Is there a recruitment crisis/shortage of beauty therapists?

TheEnglishAromatherapist

The English Aromatherapist
#1
I'd love to hear your thoughts on BOTH sides of this debate - employers and employees.

Recently, there has been a lot of talk about a recruitment crisis in the beauty industry. Apparently a shortage of qualified therapists means that salons and spas literally "can't get the staff".

The cause has been blamed on many things: from poor quality training courses to the rise of beauty treatment apps. Plus, many therapists are only working in salons for a short time before leaving to go mobile or work from home.

Personally, I'm not surprised that so many therapists are leaving, because - in my experience - so many of them are overworked, underpaid and not treated well in salons. Going mobile gives therapists flexibility, freedom to choose their own hours, freedom over their treatments, and the potential to earn much more.

I published a post on my blog this week about this issue ( I won't post the link as I don't think I am allowed) - but I would love to hear your thoughts or experiences about this.
 

Scrubadub

Active Member
#2
I work in a salon and I am struggling financially with the pay, I wanted full time hours but they didn’t have them and I didn’t have any other choice at the time but to take it so now I’m applying for jobs in administration as I’m qualified and experienced in it. I love beauty but it doesn’t pay enough
 

#3
I worked in a salon years ago and they insisted it was a self employed basis (the money was good but I didn't feel secure and with good reason) I brought the clients with me and when I got preg my hours were cut and I was pushed out , I then set up from home and was harrassed and threatened because my own clients naturally followed but this was years ago I presume the rules might have changed now but some salon owners I worked for treated us terribly . I am just going back into it and id only work for myself at my own place and if I ever did ever work in a salon again I'd only work for an owner who was a qualified therapist too And cared about their staff x
 

#4
I’ve only ever worked for myself and now have my own salon and employ. We haven’t overly struggled finding staff, but have had to do a lot of basic training to bring them up to speed. We do it completely by the book - proper wage slips, appraisals, holiday pay, pensions and so on. We’re competing with salons that advertise for “staff” and go on to say “this is on a self employed basis”. There is a lot of ignorance around employment and self employment. Those salons that say staff are self employed need to be very careful. If you tell them what time to come in, what to wear and so on and generally treat them like staff, they can actually take you to a tribunal where you may well end up having to pay them back pay at NMW, holiday pay, pension and so on. It’s not enough to say “you’re self employed”. It has to be a reality.

I also look on here and every five minutes there is someone who has just set up self employed and is asking how to get clients. It’s an endless circle of therapists seeing what clients pay in a salon, seeing what they get paid and thinking “I could do this myself and get £25 for gel nails rather than £10”. They think all it takes is an advert in a window and they’ll be busy. The reality is, those clients are going somewhere. You have to make them want to come to you. If you can’t, you then end up with hugely discounted treatments and therapists often working for themselves for below minimum wage, not taking into account their costs, budgeting, overheads etc.

I invest in my staff, time, money and training and I say to them “you’ll never have a better boss than me”. To date, not one has left

Vic x
 

TheEnglishAromatherapist

The English Aromatherapist
#5
I work in a salon and I am struggling financially with the pay, I wanted full time hours but they didn’t have them and I didn’t have any other choice at the time but to take it so now I’m applying for jobs in administration as I’m qualified and experienced in it. I love beauty but it doesn’t pay enough
Sorry to hear that. It's so difficult isn't it, and such a shame to see qualified therapists having to leave the industry they love.
 

TheEnglishAromatherapist

The English Aromatherapist
#6
I worked in a salon years ago and they insisted it was a self employed basis (the money was good but I didn't feel secure and with good reason) I brought the clients with me and when I got preg my hours were cut and I was pushed out , I then set up from home and was harrassed and threatened because my own clients naturally followed but this was years ago I presume the rules might have changed now but some salon owners I worked for treated us terribly . I am just going back into it and id only work for myself at my own place and if I ever did ever work in a salon again I'd only work for an owner who was a qualified therapist too And cared about their staff x
Sorry to hear that! I don't know why some salon managers feel they can bully their staff like that.
 

TheEnglishAromatherapist

The English Aromatherapist
#7
I’ve only ever worked for myself and now have my own salon and employ. We haven’t overly struggled finding staff, but have had to do a lot of basic training to bring them up to speed. We do it completely by the book - proper wage slips, appraisals, holiday pay, pensions and so on. We’re competing with salons that advertise for “staff” and go on to say “this is on a self employed basis”. There is a lot of ignorance around employment and self employment. Those salons that say staff are self employed need to be very careful. If you tell them what time to come in, what to wear and so on and generally treat them like staff, they can actually take you to a tribunal where you may well end up having to pay them back pay at NMW, holiday pay, pension and so on. It’s not enough to say “you’re self employed”. It has to be a reality.

I also look on here and every five minutes there is someone who has just set up self employed and is asking how to get clients. It’s an endless circle of therapists seeing what clients pay in a salon, seeing what they get paid and thinking “I could do this myself and get £25 for gel nails rather than £10”. They think all it takes is an advert in a window and they’ll be busy. The reality is, those clients are going somewhere. You have to make them want to come to you. If you can’t, you then end up with hugely discounted treatments and therapists often working for themselves for below minimum wage, not taking into account their costs, budgeting, overheads etc.

