes of the children, silk underwear, and hose. In 29 they did part of the ironing, and in 12 all the ironing. Table 13.—Responsibility of full-time women employees for laundry work Amount of laundry work Households in which full-time employee was responsible for specified amounts Number Percent 225 All________________ ____ _________________________________________ 84 50 25 Special laundering and all of ironing............................................ ............ ........................ Special laundering and part of ironing___________ _________ _______ ____ 5 4 2.2 1.8 1 4 of these were full-time laundresses. Of these 225 households, 135 employed part-time workers for the laundry work; in 130 cases such workers did both washing and ironing, or most of the ironing, and in 5 they did washing only. In 40 house holds the laundry was sent out; in 7 of these only the washing was done outside. The character and amount of work demanded of the household employee is the cause of much dissatisfaction on the part of the worker. About one eighth of the 218 employees answering the question regarding changes desired in the occupation to make it more desirable wanted to “take out the laundry work.” They felt that the amount of work necessary to be done during the week was suffi cient without the additional burden of the laundry work. The Negro workers stated in a number of cases that they did not mind doing the washing if they had not so many other things to do at the same time. As a rule, the employer assumed the major responsibility for the mending. This was the case in 185 (78 percent) of the 237 house holds reporting. Only 7 percent had maximum need of assistance with the mending, while 93 percent had either no need of assistance or as little need of it as in any other branch of the work. Only 3 percent of the part-time workers were employed for mending and sewing. 22 HOUSEHOLD EMPLOYMENT IN CHICAGO Care of children As more than two fifths of the employers had no children under 16 years of age, necessarily a very large proportion (80 percent) reported no need of daily care of children. Even in those families where there were children under 16, employers had greater need of someone to stay with the children occasionally during the afternoon than of their daily care. Only 3 percent of all part-time workers were employed for the care of children. Answering bell, receiving packages, and so forth Household employees have complained a great deal in the past, and they still continue to complain, that they are almost never free from duty; even during the afternoon when they presumably are resting and in the evening after their work is finished, they are expected to answer the doorbell and telephone and to be on hand to receive parcels. Either this demand is decreasing or it is an unconscious demand on the part of the employer, as only 68 of the employers answering this question had a maximum need of this service, or as great a need as in any other branch of household work, while 151 stated that they either had no need of it or as little need as in any other branch. Results of a study begun by the Young Women’s Christian Asso ciation in 1927 show that even when girls have what is called “free time ” only a few are entirely free. Of 94 girls who had time off in the afternoon, 66 were on call, only 28 being entirely free.7 From the employers’ statements of their need of this service of answering bells, and so forth, it is apparent that the majority con sidered it of little importance. However, judging from the experience of the girls themselves, the majority of employers expected it. Employee responsibility The full-time household employee assumed the major responsibility, in at least a part of the households, for all the tasks commonly con nected with providing for the physical comfort of the family. In the main, however, she had the major responsibility for those tasks involving more physical exertion than mental effort, for those that are the most menial and lowly. In comparatively few homes, accord ing to the reports of the employers, had she the major responsibility for those tasks requiring initiative, managerial ability, and a knowl edge of scientific principles. In only 7 homes had she the major responsibility for planning the meals and in only 11 for buying the food. A reason for this may be found in the statement of one employer who said, “Ordinarily I attend to planning meals and purchasing food; at present my cook is able and likes to do it.” Another said, “My cook is helpful in suggesting ways to use left-overs.” It would seem, then, that where there is ability and willingness on the part of the worker, the responsibility for planning meals and buying food is given over to the employee or shared with her. In only 22 households reporting on the subject had the employee the major responsibility for the efficient arrangement of the equip* Chicago Young Women’s Christian Association, Bulletin of News Notes, Apr. 1, 1929. 23 CHARACTER OF THE EMPLOYING GROUP merit with which she worked, in 24 for selecting working tools, and in 36 for determining the need of new working tools; however, she shared the responsibility with the employer in 18, 30, and 49 house holds, respectively. In regard to the last two, several employers indicated that they had encouraged the employee to take the respon sibility, but with little success, as the employee did not seem suf ficiently interested to do so. Table 14.—Number of households in which full-time women employees had major responsibility in selected household tasks [Data from employer schedules] Number of households in which em ployee had— House holds re porting Household tasks Weekly cleaning____ _____ _______ ____ Daily care of living rooms Preparing meals________ Daily care of bedrooms_____ ______________ ____ Mending_________________ ____ _____ _ . Determining need for working tools _ _ _ Selecting working tools.. _____ __________ ______ Arrangement of working equipment-......................... __ Purchasing food_________ ________________________ Planning meals________ ________ ... Little or no Respon responsi Major re sibility sponsi shared with bility (em ployer major bility employer responsi bility) 241 240 240 237 241 239 237 232 236 219 240 241 238 237 231 219 215 145 40 36 24 22 11 7 1 2 3 7 18 12 49 30 18 9 16 16 19 76 185 147 182 179 220 218 PART-TIME WORKERS The statements of employers regarding the number of part-time workers employed and the kind of work for which they engaged them show a much greater need of part-time help for laundry work and cleaning than for any other kind of work, as more than two thirds of the part-time workers employed were engaged to do these types of work. The next greatest demand for part-time service was on the part of those employers who lived hi individual houses and had need of some one to care for the yard and garden and of someone to do janitorial work. About 17 percent of the part-time employees were engaged for these kinds of work. Only a very small proportion of the employers engaged part-time workers for mending, as that was one of the duties for which they themselves took the responsibility. Since over two fifths of these employers had no children under 16, only a small percentage (about 4 percent) employed part-time workers solely for the care of children. The occasional employer engaged a butler, chauffeur, waitress, chambermaid, visiting housekeeper, or even a general worker for part-time service to supplement the work of the regular full-time employees, but the number doing so was very small. 24 HOUSEHOLD EMPLOYMENT IN CHICAGO Table 15.—Kinds of work for which 'part-time workers were employed [Reported by 234 employers] Kinds of part-time work Part-time workers em ployed for specified kinds of work 1 Number Total. Laundry.............................................. Cleaning.............................. ................ Cleaning and laundry----------------Chore boy, houseman, and janitor. Gardener, yardman...... .................... Care of children------------------- ----Mending and sewing_____ ______ General work...................................... Chauffeur................................. .......... Butler_______________ __________ Waitress............................................... Visiting housekeeper____________ Chambermaid__________________ Kind not Indicated............................ 264 116 45 19 25 19 9 8 3 3 2 1 1 1 12 Percent 100.0 68.2 16.7 3.4 3.0 4.2 4.5 1 Both men and women. EMPLOYERS’ NEED OF ASSISTANCE AT DIFFERENT TIME PERIODS DURING THE DAY One outstanding objection that workers have to employment in private homes is that the working day is so very long in comparison to that in other occupations and that the amount of leisure time is so uncertain and irregular. Information concerning the comparative need of the employer for assistance during different time periods of the day should serve as a basis for establishing a working day of reasonable length and for determining the free time during the day and evening that the employee can definitely count on for herself. An analysis of the schedules shows that on week days somewhat more employers needed the assistance of a household worker from 5 to 8 in the evening than at any other time of the day. Of 218 employers, 86 percent had maximum need for help at this time. This is not surprising, since it means the need of assistance in the preparation and serving of the evening meal, which for the majority of Chicago families probably is dinner, and the straightening up afterwards. Only slightly less need (84 percent) was felt for help during the hours from before 7 to 11, for the preparation of break fast and such work of the household as is usually carried on during the morning. The need of help during the midday hours from 11 to 2 o’clock ranked third, nearly half the employers having maximum need of assistance during this period. The majority of the households having maximum need of assistance from 2 to 5 in the afternoon were those in which there were children or in which there was need of service all day and more than one full-time worker was employed. However, about 50 percent had no need or had minimum need of workers at this time and 60 households had no such need at all. 25 CHARACTER OF THE EMPLOYING GROUP Almost two thirds of the households had no need of assistance before 7 o’clock in the morning during the week and less than three tenths had maximum need of assistance at this time. Almost three fifths of the households had no need of assistance after 8 o’clock in the evening and less than one tenth had maximum need of assistance at this time. Table 16.—Comparative need of employers for household assistance during given time periods, week days and Sundays Number of employers having— Time periods Maximum Minimum need need Week days (218 employers reporting): Before 7 a.m....................................... 7 to 11 a.m_______ ______ _______ 11 a.m. to 2 p.m_____________ 2 to 5 p.m_____________________ 5 to 8 p.m............................................ 8 to 11 p.m____________________ •Sunday (192 employers reporting): Before 8 a.m____________________ 8 to 11 a.m__________________ __ 11 a.m. to 2 p.m__......................... __ 2 to 5 p.m.................. ......................... 5 to 8 p.m_____________________ 8 to 11 p.m___________ ____ ____ All day_______ ____ ___ _____ _ No need 64 120 106 70 188 19 16 6 18 48 5 62 138 15 18 60 7 127 50 161 170 26 42 11 15 3 3 30 18 30 121 3 4 112 111 138 5 On Sunday many more employers had need of assistance from 8 in the morning to 2 in the afternoon than at any other time of the day, the need being slightly greater from 11 to 2 than from 8 to 11. Apparently fewer employers felt the need of help in getting breakfast Sunday morning than in getting and serving Sunday dinner. In only a little over one fourth of the homes was there need for the household employee to begin her work before 8 on Sunday morning, and in over three fifths of the homes there was no need of assistance at this time. In seven tenths of the homes there was no need of service after 8 in the evening. In fact, in the majority of the homes there was no need of Sunday service after 2 in the afternoon. In about 60 percent of the homes, then, the chief need of assistance was from 8 in the morning to 2 in the afternoon on Sundays, and in 50 percent of the homes the need was from 7 in the morning to 2 in the afternoon and from 5 to 8 in the evening on week days, making possible a 6-hour day on Sunday and a 10-hour week-day program for half the homes for which household workers were reported. If in so high a proportion of these Chicago households a 10-hour day was possible during the week, with 6 hours on Sunday, in each case including time for meals, it would seem that a reasonable work ing day could be planned by a much larger proportion of the serviceemploying group than at present if a time schedule were prepared and adhered to. In the households where this is not possible the solution would seem to lie in supplementing the services of the full time worker by part-time or additional full-time service, rather than of requiring of one employee a working day of unreasonable length. 