The beauty and hair industry shakes off its low wage reputation

The beauty and hair industry is shaking off its low wage reputation with therapists, barbers and stylists earning well above the National Minimum or National Living Wage, according to new research by the National Hairdressers’ Federation.

The poll found, on average, that beauty therapists earn between £7.28 and £8.04 an hour, and that high salaries of £30,000 or more are available to experienced staff working in larger salons, particularly in London and the South East.

Hair stylists with more than two years’ experience are paid between £8.02 and £9.17 an hour, with experienced barbers paid between £8.07 and £8.90 an hour.

The National Living Wage for over-25s is currently £7.20 an hour.

Three quarters (74.8%) of business owners also said that they pay staff commission and more than half (56.2%) pay bonuses on top of base salaries, suggesting that the industry’s reputation for poor or low wages may be unjustified.

Apprentices are also receiving above the minimum apprenticeship rate of £3.40 an hour, earning on average of £4.11 to £4.36 an hour, the survey revealed.  

“Beauty salons and barber shops have been in the spotlight around low pay in recent years. For salons that are breaking the law and failing to pay staff their legal minimum that is only right – there are no excuses for not paying people what they legally due,” says NHF chief executive Hilary Hall.

“But this survey shows that our industry’s reputation for low pay is unfounded. Many salons pay their staff well above the minimum, whether that’s the National Minimum Wage or the National Living Wage.”

NHF president Agnes Leonard added: “It’s positive to see that so many salons are now recognising the value and worth of their talented team members. We need to shake off this image of hairdressing, barbering and beauty as a low pay industry, otherwise we will fail to attract talented and creative people into the industry – yet they are our future.”

You can read the full report here.