I invest in my staff, time, money and training and I say to them “you’ll never have a better boss than me”. To date, not one has left

Vic x
Yes, I agree with all your points. Great to hear there are some fab bosses out there! :)
 

Scrubadub

Active Member
#8
Sorry to hear that. It's so difficult isn't it, and such a shame to see qualified therapists having to leave the industry they love.
If I can get my own work to pick up to make up the hours then I will do that and hopefully I won’t have to leave, I’m tired of being worried about money all the time
 

House Beauty

Active Member
#9
I'd love to hear your thoughts on BOTH sides of this debate - employers and employees.

Recently, there has been a lot of talk about a recruitment crisis in the beauty industry. Apparently a shortage of qualified therapists means that salons and spas literally "can't get the staff".

The cause has been blamed on many things: from poor quality training courses to the rise of beauty treatment apps. Plus, many therapists are only working in salons for a short time before leaving to go mobile or work from home.

Personally, I'm not surprised that so many therapists are leaving, because - in my experience - so many of them are overworked, underpaid and not treated well in salons. Going mobile gives therapists flexibility, freedom to choose their own hours, freedom over their treatments, and the potential to earn much more.

I published a post on my blog this week about this issue ( I won't post the link as I don't think I am allowed) - but I would love to hear your thoughts or experiences about this.

My background is in recruitment actually.

As someone that started out with a couple of day courses before doing full qualifications, it’s definitely a massive pool of potential staff that salons cut out simply because they think they are scum. It really depends on what you do with your learning. I know level 3 massage therapists that don’t know what a spine is (exaggeration but you get it). When I started out I was intent on knowing everything, Anatomy and Physiology, constantly updated my training manuals..then a woman in one of my other classes was doing acrylic nails unqualified for £5 and burning people’s eyes with poorly done lashes and pouring lash remover in their eyes. It’s down to the person, not their level.

Rather than cutting out anyone without a level qualification I’d bet good money you’d get a brilliant employee from a mature student that’s done a day course and wants to learn.. send them on training courses or apprenticeships, let them perform treatments that they are qualified in (obviously not those that need other qualifications) and end up with a star employee.
 
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Stefm80

New Member
#10
I've been looking at job adverts and it appears that no-one will touch me until I've got my level 3 Beauty qualification (I'm currently studying level 2) and I need at least 1 years experience. How do you get the experience if no-one is willing to hire you. It's a vicious circle.
 

Scrubadub

Active Member
#11
I've been looking at job adverts and it appears that no-one will touch me until I've got my level 3 Beauty qualification (I'm currently studying level 2) and I need at least 1 years experience. How do you get the experience if no-one is willing to hire you. It's a vicious circle.
I got my job with a level 2, they wanted a level 3! Just explain how willing you are to learn and if you have a job now then say that as life experience is great
 

#12
I've been looking at job adverts and it appears that no-one will touch me until I've got my level 3 Beauty qualification (I'm currently studying level 2) and I need at least 1 years experience. How do you get the experience if no-one is willing to hire you. It's a vicious circle.
My full timer joined me to do her work placement for college - 30 hours unpaid from memory. She was fabulous (18 years old and no experience). She then stayed on and worked doing all her level 2 treatments whilst doing her level 3 qualification. She is brilliant! I have also been approached by two level 2 students looking for placements. They have lost emails, don’t reply and have generally been a bit rubbish.
I would gladly take on a level two who is committed and works hard. There are salons out there.

Good luck

Vic x
 

Stefm80

New Member
#13
I got my job with a level 2, they wanted a level 3! Just explain how willing you are to learn and if you have a job now then say that as life experience is great
That’s good to know thank you!!
 

Scrubadub

Active Member
#14
That’s good to know thank you!!
No problem, the salon has also sent me on a couple of courses for bits they wanted me to learn that wasn’t covered at college
 

Stefm80

New Member
#15
My full timer joined me to do her work placement for college - 30 hours unpaid from memory. She was fabulous (18 years old and no experience). She then stayed on and worked doing all her level 2 treatments whilst doing her level 3 qualification. She is brilliant! I have also been approached by two level 2 students looking for placements. They have lost emails, don’t reply and have generally been a bit rubbish.
I would gladly take on a level two who is committed and works hard. There are salons out there.

Good luck

Vic x

It’s good to know that people are will to hire someone with no experience. I’m hoping that at 38 years old my life experience and the fact that I’ve worked since I was 16 will help me. I’m willing to work from the bottom up, I will even consider an apprenticeship if it will help me.
 

TheDuchess

Active Member
#16
I have several older trainees with varying training routes. It's worked very well so far. What's important is dedication and passionate interest, plus willingness to work hard.

I offered a level 2 work placement to a Mum of primary school children. She needed quite a lot of support initially and lacked confidence. I offered her paid work during school hours whilst she was studying level 3 and now that she's qualified she is doing welI. It's been a bit of an investment of time and money but I'm really happy - she's turning into the asset I hoped she'd be.