1690°—33-----5 26 HOUSEHOLD EMPLOYMENT IN CHICAGO THE HOUSEHOLD WORKER PREFERRED BY CHICAGO EMPLOYERS Information in regard to those characteristics that the employer considers highly desirable in the household worker whom she employs should be of particular interest and value to the group of women and girls interested in household employment as a means of earning their livelihood and to the vocational advisors interested in helping young girls and women to choose the particular vocations for which they are best fitted. The schedules of the Chicago study furnish this information in regard to race and nativity, domicile status, and personality traits. Race and nativity The Chicago employer of household service appears to have a decided preference for the foreign-born white household employee. More than one third of the entire group in the present study expressed this specific preference and one tenth more expressed a preference for either native or foreign-born white. Apparently, when she has a choice between the two, the employer chooses the foreign-born, for more than two fifths had such full-time women employees and one half had at least one foreign-born woman worker in their employ, while less than one fourth had native-born white women employees. More than one sixth of the employers expressed a preference for Negro workers, while a small group (9) specified either foreign-born white or Negro. Apparently those having no choice employed Negro workers, for more than one third of the entire number reporting had one or more Negro women in their employ. Table 17.—Race and nativity preferred by employers Race and nativity * Employers preferring workers of specified race and nativity Number Total employers reporting....................................................................................... Percent 248 100.0 90 36.3 14.1 10.1 3.6 17.7 17.7 White: Either foreign-born white, or Negro............................................ .................................. 9 1 Table 18.—Number and percent of employers having full-time women workers of specified race and nativity in their employ Race and nativity Employers having workers of specified race and nativity Number Total employers reporting. Foreign-born white only__________________ Native-born white only___________________ Negro only............................................................ Native white and foreign-born white_______ Native white and Negro............... ................... . Foreign-born white and Negro_____________ Native white, foreign-born white, and Negro. Percent 247 100.0 106 38 81 16 3 3 42.9 15.4 32.8 1 6.1 1.2 1.2 .4 27 CHARACTER OF THE EMPLOYING GROUP Though only one employer specifically stated that her choice of race and nativity depended on the position to be filled, it seems evident that the 9 percent who employed women of more than one race or nativity were influenced by this in their choice of workers. In the three households where both native white and Negro workers were employed, the native-white employee was the nursemaid or practical nurse and the Negro the houseworker. Domicile status There has been much discussion on the part of those whose primary interest is the girl herself as to the advisability of the household em ployee living in the home of her employer, as it so frequently deprives her of the social life that is necessary to her normal development. The schedules show that employers, as a rule, prefer the resident employee. About three fourths of the total 250 answering this ques tion expressed this preference and carried it into practice, actually employing at least one resident worker. Many employers who had children expressed the need of having an adult in the house at night when the adult members of the family were out. Others required someone on the job all the time. Table 19.—Domicile status of full-time women employees compared with preference of employers [Reported by employers] Number of employers— Domicile status of employees Preferring specified domicile status Having em ployees with specified domicile status 250 Outside home of employer--------- --------- ------ ------ --------------------- ------------Both in and outside home of employer................................ .................................... Not indicated or no preference----------------- ------------------------ ------ --------- —- 250 189 42 2 17 185 50 4 11 About one sixth expressed a preference for the nonresident em ployee, but in actual practice slightly more than one fifth had at least one nonresident full-time worker. One employer expressed the belief that the worker who lives out is happier. Another preferred that her employee live out because she had “too much company”; a room with bath, however, was available for her use on stormy nights. A third employer would have much preferred a resident employee to stay at night with the children, but she had never had a room for a servant. . It is evident that those employers who preferred the resident employee were accustomed to expect her to be ready at all times to perform any duties requested. In fact, one employer said that the reason she did not employ a resident worker was because it took so much of her time “thinking up things to keep her busy.” This atti tude makes it apparent that even at the present time there are em ployers who feel that when they engage a household employee they 28 HOUSEHOLD EMPLOYMENT IN CHICAGO have engaged her entire time and that they have a responsibility in keeping that time completely filled. This group of employers appar ently feel little responsibility for the social life of the girl and her normal healthy development. The very fact that one employer said she preferred that her employee live out because she had too much company implied a reluctance on the part of the employer to permit the employee to carry on much social life in her home. If the status of household employment as an occupation is to be improved so that any but the most timid and backward will care to go into it, the employer of the resident worker must come to the realization that she must make ample provision for the social life of the employee, providing both a time and a place for it as well as for her working day. She must assume a double responsibility not held by the employer of nonresident workers. Personality traits desired in employees The Chicago employers were asked to express an opinion as to the relative importance to them of specified personality traits in house hold employees. There is always a question as to the value and reliability of the expression of an opinion unless there is some means of verification. The fact that many employers said they found it very difficult to check the traits according to their importance indi cates that at least an effort at accuracy was made. There was no means of verifying the statements, and the results are given as mere opinion. However, even an opinion should be of some value to the vocational advisor or placement bureau as a guide in determining the personality traits of the girls who are to fill positions as household employees, if employers are to have the type of girl they say they want. Of the 248 employers who indicated the relative importance to them of the personality traits listed, 87 percent desired “honesty” and over three fifths desired “dependableness” more than or as much as any other trait. Two fifths but less than one half desired “willing ness”, “good nature”, “kindness to children”, and the “ability to follow directions”, and somewhat fewer desired “orderliness”, “neat ness in appearance”, “loyalty”, and “courteousness.” Only 32 of the 248 employers considered “knowing her place” an important trait, and 176 desired it least or as little as any other trait. According to this statement of opinion the attitude that a household employee holds an inferior place in the household and that she must show an awareness of this was not so prevalent as it had been in the past. Fourteen of the 248 employers commented specially on this trait, the majority expressing a dislike of the phrase, which can be summarized by the comment of one employer, “I consider ‘knows her place' un-American.” A somewhat different reaction was expressed in the statements,“The case is most unusual where a girl is annoying through presumption” and “The obsequious person who ‘knows her place’ I do not care for; she will whine.” The old attitude, however, crept out in the statement of the employer who said, “If a mistress is sure of her position, she will have no trouble. Only the unsure mistress fears her maids will not know their place.” CHARACTER OF THE EMPLOYING GROUP 29 Table 20.—Traits desired most, desired least, and those seldom found in employees by employer [Based on reports of 248 employers] Number of employers who— Traits Honesty_________ _________ Dependableness____________ _______ Willingness.......................................... ...................... Good nature . _. ____________ Kindness to children___ ____ _______ _ ........... Ability to follow directions................... ___.................. Orderliness_________ _____ Neatness in appearance___ __________________ ________________ Loyalty___ ______________ _________________ Courteousness........................................................................ Initiative______ _____ ______ ______ ____ Knows her place____ _________________ Desire most or as much as any other trait Desire least or as little as any other trait 215 154 116 113 109 104 96 81 69 69 53 32 2 13 28 37 91 36 33 48 76 64 98 176 Seldom find 9 34 6 12 101 14 Only about one fifth of the employers considered “initiative” a desirable trait in an employee. One employer went so far as to say that it was “potentially dangerous”, and many probably considered it so, since they desired an employee who would do what she was told to do. Yet this same employee is expected to meet emergencies when they arise. The employer seems to have little realization of the fact that the person who is willing and expected always to do just what she is told to do soon loses confidence in her own judgment, hesitates to take even the slightest responsibility, and so needs special help when emergencies arise. It may be said in passing that if the em ployers had been gainfully occupied outside the home, their replies regarding initiative would have been very different. The fact that two fifths of the employers seldom found initiative in their workers is particularly significant of the type of girl who enters household employment as an occupation. It implies that she is timid, slow, and unprogressive. Since so few employers considered initiative of primary importance, it also implies that a large number of girls in household employment must meet the employers’ require ment in this respect. The ability to follow directions was considered of primary impor tance by two fifths of the employers reporting. The fact that almost one seventh seldom found it in employees would seem to indicate that though the employee may lack initiative, which would meet the desire of many employers, she may also lack the ability to follow directions, which the employer felt the need of in lieu of initiative, and so be particularly unsatisfactory. Summary These preferences of the employer may be summed up as follows: 1. The foreign-born white worker was preferred by the largest single group (36 percent) of employers. The Negro ranked sec ond in preference and the native-born white third. 2. The resident employee was preferred by three fourths of the employers. 30 HOUSEHOLD EMPLOYMENT IN CHICAGO In the opinion of the employer, “honesty” and “dependableness” were of the greatest importance and “initiative” and “knowing her place” were of comparatively little importance. SUMMARY The demand for full-time household employees in Chicago is largely confined to the group of households having an income of $5,000 or more a year. The majority of employers reporting preferred the resi dent worker of foreign birth. They employed an average of 1.5 full time workers and 1.1 part-time workers. In three fourths of the households there was only one full-time worker, the general worker, and in a third of these households she was not assisted by any part time employees. The total number of household workers employed increased as the income increased. The size and composition of the family had little influence in determining the number employed, but a large house and a large staff of workers seemed to go together. In general, employers felt a greater need for assistance with the preparation of food, washing dishes, and the daily and weekly care of ■ the house than with any other part of the housework. The employee had the major responsibility, however, only in those tasks that might truly be termed household drudgery, such as the washing of dishes and the weekly cleaning. So large a proportion of employers had no need on week days of assistance before 7 in the morning, for a 2-hour or 3-hour period in the afternoon, and after 8 in the evening, and on Sundays before 8 in the morning and after 2 in the afternoon, that it should be possible to plan a working day of more reasonable length than ordinarily obtains. This is a matter of the highest importance, and it should receive much more attention than it now receives from socially-minded employers and groups of employers. Part II. CHARACTER OF THE EMPLOYEE GROUP Census reports and in many cases employment bureau figures are unsatisfactory as a source of specific data concerning the worker in private households. It is necessary, therefore, to depend for infor mation on special studies of the occupation. The study of household employment carried on in Chicago contributes to this. Information secured from employees concerns the proportion engaged in each branch of household work, their age, race and nativity, marital status, education and training, wages received, and their reaction to their work. OCCUPATION Information concerning the specific kind of work in which they were engaged was secured for 576 women who were full-time household employees. Two thirds of these workers were engaged in general housework, more than one eighth were cooks, and less than one tenth were second girls. The remaining 12 percent were nursemaids, chambermaids, governesses, practical nurses, and from 1 to 4 each of several other occupations. Other studies also have shown that a large proportion of household employees are general workers, and records of the Chicago Urban League for 1928 and 1929 show that of 1,296 requests for household employees, 1,164, or 89.8 percent, were for general houseworkers, as contrasted with 43 requests for cooks, 61 for second maids, and 18 for nursemaids. Table 21.