Why should someone become a butler?

Butler by profession: Insights into the professional life of a butler

The butler's profession is rather unusual in our circles. A butler serves the aristocracy and upper classes and enjoys a very high reputation there. The job has something almost mysterious about it, because it requires extremely precise work, adherence to etiquette and protocol as well as working in very luxurious surroundings. However, the expectations of this profession are very high. The International Butler Academy in the Netherlands has therefore set itself the task of training butlers. We wanted to know more about the butler profession, so we interviewed Gordon Munro, CEO of the International Butler Academy:
  1. What role do butlers play today?

It depends a little on the culture we are in. In the German-speaking European part, the butler profession is less widespread. With the exception of Switzerland, which has the highest percentage of butlers in the world as a percentage of the population. In India it is hard to imagine a middle class household without the “butler”. Only the house manager is not given the job title butler there. The negative factor that creates the gap between rich and poor is admittedly something positive for our profession. There are more and more people who can or want to afford a butler. There are also more and more people who find this way of serving very pleasant. As a result, there is great demand from both sides to become butlers and to hire butlers. So I can say that the butler is playing a growing role in our society.

  1. What are the greatest advantages and incentives of the butler profession?

Well, the first and foremost incentive should be to show your heart's willingness to serve someone else. Caring for someone in need of assistance. If you are looking for material or financial incentives, please do not take the butler's path. Nevertheless, it can certainly be an incentive to work in a cultivated atmosphere, to travel a lot, to be able to experience the beautiful sides of life. It sounds exaggerated, but a butler is someone who feels called to something and not someone who has just taken up a profession.

  1. You'd think a butler is a "girl for everything". What do you say about such statements?

If the butler is a lady butler then this statement might be true. A butler is a woman or a man who should be able to do anything, who should know everything, who can solve any problem. The more knowledge and skills a butler masters, the easier it is for him / her to offer the best possible service. YES, a butler is an all-rounder!

  1. Discipline is undoubtedly part of the job of a butler. Can you allow yourself to make mistakes in this job?

NO! We are not cardiac surgeons, but we have to work as precisely as if we were one!

  1. What is the biggest challenge in the butler profession?

This is a personal question that any butler would likely answer individually. If the butler does not approve of 24/7 availability, he should not be a butler. Anyone who answers the question with “no family of their own” shouldn't be a butler. If you see the challenge in having little free time, you shouldn't be a butler. Anyone who sees the low income as a challenge should also not be a butler. The real challenge is to know the wishes of your principal in advance and, as if by magic, have already covered or dealt with all areas before the principal even addresses them. We do this 24/7 at 52 weeks and because we like to do it it is not a challenge.

  1. Is the job of the butler a 24 hour job?

I think I already answered yes to the question. Which I haven't answered yet because I don't want to correct you. Being a butler is not a job, being a butler is a lifestyle decision!

  1. Is this a male dominated job? Is it more difficult as a woman in this job?

Yes, the vast majority are still men. No, it is at least no harder for women to find a position. As a man, I don't want to fall into the trap of judging whether it is more difficult for lady butlers. I should leave the answer to an experienced lady-butler. We butlers don't live on a lonely island, if women have a harder time in other professions than men, then I have to assume that unfortunately this also applies to our vocation. I can only say something about qualification, and women do a little better than men on average at our academy.

  1. What is the motivation behind the TIBA (The International Butler Academy)?

TIBA has a history; It all started with a recruiting agency that we still run today. More than 20 years ago, our recruitment agency lacked competent butlers whom we would have liked to provide. So the owner of the agency came up with the idea of ​​training the missing staff himself. The motivation today is that we are happy to provide our clients with the best butlers in the world. Butlers who take care of their house and family to perfection. On the other hand, to offer people of all ages a new education, to open a door into a new life, sometimes even to give our students new motivation to make something new and great out of their life. We are not only an academy for people who want to perfect the butler's calling, we are also a school of life. With our curriculum, we could hold a higher daughter course first thing tomorrow and without you wanting to become a butler, give them enormous potential for their future life.

  1. Is it common for butlers to live in the same house as the employer?

That's the classic way of butler life, yes! But nowadays it is no longer necessary or not always desired by the principal. On the other hand, if you are a 24/7 butler, you will not come around in the same house or at least live on the same property.

  1. How long does the butler training take and how long did it take the previous alumni to get a job?

The basic training begins with a 10 week course at our academy. Afterwards we offer a 3-6 month internship in the "Huize Damiaan" for interested and talented people. That is more or less what we recommend before you want to market yourself professionally as a butler. I can't really tell you how long it will take to find a job. Being a butler in a private home is a very sensitive position. The most capable butler sometimes takes months until the right job is vacant in the right house. But we have already placed students.

  1. Is the butler profession also something for lateral entrants or is it mainly for people from the service area?

We are extremely successful with lateral entrants. Many of our students are former bankers, lawyers, artists looking for something new in their lives. Our service is quite different from the classic hospitality service, so students who have previously worked in hotels or restaurants often have difficulties in changing or developing new skills at the beginning.

  1. What requirements do you place on the budding butlers?

Passion for our service, absolute loyalty, absolute discretion, an absolutely honest character, the will to live perfect manners, very good communication skills.

  1. What does a typical butler career look like?

There is no common career path in our world. Like everyone else, a butler starts out as an apprentice (footman), works his way up to an underbutler or assistant butler and then, with the appropriate experience, one day becomes the head butler of a private household.

  1. Some sources state that as a butler you can earn 150,000 euros a year. Do you think this is a common salary in this area?

A butler salary for a very young inexperienced butler starts at around EUR 30,000 per year and can go up to EUR 400,000 depending on the country and position and experience and responsibility. But it would be absolutely dubious to give the impression that this is a normal salary. Of course, salaries above the EUR 100,000 mark are not commonplace and only a small group of very, very experienced and good butlers with a wide range of skills will achieve such a salary. I come from the equestrian sport, so I use the following parable. Germany has thousands of great horses that could win a lot in international sport, but still only four of them go to the Olympics, it is exactly the same with butlers and a great salary.

  1. What does a butler's exit strategy look like or in which area can you work if you no longer want to work as a full-time butler?

The possibilities are endless. A butler doesn't necessarily have to work full-time. Hotel butlers work in shifts, cruise ship butlers work in a period system. Private jet butler on a daily basis, travel butler on call or booking, etc. In private households, it is wise to let the experienced older butler come to an end for 1 to 2 years and to build up the successor slowly but surely, provided there is a smooth transition wishes.

Report by abc about the International Butler Academy:

About The International Butler Academy: “Capital Finance International honors“ The International Butler Academy ”as the best butler school in the world. The International Butler Academy (TIBA) is a unique, exclusive and professional butler and house management school. We pride ourselves on being the best and most innovative butler service training institute in the world, which is second to none. We're equally proud to have some of the world's wealthiest families, international corporations, and five-star hotels, resorts, private clubs and cruise lines turn to us for staff training, recruiting and our highly specialized advisory services. Our comprehensive, state-licensed training program with a duration of 10 weeks and 800 teaching hours introduces every student to all the expected tasks of a butler, personal assistant, valet, house and estate manager. ”More information can be found here.

© Photos: Images provided by The International Butler Academy.