Hairdressing, Beauty and Wellbeing

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Would you enjoy helping people to look and feel good? Are you interested in developing your practical and creative skills? If so, this career area may be what you’re looking for.

There are 270,000 people working in this industry in the UK, across around 40,000 businesses.

Fashion trends and the development of new cosmetic, beauty and hair care products are important factors for change in the industry. Recent trends include an increase in male customers (in some areas), and increasing demand for anti-ageing treatments and products.

What areas can I work in?

This career area includes: hairdressing, barbering, salon management, beauty therapy, nail therapy, spa therapy, aromatherapy, reflexology, make-up artistry and body art (tattooing and piercing).

Related work is also available in other areas such as: reception (although online booking is growing in popularity in larger salons and salon chains), sales, marketing, and hospitality and tourism (in health spas and holiday resorts).

What kind of companies can I work for?

Possible employers include:

What’s the job market like?

This industry is dependent on how much money people have to spend once they have paid for the ‘essentials’, such as food and fuel bills.

According to the National Hairdressers Federation (NHF), the UK's largest trade union for hairdressing, barbering and beauty business owners, the industry remained vibrant throughout 2016, with the number of business increasing by 2% in the period August 2015 to August 2016.

There was a decrease in 5% of the number of people working in salons, suggesting a possible cut back on staff, but also indicating that the trend towards self-employment is continuing. This includes those that rent a chair or treatment room in a salon or provide mobile services.

Almost half the people working in hairdressing and barbering are self-employed, at 48%, and in beauty it is 57%.

The average number of full time employees per salon in Scotland in 2016 was 3, an increase of 1.2 on 2015 figures.

Facts and figures

Want to find out more?

You will find useful information on careers and qualifications in the industry on the Hair and Beauty Industry Authority (Habia) website. Habia is now part of the SkillsActive Group.

SkillsActive is the Sector Skills Council for Active Leisure, Learning and Well-being.


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