—Full-time women workers in each specified branch of household employment, by race and nativity [Data from both employers and employees] Race and nativity Employees Branch of employment Total...................................................... General houseworker_____ ______ _ Second girl.......................... ............................... Percent Number distribu tion Native white Foreignborn white Not reported Negro 676 100.0 161 240 172 3 382 76 60 26 16 6 5 4 3 2 2 2 1 1 66.3 13.2 8.7 4.5 2.8 1.0 .9 .7 .6 .3 .3 .3 .2 .2 110 13 13 12 5 2 2 1 128 44 29 13 11 4 3 2 3 1 142 19 7 1 2 1 1 1 2 2 1 1 The work of the general servant undoubtedly is more strenuous than that of the specialist. She is called on to do almost everything, while the cook usually is not expected to do anything outside the 31 32 HOUSEHOLD EMPLOYMENT IN CHICAGO kitchen. As a rule, the general worker is expected to be a specialist in all lines and to have equal skill in each branch of household work, so it is only natural for the general servant who excels in cooking to desire a position.as cook. Furthermore, the results of various studies show that, in spite of the fact that the general worker is expected to be a specialist in all lines of household work, her wage is lower than that of the cook, which is another reason why she should desire a position as cook in preference to one as general worker. Perhaps the simplification of the task of the general worker began with the employment of the part-time worker and has advanced with the growth of this service, as for the most part it is for washing win dows, laundry work, and extra and heavy cleaning that the part-time worker of today is engaged. A small proportion of present-day general workers have had their work thus simplified and do neither laundry work nor weekly cleaning. However, a glance at the list of things general workers are asked to do that they consider no part of their job gives a very good picture of the variety of tasks expected and the need of simplification. Besides washing windows on the outside and laundry work, neither of which they consider part of their job, they are asked to do the following tasks: Care for plants Care for children Take children to school Make child eat Care for furnace Care for fuel oil Shovel walks Clean up yard Clean basement Clean house Wash walls and ceiling Take down screens Clean woolen garments in naphtha Mend and sew Press dresses Manicure nails and perform other personal services Make appointments for employer Carry luggage Make candy Serve at parties Go on errands Varnish furniture Wash auto Bathe and care for dogs and cats Cook for dogs and cats Wash out silk dresses and underwear One employee summed up the situation when she said, “I am asked to do anything and everything.” The wonder is not that there is a limited number of general workers from which to choose but that there are any women and girls at all willing to do general work. RACE AND NATIVITY Of 573 full-time women workers whose race and nativity were reported in the present study, more than two fifths were foreign-born white, three tenths were Negro, and slightly less than three tenths were native white. Table 22.—Full-time women household employees, by race and nativity [Data from employers and employees] Employees Race and nativity Number Percent distribution Total.............................................. 573 100.0 Native white......................................... Foreign-born white....... ...................__ Negro_________ _____ _______ _____ 161 240 172 28.1 41.9 30.0 33 CHARACTER OF THE EMPLOYEE GROUP The change in the number in each race and nativity group in Chi cago, as shown by census data for the 10-year periods 1910 to 1920 and 1920 to 1930, for those branches of domestic and personal service in which most household employees are included, is shown in table 23. The number of Negro workers in private and public households increased by 300 percent during the 20 years, advancing from third place in 1910 and 1920 to first in 1930. They made up 12 percent of the entire group in 1910, 23 percent in 1920, and 37 percent in 1930. Foreign-born whites, on the other hand, decreased by almost one third between 1910 and 1920 and had an 11 percent increase in the next decade, a net decline in 20 years of 25 percent. In 1930 they made up only 34' percent of the total, as compared with 47 percent in 1920 and 59 percent in 1910. The native whites,though they increased in actual number in the 20 years, did not quite maintain their pro portion of the total. Table 23.—Number of native-born white, foreign-born white, and Negro women in certain selected occupations, Chicago, censuses of 1910, 1920, and 1930 1 1910 1920 1930 Occupation ForeignForeignNative Foreign- Negro Native born Negro Native born Negro born white white white white white white Total...------- ---------------- 18,323 274 Housekeepers and stewardesses. 3,614 Laundresses (not in laundry)... 381 2,156 11, 898 22,178 23,985 12,772 19,931 9,695 14, 301 29,528 6,001 151 2, 575 922 2,161 6,963 1,006 2,090 2, 858 1,012 12, 965 123 315 2,853 154 6, 250 200 1,680 1,209 1,901 9,311 854 1,721 3, 794 1,529 21, 630 98 191 2,115 85 3,512 1,470 447 669 2, 286 897 1,629 194 840 16, 686 21,146 1 U.S. Bureau of the Census. Population, Occupations: 1910, vol. IV, p. 647; 1920, vol. IV, p. 1080; Occupation Statistics, 1930, Illinois, p. 34. * Includes midwives in 1910. Considering merely the group “servants”, there are found for the 20 years an increase of 502 percent in the number of Negroes, a decrease of 23 percent in foreign-born white, and an increase of 28 percent in native white. The employers in the present study seemed to prefer the foreignborn household employee. More than a third of the 248 employers reporting on this point expressed a specific preference for them. More than two fifths had only foreign-born workers, and just over one half had at least one foreign-born worker in their employ. It is in this nativity group, however, that the great decrease occurred from 1910 to 1930; and if the same rate of decrease continues, un doubtedly the supply will be inadequate to meet the demand in a comparatively short time. Well over one third of Chicago’s em ployers either have no preference or prefer Negro workers. Judging by "the tremendous rate of increase in the past 20 years, the supply of Negro servants probably will be sufficient for some time to come for those who have a preference for their services or have no race preference, unless there should be a decided change in the trend of their employment. AGE Of 552 full-time women household employees in the present study whose age was reported, over one-half were 25 to 44 years, over three tenths were under 25 years, and almost one sixth were 45 years over. 34 HOUSEHOLD EMPLOYMENT IN CHICAGO Table 24.—Number and ■proportion of full-time women household employees in each age group [Data from employers and employees] Employees Age group Number Percent dis tribution Total with age reported_____ 552 100.0 Under 18 years..................... ........... 18 to 24 years....................................... 25 to 44 years____________ _____ 45 years and over............. ............ 43 130 7.8 23.6 52.7 15.9 291 88 The age distribution of the general workers was wider than that of any other group. Of the 369 with age reported, almost one half were 25 to 44 years, over one fourth were 18 to 24, about one ninth were under 18, and about one seventh were 45 or over. All but one of the entire group of workers under 18 were general houseworkers. As a group the cooks were older than the general servants. Only three of the 71 were under 25, while nearly seven tenths were 25 to 44 and over one fourth were 45 or more. The 47 second girls were younger than the cooks but not so young as general workers. Twenty-eight were 25 to 44 years, with 11 younger and 8 older. The 26 children’s nurses, as a group, were younger than other household employees. One half were 18 to 24. Only 2 were as much as 45. Of the 15 chambermaids, none was either under 18 or as much as 45. Two tlurds were 25 to 44. Comparison with other studies is difficult because various age groupings have been used, but as a general conclusion it may be said that, taken as a whole, the present group of household employees is made up of older women than the corresponding group about 40 years ago. This difference would be even more marked if only the employees reported on by employers were considered, for about four fifths were 25 years or over, one fifth 45 or more. Table 25.—Full-time women workers in each specified branch of household employ ment, by age group [Data from employers and employees] Total employees Branch of employment Total—_________ _____________ General houseworker Second girl______ _______ ____ ______ Cleaning and heavy work....... .............. . Second girl and child’s nurse................... Parlormaid................................................. Age group Percent Under 18 to 25 to 44 45 years Age not Number distri bution 18 years 24 years years and over reported 576 100.0 43 130 291 88 24 382 76 50 26 16 6 5 4 3 2 2 2 1 1 66.3 13.2 8.7 4.5 2.8 1.0 .9 .7 .5 .3 .3 .3 .2 .2 42 97 3 10 13 5 181 49 13 28 11 10 8 3 2 1 1 1 1 1 2 1 1 35 CHARACTER OF THE EMPLOYEE GROUP Judging by the employers’ comments and by the ages of the house hold workers they reported, the majority of employers preferred workers over 25. About one fourth had in their employ workers who were 45 or more. MARITAL STATUS Nearly three fourths of the 250 full-time household employees who reported their marital status were single. Of the 160 white em ployees, 96 percent were single as contrasted with 34 percent of the 90 Negroes. Two thirds of the Negroes were married, widowed, or divorced, and therefore probably had home responsibilities. None of the white employees had children. Of the 24 Negro employees who had children, only 8 had children under 16. Table 26.—Full-time women household employees, by race and marital status, with a distribution of the married and widowed, by number and age of children [Data from 250 employees] Race Total employees White Marital status Negro Percent Number distribu Percent Percent tion Number distribu Number distribu tion tion Total-------------- --------------- l.............. 250 100.0 160 100.0 90 100.0 Single________________ ____ ___________ 184 73.6 153 95.6 31 34.4 Married.......................-..........................-.......... 17 6.8 4 2.5 13 14.4 10 1 2 4 Widowed, divorced, or separated....... ........... 49 19. 6 3 1.9 3 ............... Children both under 16 and 16 and 46 51.1 25 5 14 SCHOOLING Of 246 Chicago employees for whom information concerning school ing was available, 166 (67.5 percent) had completed no grade higher than the eighth. Only 15 (6.1 percent) had finished high school and 12 (less than 5 percent) had had any college work or special training, as business college, kindergarten, or nurses’ training. Though the numbers are too small for the drawing of conclusions, the white and Negro employees show interesting contrasts. Only 25 percent of the white women had stopped before or when reaching the eighth grade, while 37 percent of the Negroes had done so. Twenty percent of the Negroes, in contrast to less than 3 percent of the whites, had completed only the fifth grade or below. On the other hand, 38 percent of the Negroes, and only 30 percent of the whites, had gone above the eighth grade. Special or college work was re ported by 11 white women but by only 1 Negro. 36 HOUSEHOLD EMPLOYMENT IN CHICAGO Table 27.—Schooling of full-time women household employees, by race Grade completed or training received Employees reporting Number Total............................................................. Grade: Fifth and below.......................................... Sixth................................. ................... Seventh............................................ Eighth..____________________________ Ninth......................................... . . Tenth....................................................... Eleventh............. ................................... . . Twelfth.. _______ _____ ______ _ . Special training (business college, nursing, kindergarten).......... Some college training.. ........................................... . Race Percent White Negro 246 21 21 29 95 30 20 3 15 6 6 8.5 8.5 9 12. 2 8.1 1 6.1 2.4 2.4 1 Only one of the 26 children’s nurses in the Chicago study, and none of the governesses or practical nurses, were Negro, and it was in these branches of work that the employees with more formal education were for the most part engaged. TRAINING FOR HOUSEHOLD EMPLOYMENT Few of these employees had had training in special classes as prepa ration for the work they were doing. Of the 246 reporting on their training, just over one fourth, whether white or Negro, had attended such classes, but less than 3 percent of the total had received there all the preparation for their work. More than one fourth of the total had secured all their training in their own homes; about one eighth had received all in the homes in which they had worked; and one third had had their training in both these places. Table 28. Place in which training for household employment was obtained, by race Place in which training was obtained Employees reporting Race Number Total______________ Own home only............. ..................... Homes in which employed... Special classes_________ ______ All three of foregoing...