Hairdressing, Beauty and Wellbeing

Career Area Image

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.

Fashion trends and the development of new cosmetic, beauty and hair care products are important factors for change in the industry. The use of barber shops has been growing due to the trend for male grooming with beard grooming being very popular.

In 2019, there were 220,669 people working in this industry in the UK, across approximately 74,880 registered and unregistered businesses.

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).

To see the routes to getting into each of these sectors, take a look at our Career Pathway.

What kind of companies can I work for?

Possible employers include:

What’s the job market like?

The hair and beauty industry were one of the worst affected sectors by the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, and the overall turnover in this industry fell by 45%. With salons cutting hours and making redundancies, employee numbers fell by a fifth, with full time positions falling by a quarter. By the beginning of November 2020, one in 8 business had made redundancies as a result of COVID. The number of apprentices also saw a drop of almost 28%. Larger businesses have been the most vulnerable to the effects of the pandemic.

With continuing uncertainty in the current climate, there is little data available that predicts upturn in future employment, for the time being.

Due to the nature of this work, average salaries are low and levels of self employment are high. Over two thirds of hair and beauty enterprises are self employed or sole traders, with more than half having no employees.

Of the beauty services that are consumed in the UK, hair services make up the largest share, worth £6.3 billion in consumer spending.

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.



Courtesy of Lumia Spa Stirling

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