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  • 9.3% of the workforce is classed as managers and senior officials, with the majority working as hairdressers and beauty salon managers and proprietors.
  • 82% of the workforce is in personal service occupations, with 62.6% working as hairdressers and barbers, and 19.3% working as beauticians and related occupations.
  • 3.5% of the workforce is in administrative and secretarial occupations.
  • All other occupations are minimally represented in the sector.

Source: Habia Skills Needs Assessment 2007

Technical skills gaps

  • Hairdressing – Indian head massage, hair extensions, plaiting and braiding, chemical straightening
  • Barbering – shaving, face massage, scalp massage, relaxing
  • African Caribbean Hair – background knowledge of skin and hair, creating 2D and 3D patterns, beauty therapy treatments, Indian head massage, facial treatments and massage, lacing, wigs, plaiting and braiding, lacing, cap weaving
  • Beauty therapy – laser/IPL hair removal, nail art, micro-dermabrasion, ear candles, stone therapy, teeth whitening, cellulite programmes
  • Nail services – airbrushing, gel nail systems, wrap nail systems, self-tanning, Indian head massage, make-up services, eyelash perming
  • Spa therapy – hot stone therapy, shiatsu/acupressure, laser/IPL hair removal, Thai massage, non-surgical facelifts, spa cuisine

Source: Habia Skills Needs Assessment 2007


Salary averages do not show the full range of earnings in this sector. Trainee hairdressers will earn around the National Minimum Wage whilst the most successful hairdressers can earn more than £30,000 per year. Wages are also dependent on the nature of the job, the qualifications and experience of the employee and the location of their workplace. As a general guide, average gross earnings, are:

  • Full-time hairdressers and barbers earn £249.20, part-time workers earn £125.40
  • Full-time beauticians and related occupations earn £269.30, part-time workers earn £129.50

Source: Habia Skills Foresight for the hair and beauty sector 2007

Career pathways and occupational progression

There may be opportunities to progress to management or, for beauticians, into a larger store or busier environment to develop their skills, knowledge and experience.

HABIA describes possible career pathways and occupational progression on a map. According to a chosen pathway potential career developments can be discussed. These maps are available for:

Occupational roles and sources of information

The National Careers Service website has detailed occupational profiles for the hair and beauty in General and personal services. Some selected profiles include: Beauty Therapist; Body Piercer; Hairdresser; and Nail Technician. These occupational profiles include information on entry points, training, working environment, employment opportunities and expected annual salary.

Careersbox has films of those working in the hairdressing sector. Films are from those already working in the sector offering an insight into what it is like and what their role involves.