______ Own home and homes in which employed Own home and special classes... Homes in which employed and special classes.......... Percent 246 100.0 157 89 67 30 6 32 83 22 6 27.2 12.2 2.4 13.0 33.7 9.0 2.4 34 15 5 23 65 13 2 33 15 1 9 18 9 4 White Negro Of the workers who had attended special classes, nearly three tenths considered this training more valuable than that received in their own homes or in the homes in which they had been employed. About three fifths of those who had had a part or all of their training in their own homes considered this training the most valuable. Of those who had had all or a part of their training in the homes in which they CHARACTER OF THE EMPLOYEE GROUP 37' had worked, seven tenths considered this of more value than any other training. Of the entire group of workers, nearly one half considered as the most valuable the training received in their own homes, slightly more than two fifths the training received in the homes in which they had worked, and only 1 woman in 13 the work in special classes. Table 29.—Training considered most valuable, by race Employees reporting Race Training White Negro Number Percent Total................................................................................................ 246 100.0 157 89 In own home--------------------------------------------------------------------In homes in which employed............................................................. In special classes________________________ ___________ ______ In own home and homes in whioh employed.................................. 120 104 19 3 48.8 42.3 7.7 1.2 73 70 12 2 47 34 7 1 Efficiency of the supply Because of this general lack of special preparation for their work on the part of employees, and because so large a proportion received their training in their own homes where standards probably were very different from those in the homes in which they were employed, it is not surprising that all but 14 of the 211 employers reporting on the need of training new employees said that their employees needed such training in all or some of their duties. About one eighth of the employers reported that new employees needed training in everything. Table 30.—Branch of household employment in which employers found it necessary to train new workers Branch of household employment Employers finding training necessary in specified branches Number Percent 100.0 Total. ---------- ---------------------- ---------------- ------ ----------------------------------- 211 No training necessary (employ only trained workers)................................................. 14 6.6 Training necessary in one or more branches—......................................................... . 197 93.4 69 69 35 35 11 10 9 5 4 26 32.7 32.7 16.6 16.6 5.2 4.7 4.3 2.4 1.9 12.3 Of 211 employers reporting on the training required by new employees, 26 stated that it was necessary in all lines of work. Aside from this group, however, no great amount of dissatisfaction with the training and experience of new employees was expressed. Cook ing and serving, the lines of work said to require most training, were 38 HOUSEHOLD EMPLOYMENT IN CHICAGO done satisfactorily in more than two thirds of the cases, and in other lines the inadequacy of training was slight. More employers found training inadequate in cooking and serving than in any other kind of housework; almost one third had found it necessary to give training in these branches. One sixth reported that employees needed training in cleaning, more especially with reference to thoroughness and order than to method of cleaning. One sixth reported that employees needed training in “my way of doing things.” Other kinds of work in which employers had found it necessary to train their employees were planning, care of children, dishwashing, orderliness, and use of equipment, particularly electric equipment. Though these figures indicate inadequate training on the part of many of the employees studied, as a matter of fact the employers reported that for 45 percent of their present employees training and experience were adequate when they were engaged, for almost 30 percent of the employees training and experience were superior, and for only 25 percent were they meager. The present supply of workers may have had better training than those in the past, or perhaps those with meager training were not retained for any length of time. It may be that the employer, expecting to have to train the household employee in some things, considered the average training and experi ence as “adequate” even where some training in all branches or a great deal in one branch was needed. The variance more probably is due to the fact that there is no standard of measurement for adequacy and the standard of the individual employer cannot be depended upon to remain constant. Table 31. Adequacy of training and experience of present full-lime women employees when engaged [245 employers reporting] Employees reported Adequacy of employees' training and experience when engaged Number Percent Total.......... ................. . 332 100.0 Superior ________ Meager ............. ..................... 98 84 29.5 25.3 The majority of the women engaged in household employment at the present time are apparently able to gain skill in the various kinds of work that they have to do when training is given them by their employer. According to the statement of employers, one fourth of their present workers had had “meager” preparation for their work when engaged, but at the time the schedules were filled out only a very small proportion were considered poor in the different kinds of work they had to do, and a very large proportion were considered good. For example, for 238 general workers and cooks, over three fourths were rated as good in cooking, one fifth were rated as fair, and less than 3 percent were rated as poor. Even 7 out of 11 other workers who only occasionally did the cooking were rated good, and 4 fair, none being rated poor, A slightly higher proportion were 39 CHARACTER OF THE EMPLOYEE GROUP considered as fair in other kinds of housework, but for all housework but mending, about seven tenths of the general workers and cooks reported as responsible for the different types of work were rated as good. Table 32.—Efficiency of present full-time women employees in various kinds of household work Employers reporting efficiency of— Kind of housework General worker and cook Total Cleaning----------- -------------------- ------ Mending Good 238 224 215 203 119 84 65 22 181 169 137 115 85 65 45 11 Fair 51 48 74 78 28 17 16 8 Others Poor 6 7 4 10 6 2 4 3 Total Good 11 30 44 40 27 22 28 33 7 27 34 31 19 17 23 24 Fair 4 3 7 9 8 5 5 8 Poor 3 1 WAGES Of 558 full-time women employees whose wages and living status were reported, 83 percent lived with the employer for whom they worked, a large proportion probably being accounted for by the somewhat high average of the employing households as regards economic status. Well over one half of the 573 employees were reported upon by the householders, of whom 62 percent had incomes of over $10,000 and 72 percent lived in homes of 10 rooms or more. (See table 3, p. 11.) The practice of living at the place of employment was much more common among white than among Negro employees. Of the former, 95 percent lived in, while of the latter only 55 percent did so. Marital status, which probably had a good deal to do with this, was reported only on the 250 schedules made out by employees, and among these only 34 percent of the Negroes, in contrast to more than 95 percent of the whites, were single. If any such difference obtained among the employees reported upon by the householders, this would be sufficient to account for the customs of the two races as regards living status. For 388 full-time white employees, the wage range was from under $10 a week (for mothers’ helpers) to $35 a week. More received $20 and under $25 than were in any other wage group. The median was about $19.50. The wages reported for 170 full-time Negro employees ranged from $10 to $30 a week. More received $15 and under $20 than were in any other wage group. The median was about $17. Wages of resident employees Of 366 white employees who lived in and whose weekly wage data were reported, 39 percent received $20 and under $25 and almost as many (37 percent) received $15 and under $20. Only 10 percent were in the group receiving $25 or more, and only 14 percent received less than $15. Almost half of the employees in the wage group last mentioned were mothers’ helpers who were less than 18 years old and 40 HOUSEHOLD EMPLOYMENT IN CHICAGO were paid less than $10. Slightly more than half of all for whom the wage was reported received less than $20. Table 33, Weekly wages and living status of full-time white women employees, by branch of household employment [Based on data from both employers and employees] Number living out who received— Number living in who received— Total Branch of household employment num $10 $20 $15 Wage $10 $15 ber Less and and and $25 not Less and and $20 than less less less and re than less less and $10 than than than over port $10 than than over $15 $20 $25 ed $15 $20 Total............................ 401 23 27 137 142 37 General houseworker______ Cook_______ _______ Second girl......................... Child’s nurse________ ____ Chambermaid...... .............. Governess_______ ____ Nurse (not trained)................... Ladies’maid............................ Laundress__________ ______ Kitchenmaid- ______ Second girl and child’s nurse Parlormaid__________ _______ Housekeeper___________________ 238 57 42 25 16 6 5 3 3 2 2 1 1 23 22 1 1 3 104 4 10 10 62 34 23 3 14 1 1 2 2 1 1 1 Table 34. 7 13 15 2 4 3 15 2 3 1 3 2 Weekly wages and living status of full-time Negro women employees, by branch of household employment [Based on data from both employers and employees] Number li ving out who received— Number living in who received— Branch of household em Total $10 $15 $20 num Wage $10 $15 $20 ployment ber Less and and and $25 not Less and and and $25 than less less less and re than less less less and $10 than than than over port $10 than than than over $15 $20 $25 ed $15 $20 $25 Total................ ............ 172 1 15 55 17 6 2 8 24 38 General houseworker............ Cook________________ ___ Second girl Child’s nurse......... ............ . Laundress Cleaning and heavy work-. 142 19 7 1 1 2 1 14 44 8 3 10 3 2 1 1 8 20 35 1 3 6 1 1 1 1 For the 93 resident Negro household workers who had wage data reported, the wages were lower than those of white employees. The wage received by the largest proportion of Negro workers was $15 and under $20 a week, 59 percent being in this group. Only 24 percent ieceived as much as $20, and only 5 women in all received as much as $25. Only 1 was paid less than $10. Just over three fourths of all for whom the wage was reported received less than $20. A common criticism of the wage paid to household employees is that it is not based on the ability and experience of the worker. However, the results of this study show that there is a definite relation between wage and the age of the worker. No resident white employee under 18 years of age received as much as $15 a week; two thirds of 41 CHARACTER OF THE EMPLOYEE GROUP those from 18 to 24 years of age received $15 and under $20; over one half of those 25 to 44 years of age received $20 and under $25; and of those 45 years and over, nearly one third received at least $25 & week The findings of the study show that wage is also dependent on the kind of work. Almost 70 percent of the resident white employees doing general housework received less than $20 a week, but 91 percent of the cooks received at least $20 and 26 percent received $25 or more. Over seven tenths of the second girls, nearly three fourths of the chambermaids, and nearly half the children’s nurses received $20 or more. * Among resident Negro employees more than four fifths of the gen eral workers received a wage of less than $20 a week, while 6 of the 14 cooks and 3 of the 7 second girls received $20 or more. Whether the worker is white or Negro, the wage of the general servant is lower than that of other full-time resident workers. Table 35.—Weekly wages of full-time white women employees, by living status and age [Based on data from both employers and employees] Number of employees Wage Age not reported 45 years and over 25 to 44 years 18 to 24 years Under 18 years Total 401 41 113 185 48 14 27 137 142 37 13 3 18 74 18 1 2 5 52 96 20 9 1 8 20 14 1 3 8 2 1 15 Total............................. -.............. 15 Living in: Living out: 2 1 L 3 1 Table 36.