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State of the art of domestic work in Europe

In the framework of the project Erasmus+ PRODOME, the study "The state of the art of domestic work in Europe" (deliverable 1) has been produced, based on desk and field research involving 54 experts and 109 domestic housekeepers via semi-directive interviews, a Delphi exercise and questionnaires.

The main findings are the following ones:

  • Desk research: although there are some significant differences between the three countries, the reality of domestic work and the needs of the workers are largely comparable, and it is therefore possible to achieve the objectives of the project since the results obtained can be used in France, Italy, Spain and in the EU, carrying out if necessary small adaptations to the situation in each country (for instance as regards language and cultural adaptation, cooking or environmental habits and organisation, etc.). Then, there is a large consensus on the workplace for this profile: it is only the household, not a community or an establishment.
  • Delphi exercise with 24 experts (8 experts per country):
    • The need of professional domestic workers will increase in the next years especially because of the population ageing and the increasing role of women in the labour market, which reinforces the importance of training and recognition for this professional profile.
    • The most important competences according to the expert’s views will be: care competences, soft skills, IT skills, green skills and occupational safety and health skills to reduce hazards and accidents for the workers and the family members.
    • A common training pathway shall include both housework and caring, excluding the specialized care for dependent people, more linked to health profiles.
    • Due to the large proportion of foreign workers in some countries, it is also very important to ensure the knowledge of the language, culture and customs of the host country.
  • Semi-structured interviews with 30 experts (10 experts per country):
    • An appropriated legal framework is the best way to reduce undeclared work and define professional limits.
    • The workplace of domestic housekeepers, a household, requires specific competencies (privacy, respect, profession’s limits, etc.).
    • The diploma, if available, for this profile are not well-known by the public or by potential workers.
    • In all the three countries, it is necessary to advance in the professionalization of domestic work and in the recognition of the skills of workers, so it can be acknowledged as a “real profession”.
  • Questionnaires with 109 domestic housekeepers (around 35 per country):
    • It is a highly feminised profile and seems not attractive to young: only 4 male workers in France and 1 in Italy participated in the survey; only 10 workers were less than 35 years-old, the majority were between 45 and 55.
    • Soft skills are very relevant to domestic housekeepers, as well as training in general.
    • Barriers for training are important: no diploma available (not in all regions in Italia, in Spain it exists only in the NQF at formal level) or not well-known or recognised by employers despite all (in France, just a few workers in France had a diploma)


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PRODOME project
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