The role of a Butler in 2018

Originally the hero of domestic service the Butler’s role today has altered significantly and now encompasses so much more in terms of duties and responsibilities than it once did. Indeed, in recent years women have been readily invited to apply for Butler roles in both Royal households and in Middle Eastern homes. There are fantastic opportunities for anyone wanting to progress in this role, however the modern Butler must be as adept with a spreadsheet as he or she is with opening a bottle of champagne. Today, the Butler salary is the highest rising due to clients opening up the skills-set towards including PA and House Manager duties.

Although primarily the duties of a Butler are concerned with regards to the dining room and housekeeping, duties might now also blend with those of a House Manager. Overall, the modern-day Butler must have many skills and some that can manage office duties just as well as the domestic, such as planning events for the family and scheduling staff rotas, dealing with employment documents and maintaining and operating security systems. Furthermore, there might well be financial responsibilities, ie. liaising with the family PA in organising the Principal's business calendar or payment accounts. Although traditionally in charge of the dining room and cellar, a Butler will act as domestic management for their employer and must be suitably equipped with discretion, perfect timing, alongside an innate understanding and anticipation of a large household’s needs and requirements. 

Whether it’s overseeing a dinner for 60 guests, cellar management or having fluent Italian, a Butler needs to be stalwart, reliable and epitome of discretion. A modern Butler might be asked to carry out small duties such as collecting guests to and from trains, create (with a chef) and oversee lunch parties, shoots and countryside or networking events. 

A Private Butler can swiftly earn upwards of £38,000 per year. You might get to travel the world if your employer does, or you might only be called on a few times a year if the employer lives in another country most of the time. You could become part of a wonderful, kind family with generous employers. Some Butlers or House Managers will receive their own separate accommodation with all utility bills paid. It can be a life of luxury and an opportunity to travel the world.

You will be trusted with people’s privacy; often these people are in the public eye, but whether they are or not, you must be efficient, loyal and discreet. 

Although experience is the most important qualification, you can improve your chances of getting placed by a professional recruiter if you get some skills under your belt, particularly regarding etiquette. You will also have to be the kind of person who naturally considers others, who is good at anticipating people’s needs and is extremely organised and good at communicating.   

Some of the duties you’ll be expected to carry out as a Butler are as follows:

  • Diary management
  • Travel booking 
  • Social bookings (restaurants, guest parties etc)
  • Some driving 
  • Managing staff - some spreadsheet and office duties
  • Some cooking / meal preparing if chef or cook not present
  • Cellar management
  • Valeting / wardrobe management 
  • Silver service 
  • Antique and fine furniture experience 
  • Pet care

Take a look at our jobs page here for Butler or House Manager opportunities and don't forget to click here to create your candidate profile.