—Weekly wages of full-time Negro women employees, by living status and age [Based on data from both employers and employees) Number of employees Wage Under 18 years Total Total............................................Living in: 172 1 25 to 44 years 18 to 24 years 2 16 106 1 5 6 37 13 2 1 55 2 Living out: 8 24 38 6 1 5 4 2 2 14 24 6 1 45 years and over Age not reported 40 8 1 3 15 4 2 3 1 5 9 1 1 3 42 HOUSEHOLD EMPLOYMENT IN CHICAGO Wages of nonresident employees Comparatively few of the white employees lived outside the homes of their employers. Only 22 of the entire number did so. Fifteen of these were less than 18 years of age, 4 were 45 years old or older, and the other 3 were 25 to 44. All but one of these 22 employees were general workers. The 15 who were under 18 years of age were mothers’ helpers, who had little responsibility for the cooking and who received a wage of less than $10 a week. Only one in the entire group received as much as $20; almost seven tenths received less than $10. A much larger proportion of the Negro employees than of the white lived out; 45 percent of all the Negroes included in the study lived outside the homes of their employers. One fifth of these were 45 years old or over, and almost as many were less than 25. One half received $15 and under $20 a week; considerably less than the three fifths of those living in who received such wages. Seven of the 77 received $20 or more a week, and 8 received less than $10. About half of all the Negro general workers lived out, as did one fifth of the cooks. A comparison of the wages of resident and nonresident employees shows a tendency for those of nonresident employees to be less than those of the resident. Practically one half of the resident white employees received a wage of at least $20 a week, while only 1 of the 22 nonresident employees received as much as $20. Though just over three fourths of the resident Negro employees received less than $20 a week, this was exceeded in the case of the nonresident employees, 91 percent of whom received less than $20. When it is considered that the resident employee has room as well as board provided, and frequently her uniforms and laundry, while the nonresident worker usually has only her meals in addition to her wage, the difference in the real wage is found to be great. It is a question, however, whether the greater freedom of the nonresident employee after work hours does not more than compensate for this. STABILITY OF THE WORKER Women in household employment have been thought not to remain very long with any one household. A large proportion have gone from one occupation to another, filling in the periods between resident jobs with part-time work and anything else they could find to do. Of 243 Chicago employees reporting years of experience, 19 percent of the white but less than 3 percent of the Negro had been employed in household work less than a year, and only 18 percent of the white in contrast to 62 percent of the Negro had been so emploved 10 years or more. Forty five percent of the white employees, in contrast to 75 percent of the Negroes, had done other kinds of work. For both races, 1 and less than 5 years was the most common period reported; more Negro women than white exceeded this. For many, this time period is the sum of 4 or 5 different kinds of work, each engaged in for only a short time. The present study shows a fair degree of stability. Of 555 Chicago employees, 47 percent had been with their present employers 1 and under 5 years and about 15 percent for 5 years or more. 43 CHARACTER OP THE EMPLOYEE GROUP Table 37.—Time with present employer, by race [Employers and employees reporting] Race Women reported Negro White Years with present employer Number Total---------------- --------------------- -- 5 and over________________ ____________ Percent Number Percent Number Percent 555 100.0 392 100.0 163 100.0 214 200 81 38.6 46.8 14.6 145 188 59 37.0 48.0 15.1 69 72 22 42.3 44. 2 13. 5 Table 38.—Length of employee’s experience in household and other employment, by race Kind of employment Years of experience Other than household Household White Negro White Negro 154 89 65 63 29 72 25 28 Total____________________ _____ ____________ _____ —- 2 17 15 55 18 29 12 6 14 26 12 11 PREFERENCE OF THE WORKER AS TO DOMICILE STATUS There has been much discussion in the past as to the advisability of the household employee living in the home of her employer. Many of those interested in the happiness and social welfare of the domestic worker have felt that one step in solving the difficulties inherent in the “servant problem” was to make provision for the employee to live outside the home of the employer. Of the white employees who expressed a preference in regard to this in the present study, 128 (82 percent) preferred living in the home in which they worked and only 28 preferred living out. Of these 28, 20 were girls under 18 years of age who had homes in Chicago, 15 of whom comprised the entire white group living out. With the Negro employees the situation was quite different. Of the 89 who answered this question, 55 percent preferred living out. Only 13 of the 89 women were under 25 years of age, and 12 of these preferred living out. Of the older women, 39 preferred living in and 46 did so. , Sixty-six percent of the Negroes were married, divorced, or widowed, and probably many had homes in Chicago. Sixty percent of the white employees were foreign bom. For this latter group and for many of the native bom, household employment provides a home as well as a job. 44 HOUSEHOLD EMPLOYMENT IN CHICAGO Table 39. Preference of full-time women employees as to living or not living at the place of work and number living in and living out in present employment bv aae and race [250 employees reporting] Number of employees Preferring to live— Age and race Living— Total In White—Total......... ................... No choice Not re ported Out 160 128 28 1 3 Under 18 years___________ 18 to 24 years.................... . 25 to 44 years.......................... 46 years and over Age not reported................ . 41 55 58 4 2 21 50 53 3 1 20 5 1 1 1 1 90 39 49 1 1 Under 18 years 18 to 24 years........................... 25 to 44 years........ ................ . 45 years and over.......... ....... Age not reported 2 11 61 15 1 Out 3 Negro—Total................................. In 145 15 15 61 39 2 31 8 1 8 7 1 KINDS OF HOUSEWORK THE EMPLOYEES LIKED BEST AND COULD DO BEST Of the 247 employees reporting their likes and dislikes as to kind of work, 63 percent preferred cooking or liked it as well as any other work that they had to do, and 55 percent thought they did it best or as well as any other work. Serving and daily care of the house were preferred by the next greatest numbers of workers, and they also ranked second and third as far as the ability to do them well was concerned. Staying with children afternoons or evenings, washing clothes, and washing dishes were the branches of housework liked least by the greatest number of workers. According to the opinions of the employees, cooking, serving, and the daily care of the house were the branches of housework in which they were most proficient. It will be recalled, however (see table 30, page 37), that more employers found it necessary to train their employees in cooking and serving than in any other branch of work. These conflicting statements tend to emphasize the fact that there is no common standard for determining efficiency, that each individual has her own standard, and that these individual standards cannot be depended upon to furnish an accurate statement of conditions. CHARACTER OB’ THE EMPLOYEE GROUP 45 Table 40.—Branch of household employment full-time women workers liked best, liked least, and could do best [247 employees reporting] N amber of employees Branch of household employment Liked best Liked least Could do or as well or as little best or as well as any as any as any other work other work other work 155 116 114 75 73 69 65 135 96 87 38 59 73 64 64 66 60 44 25 Staying'with children: 9 22 18 41 37 48 60 62 81 46 50 41 27 56 37 24 PERSONALITY TRAITS DESIRED BY EMPLOYEES IN THE PERSON FOR WHOM THEY WORK Of the eight personality traits listed for checking, more than three fourths of the 244 employees who answered the question desired fairness the most, or at least as much as any other trait, in the person for whom they worked. Only 29 employees indicated that this trait was the least desired, or as little as any other, and more em ployees indicated that they seldom found it than indicated that they seldom found any other trait. Kindness, punctuality, and good nature were the next in rank as desired most by employees. Of all the employers’ traits listed, generosity was the trait least desired by the workers, with courteousness and patience following in rank. Next to fairness, punctuality and generosity were the traits reported by the most women as seldom found in the employer. As with a similar question answered by employers, these replies are offered merely as an expression of opinion, since there was no objective measure by which they could be checked. Table 41.—Personality trait desired most, desired least, and seldom found in employer by employee [244 employees reporting] Number of employees Personality trait Courteousness.------- ----------------- ----------------------------------------- Desired most Desired least or as much or as little as any other as any other trait trait 188 150 120 115 95 89 80 79 29 47 77 69 92 115 129 103 Seldom found 45 16 44 21 12 16 31 28 46 HOUSEHOLD EMPLOYMENT IN CHICAGO SUMMARY The findings of the Chicago study show that 66 percent of the full time employees in private households were general workers, 13 percent were cooks, and 9 percent were second girls. The percentage engaged in more specialized branches of housework was very small. Over two fifths were foreign-born white, three tenths were Negro, and almost three tenths were native white. Over one half were from 25 to 44 years old, nearly one fourth from 18 to 24, about one sixth 45 years or older, and 8 percent under 18. The white women were, as a group, younger than the Negroes. Cooks were older, and children's nurses were younger, than general workers. Nearly three fourths of the entire group were single. Ninety-six percent" of the white employees were single, as compared with 34 percent of the Negroes. Of all who were or had been married, only eight had children under 16 years of age. Of 246 employees who reported on their schooling, more than two thirds had completed no grade higher than the eighth. More white than Negro women had completed the eighth grade, but more Negroes than wh tes (38 percent and 30 percent, respectively) had gone beyond that. However, a larger proportion of the white than of the Negro women had completed all the high-school grades and more had some special or college training. More than one fourth had received all their training in their own homes, about one eighth had received all their training in the homes in which they had worked, and one third had had their training in both of these places. Wages generally were lower for nonresident employees than for resident, for Negroes than for white employees, and for general workers than for any other group of household workers. The wage had a tendency to increase with the age of the worker. The median of the week’s wage for all Negro workers was $17; for all white women it was $19.50. One half of the employees reporting had had 5 or more years of experience in housework. Of 555 employees reporting themselves or reported on by employers, 47 percent had been with their present employers 1 and under 5 years, and about 15 percent for 5 years or more. Most workers liked cooking better than any other kind of housework and felt that they could do it better than other kinds of housework. Of the white employees, 82 percent preferred living in the home of their employer, but 55 percent of the Negro emplovees preferred living out. h airness was the personality trait that employees desired most in their employers, and this was the trait reported by most employees as seldom found. Part III. OUTSTANDING DIFFICULTIES OF EMPLOYER AND EMPLOYEE DIFFICULTIES OF EMPLOYER IN SECURING HOUSEHOLD WORKERS One of the first difficulties that the employer of household workers meets in dealing with the problem of household employment is how to secure a worker with the desired qualifications. Chicago employers, as a rule, do not limit themselves to any one method of getting in touch with applicants for housework. Of 245 employers reporting on this, about 50 percent used two or more methods. Perhaps this was due to a search for a more satisfactory method than had previously been used or to a lack of knowledge of the comparative advantages of one method over another. More employers secured employees through former workers than in any other way; of the total group, 44 percent used this method. A slightly smaller proportion (42 percent) secured them through friends and relatives. Free private agencies, newspaper advertisements, and fee-charging private agencies were used by 90, 82, and 20 employers, respectively. The State employment agency was mentioned by only 5 employers. Table 42.—Number of employers and employees using specified methods of securing workers or work [245 employers and 249 employees reporting] Number using each method Method used Employees Total Employers 209 140 140 133 86 11 103 90 82 107 20 5 White Negro 76 6 60 16 46 4 30 44 8 10 20 2 Many different methods were used to determine whether or not the applicant had the desired qualifications. A majority of the employ ers required a personal interview, supplemented by oral references secured from previous employers over the telephone or by conference. Of 241 employers, 157 (65 percent) used this method. Four supple mented the interview with both written and oral references, and 14 occasionally supplemented the interview with oral references. Twenty required a personal interview only and three required references only. Only 13 percent required written references to supplement the interview. The general attitude toward this type of reference was 47 48 HOUSEHOLD EMPLOYMENT IN CHICAGO expressed by the employer who said, “Written references do not count for very much.” Even the oral reference was not considered abso lutely satisfactory, as is indicated by the following statements: “It doesn’t matter whether references are oral or written unless you know who is giving the reference. I think three I got were fakes”; and “I consider references of no importance unless I know the household from which the employee comes and also the character and disposition of the former mistress.” A small proportion of the employers who reported their employ ment problems considered the lack of complete records concerning applicants registered with private agencies and the lack of honest references the most outstanding problems connected with household employment. One employer made the following statement relative to references: I interviewed 49 applicants last February, and though I had put “only expe rienced maids with Chicago references need apply”, not one of the 49 had a decent Chicago reference. Finally I had to take the word of an agency because I was desperate. It is the first time I have not kept on until I found one with the necessary reference, but I have always had this difficulty. No one will say a good word for the maid that leaves or is fired, and if the maid has been let out because the family has moved away, I cannot check on her reference. Hard on maids but also hard on employers. Table 43.