what is a housekeeper?

A housekeeper is in charge of making sure that a home or institution maintains a high standard of cleanliness. In a private home or small business, this means being responsible for tasks such as cleaning, laundry, and dealing with tradesmen like plumbers or electricians. In a larger institution, a housekeeper supervises a team of cleaners or other housekeeping staff. In this type of environment, your responsibilities include setting team schedules, inspecting work, ordering supplies and similar management tasks. 

Housekeepers work in a wide range of different environments, each with its own special responsibilities. As a hospital housekeeper, you maintain the exacting standards of hygiene needed to keep a medical facility running smoothly. You need to monitor strict adherence to safety and waste disposal protocols. As a hotel housekeeper, your job includes not just cleaning but also customer service and coordinating with other members of the hotel's team. By contrast, in a private household, your role involves a wide range of other tasks like cooking or driving. 

Would working as a housekeeper suit your organisation and attention to detail? Then read on to find out what competencies and qualifications you need to thrive in a housekeeper role.

housekeeper jobs

average salary of a housekeeper

The National Careers Service reports that a starting housekeeper earns around £14,500 a year. With experience, this can increase significantly. A more experienced housekeeper can earn £25,000 a year.

other factors influencing housekeeper pay

In addition to experience, the hours worked can have a big effect on your compensation as a housekeeper. In some settings, such as office environments, housekeepers can work late hours so that their work doesn't clash with other activities. Housekeeping work also takes place on weekends, bank holidays and other times outside the normal working week. Working at times like these can help increase compensation. 

Another element that affects compensation is where you work. Housekeepers in the NHS, for instance, start at a higher rate than the average given by the National Careers Service. The starting salary for an NHS housekeeper is £18,500, with more experienced housekeepers earning more.

male and female in housekeeping uniform working together. male holding towels.
male and female in housekeeping uniform working together. male holding towels.

types of housekeeper

Your role as a housekeeper will vary depending on the environment you work in. Although all of these housekeeper jobs require similar skills, there are important differences between them. Different types of housekeepers include: 

  • hospital housekeepers, who also serve food, order supplies, talk to patients, and more.
  • hotel housekeepers, who prepare hotel rooms to high standards and organise toiletries and other guest amenities.
  • private housekeepers, who adapt to the unique needs of families, ensure tasks such as maintenance and childcare are undertaken.
  • other housekeepers, who work in businesses such as offices, gyms, spas, and more. 

working as a housekeeper

Interested in learning more about a role as a housekeeper? Keep reading to learn more about the job, including where you'll work, who you'll work with, and your prospects for advancement.


education and skills

There are many paths to your new career as a housekeeper. 

  • one way to develop the skills you need for the role is to study at a further education college. A qualification such as a Level 3 Award in Hospitality Supervision and Leadership Principles can give you the grounding you need to land this job. 
  • If you'd rather combine classroom learning and on-the-job training, consider an apprenticeship. An advanced apprenticeship as a hospitality supervisor will help you prepare for a career as a housekeeper. 

However, you don't need formal training to become a housekeeper if you have the right kind of job experience. If you've worked as a cleaner or in another related role, a housekeeper job is a logical next step. You can also apply directly for a job as a housekeeper if you have experience in a related field. Working in hospitality management, customer service or a similar supervisor role is a good way to gain the necessary experience. 

skills and competencies

Your work as a housekeeper is varied, and so are the skills you bring to the role: 

  • your focus and attention to detail make you effective both at managing a team and at spotting areas for improvement in cleanliness and organisation. 
  • as the contact point between your housekeeping team, the rest of your organisation, and the public, you need strong interpersonal skills. Being able to stay calm and focused in a busy working environment will be important as well. 
  • finally, the varied nature of your role calls for good time management and multi-tasking. 

In addition to these skills, there are some specific areas of knowledge that will help you in your housekeeping career: 

  • as the manager of a team, you will need some familiarity with employment and health and safety law, as well as your organisation's policies. 
  • similarly, cleaning supplies and equipment can pose health and safety risks, which you need to be aware of. 
  • a good level of IT knowledge can be very useful, as you'll use computers or similar devices in many areas of your job.
housekeeper at work
housekeeper at work


FAQs about working as a housekeeper

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