New stats indicate recruitment crisis for salons

Some 82% of beauty, hairdressing and barbering employers said that recruiting qualified and experienced staff is either "very difficult" or "difficult", according to new stats from the National Hairdressers Federation (NHF).

The NHF carried out a survey carried out in June this year and discovered that reruitment is particularly difficult for businesses in rural locations. 

Employers reported that recruiting apprentices is also tough. Around one third of survey respondents pay their apprentices more than the National Minimum Wage but 33% still find recruiting apprentices "very difficult" and 39% find it "difficult" in their area.

The employers surveyed also said college training courses don’t equip college leavers with the technical and social skills employers need. 

Some employers acknowledged that potential trainees are being put off by the perception of hairdressing, barbering and beauty as low pay industries (16%) and a few even acknowledged that they are often branded as "dead-end" career choices (8%).

The chief executive of the NHF, Hilary Hall, said: ‘Wages are already increasing rapidly due to the National Living Wage, but employers may have no option but to pay more if they want to attract the right people into their business and keep them there. Increasing competition from other employers, coupled with a shortage of people looking for work, is creating a recruitment crisis across the UK for our industry.’

The recruitment crisis is not unique to hair and beauty. Estimates from the Labour Force Survey (June 2017) showed that over the last six months the number of people in work has increased and the employment rate – the proportion of people aged 16 to 24 who are in work – is at its highest since 1971.

The NHF has also highlighted recent research from the Local Data Company, which showed that beauty salons, nail bars, barbers, and combined hair and beauty salons are all in the top 10 of new businesses opening. So, as well as a shortage of people looking for employment, there are also more employers competing with each other for staff with the right skills.