—Method used by employer to determine applicant’s qualification* [241 employers reporting] Method used Number of employers Total............................ .......................... . 241 Personal interview only____ References only...................... ............ Both interview and references, the latter— Oral................................. _ Written......................................... ......... Both oral and written Either oral or written____ _________ Occasionally oral................ ............ Occasionally written......................................... Occasionally both oral and written................ Occasionally either oral or written................. Occasionally required but kind not reported. 20 3 4 6 14 1 1 l 3 OTHER PROBLEMS OF THE EMPLOYER The four problems in connection with household employment most frequently met by the employers in the present study had to do with the training and efficiency of the employee, her character and person ality, her attitude toward her work and her employer, and the cost of service and turnover. Training and efficiency Of the 210 employers who reported their problems, almost one half indicated that one of their most outstanding problems was to secure efficient workers. With some it was efficiency in connection with planning work and budgeting time, with others it was efficiency in both the care of children and housework, and so on. Analysis of the schedules shows that a majority of the employers did not desire increased efficiency sufficiently to be willing to pay more than their present wage for workers better trained than their OUTSTANDING DIFFICULTIES OF EMPLOYER AND EMPLOYEE 49 present workers. Of the 208 employers who answered the question relative to increased pay for better-trained workers, only 59 (28.4 per cent) signified a willingness to pay higher wages for better-trained workers. Two reasons frequently given for the unwillingness to pay more were “Can’t afford it” and “I consider the wages I am paying adequate.” One employer said, “I prefer to train and pay more as employee learns and grows efficient”; another said, “No, but I will raise the wages of any weekly employee who remains over a year and who tries to improve the quality of her service”; and still a third said, “I begin at a lower wage and raise as the maid becomes more compe tent.” Many employers included in their statement the maximum wage that they were willing to pay. One said, “I do not believe that a wage higher than $20 plus board and room is justified.” A second reported, “$15 a week is ample with a laundress employed, also a man for heavy cleaning.” A third employer stated that she raised wages with increased skill, but $16 was the maximum when the clean ing and washing were done by part-time employees. The reaction of one housewife was, “If I could afford it, I wouldn’t care how much I had to pay for neat, efficient, satisfactory service”; and another, “I couldn’t afford to pay more, but would manage with less hours and pay the same.” It is evident from such statements that each employer considered the problem of wage and efficiency from the standpoint of her own individual household, its income, and its special needs. Each em ployer had her own standard of what constituted efficiency in a house hold employee and what constituted an adequate wage for increased efficiency. The basis for determining the adequacy of the wage paid, or considered ample, or a maximum, very evidently was the size of the individual income. The efficiency of the worker and the amount of work to be done were minor considerations. This condition em phasizes the great need for wage standards in which efficiency is a basic consideration, in order that there may be a common standard for judging what constitutes “adequate training” and what consti tutes a “high wage.” Not only were Chicago employers unwilling to pay more for bettertrained workers, but of 222 employers who answered the question con cerning the necessity of special training as preparation for household employment, 78 percent did not consider special training essential but thought efficiency could be secured through apprenticeship and experience. Several employers expressed the opinion that apprenticeship and experience take too long, and that special training saves time and should be arranged for by the employer in order to stimulate interest. One employer considered special training essential for an “A no. 1 girl”, but thought apprenticeship and experience adequate for mod erately priced help. Several thought special training necessary for those who planned to care for children, while for general housework experience was adequate. One employer thought it necessary in the motherless household. Another believed that “wherever training would increase the employee’s own sense of dignity and true worth of her service” it was essential. The same idea was expressed by the employer who said, “Apprenticeship and experience are adequate where one desires to assume the responsibility for her own household management, otherwise special training is essential.” In general, 50 HOUSEHOLD EMPLOYMENT IN CHICAGO however, the, consensus of opinion was that where the employer is capable and patient enough to teach proper methods, special training is not essential, though it may be the quickest way of securing efficiency. Chicago employers not only did not consider special training nec essary as preparation for the occupation of household employment, but 59 percent of 212 employers considered an elementary school edu cation sufficient for those who engage in the occupation. The general opinion was, however, that a high-school education would be very desirable, but that girls who had finished high school would not do housework. One employer said, “It seems tome that every human being should have the best education possible to be given. But if high-school work is gone through, most young women think they are above housework.” Another employer reported, “I have had the best satisfaction from high-school girls.” A third replied, “A highschool education is desirable because it makes possible more resources within themselves and they are more satisfied”; and a fourth said, ‘"Ihe more education the better for both employer and employee because it cuts down time. ” Many employers thought that the amount of education necessary varied according to the kind of housework engaged in. One specifi cally stated that to have finished sixth grade was sufficient for a laundress, but that a general houseworker should have a high-school education. Several others believed that nursemaids should have a high-school education while an elementary education was sufficient for other workers. One employer who thought a household employee should have finished the eighth grade said that her answer was “not based on the amount of education she might use but on the amount she seems able to have and remain a domestic employee. ” Both the high-school graduates she had employed in the past left for what they considered “higher callings.” Perhaps the reaction of many em ployers to more than an elementary education is found in the fol lowing statement: “The ability to follow directions accurately is more vital than the amount of schooling.” These replies bring out very clearly the attitude of many employers toward household employment as an occupation and indicate the amount of training and education they consider necessary as prepara tion for it. In a large proportion of the households employing full time service the employer herself retains the responsibility for all the managerial tasks of the home, while the paid employee works under her direction and has the responsibility for only those tasks requiring more physical than mental effort. Since the work is closely directed” the employer feels that a girl who is able to follow directions but who has little or no initiative and only an elementary education is suffi ciently qualified for the work. Studies of household employment that furnish information on the education and efficiency of the workers show that a large proportion of the girls and women engaged in house hold employment at all periods have had only an elementary educa tion, and that about three fourths have been rated as satisfactory by employers. Attitude of employee l or almost one third (31.9 percent) of the employers who reported their problems, the employee’s attitude toward her work, toward other workers in the same household, and toward her employer pre OUTSTANDING DIFFICULTIES OF EMPLOYER AND EMPLOYEE 51 sented one of the greatest difficulties. One employer said she felt that many employees had not been properly treated and had an atti tude of expecting to be ill-treated, and “since they came with an attitude of suspicion toward the employer, adjustment was difficult.” In the households where more than one full-time worker was em ployed, much difficulty was experienced in securing employees who would work together harmoniously. One employer reported that much jealousy was evident, and that too much attention was paid to what each one was doing or was not doing. Another reported that she was constantly surprised at the unkindness shown each other where more than one worker was employed. Many employers spoke of the lack of respect that the employee had for her job, and her feeling that she was doing an inferior type of work. Character and personality; cost of service and turnover About one fifth (21 percent) of the employers reporting had had difficulty in securing persons with character and personality qualifica tions that were desirable. For about one seventh (14.8 percent) the cost of paid workers and turnover had been a problem. Statements like the following in regard to outstanding problems were very frequent in the schedules filled out by the employers: Lack of equal training in all branches. Finding a good cook who liked to clean. _ To get one who was a good cook and willing to do the washing. It is difficult to find good nature and good work. To get one with brains and education who is able to organize her work and save herself time and energy thereby. To find one who has a pleasant and happy disposition. Most applicants ask for wages out of all proportion to what they are really worth. _ . Wages higher than competency and independence beyond ability. To find one honest, good natured, and willing to be told. To find one capable, honest, and courteous. To find household workers with self-respect and initiative has been my greatest difficulty. Slovenliness and lack of intelligence. The low intelligence—general low standards of the person—the utter unfa miliarity with the principles of cooking that almost every housemaid that comes my way possesses. . To find a woman who could do general housework satisfactorily and take good care of my children at such times as I need to ask it. It is difficult to get the correct type of nurse for one’s children; that is, one who understands health, psychology, and character development of children and, in addition, is willing to assist with menial tasks. Finding capable, level-headed girls to assist with children. Finding one willing to stay in evenings even though we’re to be out for only an hour’s ivalk or call. Find it very difficult to secure a woman who cooks well enough to suit us. Lrood cleaners and first-class laundresses are also rare. The total amount expended to keep my small house (9 rooms, 2 baths) clean and care for my three small children (all under 7) seems an awful load in comparison with other expenses. I have found it difficult to secure one who will be capable a,nd interested in the general work and cooking and at the same time reliable and kind enough to leave with the children. _ To keep help after training them is most difficult. That any girl unable to do other work feels competent to do housework, and asks high wages for inefficient work. Interest in the job and a sense of management and responsibility. Getting anyone sufficiently satisfactory for what I can pay, and finding anyone in that group who is dependable. Carelessness and lack of interest. _ The most difficult problem I have to handle is one of attitude. 52 HOUSEHOLD EMPLOYMENT IN CHICAGO It is their attitude toward work that causes trouble. A disinclination on the part of the girls to really earn the high wages they ask for. My most trying experience has been with young girls who think themselves competent after 1 or 2 years in service and ask for wages accordingly. Minor problems Other problems of the employer centered around working condi tions, housing of the employee, the social life of the employee, and the worker’s health and personal cleanliness. Many employers realized the difficulties involved in the long working day but had been unable to plan a shorter day in their own homes without increasing the cost of service. Others felt a definite responsibility for the social life and the personal development of the employee and made a serious attempt to provide for it. A number considered the problem of health of para mount importance and thought it would be highly desirable to have all employees submit to a physical examination before taking them into the home. Their experience had been that few employees were willing to submit to such an examination. Varied nature of problems That the problems of the employer may be varied and perplexing is evident from those listed by an employer whose income was over $10,000 a year, and whose household consisted of 2 adults and 6 children, all under 16 years of age. Her outstanding problems were as follows: 1. To get an applicant to consider the job at all. Size of family makes many unwilling to see place or interview me. 2. To accustom help to husband’s nervous and curt demands and to reconcile him to necessity for paying enough to procure decent help. 3. Different viewpoints of husband and wife over— a. Need for help. b. Kind of help—quality of it and amount of service needed. c. Importance of tasks. 