Groundbreaking report shows beauty and hair contributes £6.6bn to UK economy

A first-of-its-kind report has demonstrated the value of the hair and beauty sector to the UK economy, with the aim of proving the need for mandatory regulation.

The “Economic Impact Assessment Report of the Hair and Beauty Sector on the UK Economy” report was produced by the Hair & Barber Council in partnership with Babtac.

The aim was to show the UK Government how much money the hair and beauty industry brings to the UK economy in order to highlight the need for mandatory licencing to ensure high standards and adequate protection is given to consumers now and in the future.

The report, which was launched yesterday (May 22) at the Houses of Parliament, also found that the sector comprises more than 49,371 businesses employing almost 337,000 people.

The associations said this is the first report into the sector to be peer reviewed and the first to use PAYE data rather than estimating figures based solely on surveys.

Babtac chair Lesley Blair said, “Lack of regulation in the industry has meant that establishing the value of this sector has been very difficult in the past but is a key figure that the UK Government has been keen to establish for years. Expert research teams from Cardiff University have now been able to identify the industry’s worth and a contribution of £6.6 billion is incredible. I am confident that once influencers are aware of the significant contribution that our industry is making, they will sit up and take us seriously and listen to our requirements for a self-regulation framework.”

Key findings of the economic value report

* Between 286,889 and 337,687 people were employed by the UK hair and beauty sector across 49,371 businesses in 2017

Economic Value:
* Between £5.6 billion and £6.6 billion was the total gross value added generated by the UK hair and beauty sector in 2017
* The gross value added per worker in the UK was estimated to be £19,398 in 2017

* Over 16,000 apprenticeships in hair and beauty were undertaken in the UK during 2017 and 2018

Key recommendations of the economic value report

Introduce mandatory licensing
* The UK government should introduce mandatory licencing of hairdressers, barbers and the beauty sector throughout the UK

Include hair and beauty in the Creative Industries Sector Deal
* The hair and beauty sector should be rightly recognised as a creative industry by the UK Government and as a Foundational economy sector in Wales and given the associated support it needs to continue to thrive.

Improve hair and beauty careers advice
* The UK Government should improve careers advice to accurately represent the realities and excellent professional opportunities available. We also call on Ministers and policymakers to reflect this in the comments they make about careers in the sector.

Separately, an all-party parliamentary group (APPG) has been established to represent the aesthetics industry in Government in recognition of the challenges facing the sector.