Why mothers are ditching the nanny to hire a 'manny' By Alexandra Frean for Timesonline WORKING mothers are increasingly keen to hire a man to look after their children rather than bring a young, attractive female nanny into their homes, according to a childcare recruitment agency. A survey of 1,500 families by the agency, Tinies, suggests that attitudes are changing towards male nannies or mannies, as they are known. Eight out of ten parents said that it was more acceptable now than ten years ago to hire a male nanny, while 94 per cent said that they would consider hiring a man for the job. A fifth said that they knew of a family who already had a male nanny. However, only 4 per cent of people working in the childcare industry are men. There are about 12,500 men registered as childcarers up from 8,500 in 2003. Oliver Black, the agencys director, said that female insecurity, jealousy and mistrust were key factors in the change.Our research shows that the threat of an attractive female nanny is certainly an issue, he said. Working fathers, however, were far less concerned by the thought of hiring an attractive male nanny, possibly because they believed that a man who worked with children would not be a threat. However, despite their popularity mannies are in short supply because few men consider going into childcare. Attitudes are certainly changing, said Mr Black. Mothers, especially, are now more than happy to leave their children in the care of an experienced and qualified male childcarer. However, there are very few male nannies and nursery staff out there. The ones we have placed have always been a great success. Mr Black said that it was very important to get the right person for the job, whether male or female. Qualifications, references, a criminal records check, experience and a face-to-face interview are crucial in appointing a quality nanny. Experts have long called for more men to work in childcare, arguing that children would benefit from exposure to a wider range of positive role models. For the child of a single mother, for example, a male carer may be the only male role model in his or her early years. However, many men are deterred by the low pay, poor terms and conditions, lack of career progression and the perception that childcare is womens work. The Government has been trying to widen the pool of talent entering childcare, fearing that without more men its plans to expand childcare including the ambitious extended schools programme might fail. A spokeswoman for the Department for Education said: We believe that male workers have a lot to offer children, including acting as positive role models. We provide local authorities with money to recruit and train childcare workers, including £14 million for recruitment in 2004-06, and our childcare recruitment campaign has used a range of initiatives to target under-represented groups, including men.