4. Moving to country for the summer annually and change of help consequent to same. Another employer reported her most outstanding problems to be the following: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. save Stubbornness. Desire to escape or refusal to accept blame for errors or failures. Inability to take or deliver messages at door or telephone correctly. Extravagance in waste and preparation of food materials. Carelessness in use and care of tools and utensils. Waste of gas and light. Attitude of “They have plenty of money, why should I help them it?” To quote the somewhat original statement of a third employer— It is with the young married people trying to raise the next generation that the difficulties arise. The utter impossibility of procuring reliable help in the household is the thing that makes intelligent young parents limit the number of children to those they can care for without aid. The question that strikes at the root of our national life is whether our best young people shall be able to secure help that is absolutely necessary to make possible a next generation of Americans. OUTSTANDING DIFFICULTIES OF EMPLOYER AND EMPLOYEE 53 SPECIAL PROBLEMS OF THE EMPLOYEE Difficulties in securing work How to secure the kind of work she wants and how to be sure that conditions within the household are such as to make the particular job a desirable one are among the greatest problems of household workers. Every possible means of getting a job is taken advantage of, but more than 80 percent of the 249 employees who reported on this in the present study, in contrast to 48 percent of the 245 em ployers, had a decided preference for one specific method and used it more frequently than other methods. More employees secured their jobs through friends and Relatives than by any other means. The fee-charging private agency was second from the standpoint of the numbers using it, newspaper advertisements were third, free private agencies fourth, and former employers fifth. As was the case with employers, the State employment agency was the least frequently used. Newspaper advertisements and the fee-charging private agency were used more commonly by white than by Negro employees. The fact that so large a proportion of employees secured jobs through friends and relatives rather than through employment agencies seems to be due to the fact that this method insured their being fairly accurately informed of the details of the prospective job. Their experience with commercial agencies led them to believe that the actual situation either was not known or was not presented. The attitude of many household employees toward employment bureaus was that expressed by the employee who said, “The agencies and the employers both are unjust in the way they deceive. Do not tell all the disadvantages when hiring, nor all the work they intend to put on the hired one. ” A criticism of employment bureaus made by an employee who had had a year of college work and who did more thinking about her job than many girls was as follows: “They should know the kind of place into which girls are sent, and they should also investigate the reasons why girls leave their places of employment.” Hours In order to obtain the opinion of the workers as to the most out standing disadvantages of their job, they were asked what one change other than wages they would suggest to make more women and girls want to go into housework. The change that the greatest number of employees desired was a change in the length of the working day. Of the 218 employees reporting on the question, 61 percent thought that more women and girls would want to go into household employ ment if a greater amount of free time were provided. The importance of definite working hours and free time to these wage-earning women was emphasized by the fact that more than one half of the full-time employees who had also done housework by the day or hour considered as a definite advantage the regular hours of work that such employ ment provided. 54 HOUSEHOLD EMPLOYMENT IN CHICAGO Table 44.—Changes suggested by full-time women employees to make household employment a more desirable occupation, by race Women reporting Condition that should be changed Kace Number Total.............................. Hours.. ________ ____ ____ Amount and character of work demanded_____ Treatment by employer_____________ . Attitude of others toward it______________ Living condition________ ___________ No change desired_______________ _ Percent 218 100.0 135 83 133 28 15 14 6 22 12.8 6.9 6.4 2.8 10.1 15 11 13 2 20 13 4 White Negro 4 2 Free time As to the question concerning the free time desired, much variation was found among the 243 employees reporting. The findings show that more than three fifths desired from 1 to 2 hours for rest in the afternoon and more than 2% times as many wanted 2 hours as wanted 1. About 45 percent wished free time every evening. Nearly one sixth desired 2 or 3 evenings or an occasional evening off. Nearly three tenths desired either 1 whole day or 2 afternoons and evenings a week off, and about one fifth desired 1 whole day or 1 day beginning after breakfast and 1 afternoon and evening off. Ten percent wanted 2 whole days off or 2 days beginning after breakfast. Some employees desired all day Sunday off more than any other time and were willing to forego all free time during the week, except that for necessary shop ping, and so on, if it were possible to have it. Others were willing to forego free time on Thursday if they could have 2 hours off every afternoon and every evening off. The attitude of one employer toward a free Sunday for the worker is expressed in the following statement: Sunday for the housewife with a family is the most exhausting day in the week—no domestic service and always a large family at home. The' general housework girl expects two afternoons a week—Thursdays, and Sundays after dinner. This is a discrimination against the housewife. One day a week from 10 a.m. to midnight ought to be sufficient. Fortunately all employers did not consider such an amount ample. Many realized that good work and good nature often are dependent upon a sufficient amount of wholesome recreation. One employer gave 1 full day and 3 evenings off each week and every other Sunday all day. Another said her employees had abundant time off—no evenings on duty and many extra free days. A third gave 2 weeks’ vacation, 2 afternoons and evenings off weekly, also the afternoon and evening on all legal holidays. Hours of service frequently were given as from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., or from 7 a.m. until after dinner served at 6:30. Many employers planned an afternoon rest period for their employees. One said, “I insist that my help have from 1 to 2 hours quiet and rest in their own room each day. I do not get it, but it may be my fault.” Another employer planned an hour each after noon for rest and another hour out of doors for her employees. Still another said, “I expect my general maid to have a couple of hours in the afternoon for herself, but some don’t manage that way. If I help her, I have to do more each time.” OUTSTANDING DIFFICULTIES OF EMPLOYER AND EMPLOYEE 55 In spite of the good intentions of the employers, difficulty was expe rienced by the employee in being able to plan on her free time begin ning at a specified time, or even in being sure of it at all. One em ployee said she left a job because every Thursday her employer found some excuse to keep her in. One week the dressmaker was there, another she had guests for luncheon, and the third she planned food requiring a long time for preparation. This last was too much for the employee; she left that day. Table 45.—Amount of free time desired by full-time women employees, by race Race Period and amount of free time desired Total.............................. ..........-..............................................— Afternoon: 1 hour____________________ ________---------------------------2 hours__________ _______ __________ ________ -.......... ....... Time desired but amount not indicated_________ ____ ___ None indicated---------- --------------------------------------- --------None desired_________________________________________ Evening: Every evening beginning between 7 and .8_______________ Every evening, time not specified----- --------.-----------------2 or 3 evenings---------------------------------------- ------------- -----An occasional evening---------- --------------------------------------None indicated---------- -----------..---------- -----------------------None desired_________________________________ ________ Weekly free time' 1 whole day or after breakfast and 1 afternoon and evening. 1 whole day only---------------- ----------------------------------------2 afternoons and evenings___________________-.............. .. 1 afternoon and evening--------- ------ ------------------------------2 whole days or after breakfast----------------- -------------------1 whole day and 1 afternoon-------------- ------------ --------------2 afternoons__________________________________________ 1 afternoon and 1 afternoon and evening------------------------All other_______________ ______________ _____________ Not reported..................... .................. ............ -................ .......... Women reporting White Negro 243 153 90 43 108 2 87 3 27 63 2 60 1 16 45 44 64 33 7 92 3 29 46 18 6 54 16 18 15 45 32 32 27 23 20 5 4 33 22 23 18 19 20 14 11 5 1 26 16 22 27 2 1 38 3 14 13 7 9 9 3 7 6 Amount and character of work demanded Another change in household employment suggested by employees was relative to the amount and character of the work demanded. Of the 218 employees reporting, 13 percent suggested changes that were classified under this head as the most essential change necessary to make housework a more desirable occupation. The opinion current among general workers was that washing windows, particularly on the outside, and heavy cleaning should not be a part of their duties. As one worker said, “That’s a man’s job. ” Another considered it too much for the already full schedule of the general worker. The younger workers particularly disliked scrubbing, and all workers felt that to have the responsibility of the children at the same time that they had other duties was adding unnecessarily to the burden of their work. Many stated, however, that they did not mind the care of children when they had nothing else to do, though to be expected to use what otherwise might be an hour in the afternoon for relaxation to take the baby for an airing seemed an imposition. One 14-year-old mother’s helper, who had the responsibility of the home while the mother worked, also had the care of the baby during the night, with special instructions that the mother’s rest was not to be disturbed. Her wage was $5 a week. 56 HOUSEHOLD EMPLOYMENT IN CHICAGO Attitude of others toward the work and those engaged in it About 6 percent of the employees studied desired a change in “the attitude of others toward the occupation and those engaged in it.” White employees were more conscious of this need than were the Negroes. Only one Negro worker suggested this change, whereas 10 percent of the white workers suggested it. Seven percent of the employees thought that if the employer’s treatment of the household worker was changed, the occupation would be a more desirable one. They felt that the employer did not appreciate the fact that the employee frequently put in what she considered a great deal of extra time. Many also resented the fact that they were not permitted to have guests. The workers felt that this privilege should be theirs and that some place other than the kitchen should be provided in which to visit with their friends. One employee thought houseworkers should be treated “like they are human, not slaves.” Another expressed a similar idea when she said, “Most employers are not really interested in their employees as individuals.” Many objected to being referred to as “maid”, and of being called by their first names. Table 46.—Desire of full-time women employees concerning direction and super vision of work, by age Women reporting Age of employees desiring specified type of direction and supervision Type of direction and supervision Num ber Per cent Under 18 years 18 to 24 years Total.......................... ............................ ....... 241 100.0 43 64 114 19 1 General directions and general supervision___ Detailed directions and general supervision. Detailed directions and close supervision____ General directions and close supervision.......... 