HelperPlace seeks to create a space where helpers and employers can find the perfect match without the exorbitant fees
If you’re living in Hong Kong and thinking about getting a helper, then you may find it difficult to find all the information you need on the process. HelperPlace was created by Edouard Muller to make things clearer and also to have an online space where helpers and prospective employers could connect without the steep fees. We sat down with him to find out more.
Hi, Edouard. Tell us about your background and how you came to open HelperPlace.
I am Edouard Muller from Paris, without any equivocation, Hong Kong has been a second home for me as I have lived here for ten incredible years in this lovely country. After the first part of my career working for the sourcing division of big retailers, it was time for me to have a new start.
When my wife got pregnant, we realised we were going to need a helper, but finding one was nightmare due to the lack of transparency in the industry. It was difficult to get accurate CVs, most of the agencies don’t have a website, and the worst part was the horrible stories about trafficking and high fees charged to the helpers. This experience, coupled with my motivation to launch a social project, sparked my interest in developing HelperPlace.
Four years ago, I started developing HelperPlace, which is a social platform to connect employers with foreign domestic helpers. With more than 120,000 users, we are mainly operating in Hong Kong and Singapore.
What is the aim of the company and how are you different from standard agencies?
What we do at HelperPlace is to ensure a seamless connection between employers and domestic workers through standardised recruitment processes, laid-down principles, and well-structured profiles. We help domestic helpers to build a simple and professional CV and get more online visibility to find employers. We also provide a large and accurate database of domestic helpers to all our employers. Our activities at HelperPlace are geared toward improving the standard of living of the domestic workers without placing them on unnecessary fees usually demanded by the agencies.
What different types of helper do you place?
With over 5,000 domestic workers waiting patiently and hopeful to be placed, we strive to provide the employers to domestic workers with adequate skills and experience without hassles. Most of our candidates originally come from The Philippines and Indonesia. Before they come here, they receive specific training and some already have caregiver experience. The large choice of our candidates means that each employer can find the perfect match, whether they’re looking for someone to help with a newborn, a larger family or the elderly.
What skills does it take to be a helper in Hong Kong?
To be a helper in Hong Kong is not rocket science as many have made it seem, but there are important skills needed if you want your employers to fall in love with you totally. Some of these are basic housekeeping skills, cooking skills, storytelling skills, and first aid skills. Though, if you have experience in dealing with babies, children, and older people beforehand, it is a plus point as you will be able to offer the solace the employer was seeking out when he hired you. Most of all, employers are looking for honest and trustworthy workers. Sincerely, all these put together will make it easier for any helper thinking of coming to Hong Kong.
What are the biggest problems that helpers face working in Hong Kong?
In all honesty and based on our different surveys, I think working for several hours and the availability of little or no privacy are the major two constraints limiting helpers’ activities in Hong Kong. Due to cultural differences, some helpers are also facing communication issues and the strong feeling of being alone.
How do you assist people who are looking for a helper for the first time?
Your best bet as a newcomer who is looking for a helper urgently is to put a call through to our hotline to make a request. We like to talk with employers and explain to them the rules about hiring a helper in Hong Kong. You can also read up on our blog resources with more than 100 articles.
What is the best part of your job?
The fulfillment of putting smiles on the faces of both helpers and employers through a hitch-free recruitment process is more than enough for us at HelperPlace. Domestic workers get to find employers easily without having to pay some huge amount of money to some middlemen through the platform, and that’s exactly what we set out to do.
Find out more about HelperPlace.