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Hair and Beauty

The Job Market


Hair and beauty jobs are part of the personal services occupational group - which also includes personal care jobs.  

A large number of people are employed in this wide personal services occupational group in the Dudley, Sandwell, Walsall and Wolverhampton areas.  




  • Hair and beauty professionals can find employment in many businesses, including cruise ships, hotels and holiday resorts
  • Although this industry usually suffers less than others in difficult economic times, customer loyalty is vital so good customer care skills are increasingly important
  • Only a small percentage of workers are estimated to be self-employed, e.g. mobile beauty therapists, nail technicians or hairdressers who rent space in a salon. In a few specialist areas, however, the percentage is high, e.g. in the extremely competitive world of TV and filmhairdressers/make-up artists (NB mostly based in London)
  • Although some of the most well known hairdressers are male, few work or train in beauty therapy (around 2% of staff)but as the number of salons aimed at male customers grows, this might change - over £1 billion is spent on male groomingproducts each year


Beauty therapy, spas and nail services 


  • According to Habia, the beauty therapy industry has a yearly turnover of around £500 million and employs about 35,000 people in at least 8,000 businesses
  • More and more, beauty salons are moving away from only offering traditional treatments such as facials and manicures e.g. some businesses have become involved in complementary health therapy, nutritional advice and teeth whitening
  • The beauty therapy workforce is well qualified when it comes to vocational qualifications, and employers rarely take on people without them
  • Highly skilled therapists are in demand. 'Missing' skills include technical ones, such as laser hair removal and micro-dermabrasion (a non-surgical technique aiming to improve the skin's appearance), and business ones (especially selling skills)
  • Small, one-off salons make up the majority of businesses. There are a few franchises and chains although these tend to be based in leisure centres/gyms or department stores
  • Very occasionally, salons offer apprenticeships. At first, duties would involve reception, sterilising equipment, settling in the clients, etc rather than beauty-related tasks
  • There are around 400 spas in the UK and this is a growing sector - 'Spas' usually offer a wider range of treatments than beauty salons and so could offer varied work options. Some are situated in luxury hotels; others are stand-alones




  • The industry has changed over the last few years - the average salon now employs more staff (especially males) and, although most are still independent, nearly a quarter of businesses across the UK are estimated to be part of a chain or a franchise
  • A franchise is a bit like a chain in that the salon operates under a particular 'trade name' (which may be well-known) but the business outlet itself is owned by an individual
  • Barber shops (which specialise in cutting men's hair) tend to have fewer employees than hairdressing salons
  • Various skills are considered to be in short supply, including specialist ones such as hair extensions and chemical straightening, and business skills. Also, some experts feel that even after training not all young people - who make up a large percentage of new entrants, are ready for the pressures of a busy, commercial salon
  • Staffmight need to adapt their personal style as some brands have a certain 'look'