161 50 21 9 66.8 20.8 8.7 3.7 22 12 4 5 49 8 6 1 79 25 8 2 10 5 3 1 1 25 to 45 years Age not 44 and re years over ported ............. A number of the employees objected to the way in which directions for work were given, and especially did they resent being “bossed” by someone who knew little either about what needed to be done or how it should be done. Of 241 employees, two thirds preferred gen eral directions concerning the work to be done and general supervision of it, as contrasted with 9 percent who felt the need of detailed direc tions and close supervision. About one fifth preferred that the em ployer give detailed directions concerning the work but only general supervision of it. To the worker, close supervision by the employer is indicative of a lack of confidence in her ability or her trustworthi ness. This intensifies any feeling of inferiority that she may have. A common criticism on the part of the employer is that the household worker has a feeling that she knows it all and has no desire to learn or improve in her work. It is possible that this attitude is a part of a defense mechanism against being considered inferior not only socially but even in her work, and that if the employer understood the psychology of the situation her reaction and method of dealing with it would be quite different. OUTSTANDING DIFFICULTIES OF EMPLOYER AND EMPLOYEE 57 Living conditions Three percent of the employees felt the need of changes in living conditions. A Negro worker, a high-school graduate, and more intelligent than the average, said, “They want capable, efficient girls, but don’t think a clean, sanitary, pleasant room is necessary. ” No change desired Ten percent of the employees reporting were satisfied with their jobs and desired no change. They liked to do housework and beyond that had given little thought to the question of whether it might be made a more desirable occupation. Table 47.—Number of full-time women employees who had done other work and number who planned to do other work at some future time, by race Women reporting Race Had done other work Planned to do other work Number Percent Number Percent Total..................................................... .......... .......... 236 133 56.4 105 44.5 White..................................................... ............ ............. Negro----- ----------------------------------- ------ ---------------- 148 88 67 66 45.3 76.0 71 34 48.0 38.6 Desirability of household employment as a job The attitude of the workers themselves toward household employ ment as a desirable means of earning a livelihood is indicated by their plans for future work and whether or not they have done other work in the past. Of 236 full-time employees reporting, nearly three fifths had done work other than housework, and well over two fifths planned to do other work in the future. Not quite two fifths of the Negroes, in contrast to almost one half of the white employees, were planning to leave household employ ment for some other field of work. Office work chiefly, followed by factory work and nursing, were the fields mentioned the most fre quently by white employees, though all the numbers were small (15, 8, and 7, respectively). Four Negro workers in each case mentioned beauty parlor, dressmaking, and tea-room or restaurant work. More than one fifth of the entire group planning to do other work were un decided as to what work they would do. Table 48.—Kinds of work employees planned to do in the future, by race [236 employees reporting] Women planning to do other Total White Negro i 105 34 15 8 7 5 3 2 5 1 3 1 3 4 4 4 1 16 23 1 131 women did not plan to change their work. 71 16 11 8 8 7 6 1 8 17 8 6 4 58 HOUSEHOLD EMPLOYMENT IN CHICAGO SUMMARY Summarizing the problems of employers and employees as shown by the study, it appears that employers were mainly concerned with the following: 1. Lack of training and efficiency on the part of the employee. 2. The attitude of the employee toward her work, her associates, and her employer. 3. Difficulty in securing employees with desirable personality traits. 4. The cost of service and turnover. 5. Inadequate records, references, and supply of workers avail able at employment bureaus. Problems of importance to only a small proportion of employers related to the health and personal cleanliness of the worker and to the planning of the working day so that the household was well pro vided for and the worker had sufficient time for recreation. Employees were concerned with these: 1. Difficulties in securing work. 2. Hours. 3. The amount and character of the work demanded. 4. The treatment they received from their employers. 5. The attitude of others toward them and their work. 6. Living conditions. APPENDIX—SCHEDULE FORMS EMPLOYER SCHEDULE [Strictly anonymous and confidential] I. Residence: House---------- Apartment.............. Number of rooms, excluding bath_______ Number of bathrooms II. Husband’s occupation-------------------------- Wife's occupation or activities, other than housekeeping, to which she devotes at least half her time___ ______ ________ Number of years of housekeeping experience III. Total annual family income (check nearest approximation): Less than $5,000 ______ $5,000 to $10,000 _______ Over $10,000 ___.......... IV. Number in family: Adults 16 years and over______ Children under 2 2 to 7 8 to 15 ............... Number who require extra care: Chronic invalids and aged_______ V. Check method usually used in securing employees: State or city employment agencies______ Newspaper ads Private employment agencies: Fee-charging______ Through friends Free ____________ Through employees Do you interview applicants personally before engaging? Do you require references from former employers? Do you prefer them oral?or written? VI. Check race preference: White, native born ........ . Foreign born_________ Negro___ _ Other (specify)______ No preference ............. VII. Number in order of importance to you, traits you consider desirable in a household employee, giving same number to those of equal importance. Check those you seldom find. Ability to follow directions. Neatness in appearance___ Kindness to children_____ Loyalty---------Initiative___ _________ Knows her place_________ VIII. Number in order of degree of need, periods during which you desire services of household employee* Give same number to those of equal need. Hours are only approximate; indicate change i* desired. Periods Week days Sundays Periods Does it suit your needs better to have employees live in?........ . IX. Week days Sundays or out? Number in order of degree of need, branch or branches of household work for which you desire house hold assistance. Give same number to those of equal importance. Food preparation .............. Food serving______ Daily care of house.............. Weekly cleaning.............. Washing---------Ironing........... Washing dishes .............. Weekly mending Daily care of children Staying with children: Afternoons .............. Evenings Staying in house to answer bell, to receive packages, etc............... X. Check one who assumes the major responsibility for— Tasks Preparing meals—............... Member of family Employee Tasks Member of family Employee Efficient arrangement of working units_____ ____ Determining need of work ing tools................................ 59 00 HOUSEHOLD EMPLOYMENT IN CHICAGO XT. Total number of persons now in your employ...... ........ Number employed by the day, hour, oT other part-time basis............... Branches of work in which employed................. ................... Give the following information for women now employed by you on a full-time weekly basis. Check wherever possible: Employee Information I II III IV 1. Give title of each employee, i.e., cook, general worker, etc.................... 2. Check: Native-born white.......................................... ............................. Foreign-born white......... ................................... ........... Negro_____ ____ _______ ___ ____ _____________ Other (specify)____________ ______ _________ 3. Give approximate age of worker........................ 4. Wages paid per week___... Check if include: Room............................................................................ 1 meal a day............................................ ................. . 2 meals a day______ _______ ________ _______ ______ 3 meals a day____ ____________________ _____ 5. Give approximate length of time each has been with you.............. 6. Check training and experience when engaged: Meager............ ............ ................. ........... .......................... Adequate.................................................................................. Superior........................................................................................ Does one of the workers whom you employ on a weekly basis do the washing? Household.............. Personal---------- The ironing? Household............. Personal XII. Check quality of service of present employees in each of the following: Employee Task I Good Fair Poor Good II III IV Fair Poor Good Fair Poor Good Fair Poor Cooking............................ Serving.__ __________ Washing dishes......... . Cleaning...... ................... Washing_________ _ Ironing______ ____ ___ Mending_____ _____ Care of children........... Do you find it necessary to train new employees in proper methods of performing certain tasks?.............. Which?.............................................................. ..................................... ^ Would you be willing to pay a higher wage if you could secure more’highiy skilled workers?""”"—.. XIII. How much general education do you think a household employee should have? Sixth grade---------- Eighth grade.............. High school Do you think special training essential?..........- or are apprenticeship and experience adequate? XIV. What in your experience have been the most outstanding problems connected with household employment? EMPL0YE7i£ SCHEDULE [Strictly confidential] . Country of birth .................................... Raoe .......................... Age .............. Country of mother'* birth ........................................... Country of father’s birth .................................................................. Single................. Married................... Widowed.................. Divorced or separated.................. Ages of children...................................... -....................... -...................................... II. Age left school .............. Year completed: Grade........ . High school---------- College---------Where did you learn to do housework? In your own home ..............; in the homes in which you have worked........ .........; in special classes at school or elsewhere_________ Which helped you most? 1................ 2............... 3.......... III. Experience: A. Number of years in housework.............. Please give the following information for the last two places at which you have worked. Check wherever possible. Places employed Information Present One pre ceding B. Length of time without work after leaving last place.................................... Have you ever tried housework by the day or hour?_____ What were the advantages?__ C. Disadvantages?............................... What other work have you done? Number of years Kind Are you planning to return to one of the above lines of work later? Which?............................—............................... ................ .............. ........... Are you planning on going into some other work?---------- What? IV. V. How do you usually get places in housework? State or city employment agencies_______ Newspaper ads-----Private employment agencies: Fee-charging.............. Friends and relatives Free______________ Former employers ... Number 1, those traits you want most in the person you work for; those next, 2; etc. If two traits are of the same importance give them the same number. Check traits you seldom find. Fairness.. PatienceKindness. Courteousness. Friendliness __ Good nature. . Generosity___ Punctuality—. VI. Which do you like best: 1. To have the person you work for give detailed directions.............or general directions only?- 2. Give your work close supervisionor general supervision only? 61 62 HOUSEHOLD EMPLOYMENT IN CHICAGO VII. Number the work you like best, 1; the work you like next best, 2; etc. well give them the same number. Check those you can do best. If you like two things equally Daily care of house_____________________ Daily care of children___________________ Staying with children: Afternoons_______ _ , Evenings_________ Staying in the house to receive packages, to answer the bell, etc_________________ Washing dishes___________ Weekly mending__________ Washing______ __________ Ironing_____________ ___ VIII. What hours would you like free week days? _ Would you rather live in?or out? _ IX. Is the person you work for good, fair, or poor in the following? Sundays? Employer Duties Present Good Fair One preceding Poor Good Fair Poor Planning daily work.. _____________ ___ Planning weekly work_________ ____ ___ Giving directions clearly______________ Providing good tools for work...______ Arranging kitchen conveniently_________ Judging time necessary for each piece of work__________ _____ _ ____________ Knowing how work should be done______ X. Do you have a daily plan of work?---------- Weekly plan?.............. Do you plan your own daily work?---------- Weekly work?---------- What, if anything, makes it hard to carry out your plans?.............................................................................. ......................................................... .............................. Do you talk over problems of time and working tools with the person you work for? IIIIIII XI. Are you asked to do things you do not consider your job?_______ What are they? _____ _____ Has the agreement, as you understood it at the time you were hired, been lived up If not, how has it been broken?______ ______ ______ .......................................................................... I XII. If you could change one thing, other than wages, about housework to make more women and girls want to go into it, what would you change?--_____ XIII. Remarks:______________________________________________________ O