I took on a 28 year old apprentice in the summer. She's a Mum to a preschooler. Sadly she couldn't cope with the minimum hours commitment so we tore up the apprentice agreement and she stayed on as a trainee with a much reduced hourly commitment. She's since made excellent progress and has completed several level 2 modules.

I now have a 47 year old apprentice. She's been working (elsewhere) in beauty for a year unqualified so she's picked up some bad habits - but she's so keen to learn and so happy to have the chance.
 

#17
My background is in recruitment actually.

As someone that started out with a couple of day courses before doing full qualifications, it’s definitely a massive pool of potential staff that salons cut out simply because they think they are scum. It really depends on what you do with your learning. I know level 3 massage therapists that don’t know what a spine is (exaggeration but you get it). When I started out I was intent on knowing everything, Anatomy and Physiology, constantly updated my training manuals..then a woman in one of my other classes was doing acrylic nails unqualified for £5 and burning people’s eyes with poorly done lashes and pouring lash remover in their eyes. It’s down to the person, not their level.

Rather than cutting out anyone without a level qualification I’d bet good money you’d get a brilliant employee from a mature student that’s done a day course and wants to learn.. send them on training courses or apprenticeships, let them perform treatments that they are qualified in (obviously not those that need other qualifications) and end up with a star employee.
I was that mature student!

I pretty much took the path you mentioned more borne out of a personal interest than as a career plan. There is something that comes with the security of later life, a bit of breathing space, an opportunity to persue something you feel passionately about without the pressure of having to make a living from it.

I felt for the youngsters I trained alongside who needed to make enough income for rent, their young children, their car... Looking at the majority of employment offers I can see that they will need to put in a lot of hours. It's sad to see so many employers asking for qualifications and yet only offering minimum wage. I don't think there is a shortage of qualified therapists, I think there are a lack of job opportunities that pay enough to attract their interest. They have financial responsibilities to cover that the wage offers just don't match.

On the issue of qualifications, I only did qualifications to level 2 and then went elsewhere to get more defined training in the particular products and equipment I was interested in, I don't think that's particularly unusual in the beauty industry. Yet if I browse the job market I see that recruiters just want the level 3 qualification. They are missing a trick in exactly the way you describe.
Example; I specifically wanted to qualify in toe nail reconstructions and that is not in any generic level 3 that I'm aware of! There are limited products designed to do this properly and safely and I chose to train directly with the most prestigious of those. I did my research and invested my training funds accordingly. Whilst I technically don't hold a level 3 I am just as qualified but my certification is more diverse. When I looked into level 3 it just didn't move me as far as I wanted from level 2 content, it looked too much like 'more of the same' and I wanted other skills that weren't included.

I'm not convinced that employers have really embraced this diversity. Asking for level 3 is just playing it safe and dispensing with the task of having to research the value of alternative qualifications. In short, it's pretty lazy.

Thankfully I'm just happy working part time from home but I do feel some concern for those who need more than that. A mine field of contractless 'self employed' positions, the gamble of in house training quality, the possibility of having to juggle with more than one job to make up hours, the long hours needed to make a living... It's no surprise that going mobile or working from home are considered the better option by so many.
 

thatangie

New Member
#18
I've been looking at job adverts and it appears that no-one will touch me until I've got my level 3 Beauty qualification (I'm currently studying level 2) and I need at least 1 years experience. How do you get the experience if no-one is willing to hire you. It's a vicious circle.
If possible, ask salons in your area if you can work for them free once a week or a few hours on a Saturday doing manicures or basic facials or something. This will help you get experience and show future employers your dedication (giving up your time to advance yourself for free in order to get firmly into your chosen career) x
 

thatangie

New Member
#19
It’s good to know that people are will to hire someone with no experience. I’m hoping that at 38 years old my life experience and the fact that I’ve worked since I was 16 will help me. I’m willing to work from the bottom up, I will even consider an apprenticeship if it will help me.
Definitely put all this into a cover letter when you approach salons. It will help you stand out. Salon owners are looking for good people (which you sound like!) and they can train you to their standards anyway x
 

thatangie

New Member
#20
I have several older trainees with varying training routes. It's worked very well so far. What's important is dedication and passionate interest, plus willingness to work hard.

I offered a level 2 work placement to a Mum of primary school children. She needed quite a lot of support initially and lacked confidence. I offered her paid work during school hours whilst she was studying level 3 and now that she's qualified she is doing welI. It's been a bit of an investment of time and money but I'm really happy - she's turning into the asset I hoped she'd be.

I took on a 28 year old apprentice in the summer. She's a Mum to a preschooler. Sadly she couldn't cope with the minimum hours commitment so we tore up the apprentice agreement and she stayed on as a trainee with a much reduced hourly commitment. She's since made excellent progress and has completed several level 2 modules.

I now have a 47 year old apprentice. She's been working (elsewhere) in beauty for a year unqualified so she's picked up some bad habits - but she's so keen to learn and so happy to have the chance.
So true. Passion will get you everywhere! :)
 
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