The International Spa Association (ISPA) and Global Wellness Institute recently reported that there are more than 40,000 spa management positions currently available in the U.S. and even more positions available for technical positions such as massage therapists, estheticians, and nail techs. Similarly, LinkedIN reports that there are over 19,000 salon management positions currently available and even more stylists jobs.
Why are there so many vacancies in beauty and wellness?
In short, the industry is not appealing to today’s candidates. According to an article by Michael Tompkins of Hutchinson Consulting, salon and spa staff feel overworked, underpaid, and underappreciated. There are also few education options dedicated to management and technical positions for candidates looking for career options, and the few that exist have seen skyrocketing tuitions. In response to these industry-wide concerns, the Beauty Changes Lives Foundation and the ISPA have joined forces to launch the Get Your Dream Job Campaign (www.getyourdreamjob.com) to elevate and celebrate careers in the beauty and wellness industries. The campaign is a a global call to action for spas and salons to promote beauty and wellness career opportunities and to inform potential candidates of education options and the availability of grants and scholarships. However, until this initiative is successful in shifting the public’s perception towards beauty and wellness jobs, you must ensure that your employee benefits make you a desirable destination for talented employees.
How to attract and retain qualified staff
With so many openings, management and technical positions at salons and spas are becoming increasingly competitive. Although many employers have begun offering signing bonuses, money alone does not seem to be enough incentive for today’s candidates. Instead, managers and service providers alike are seeking better work/life balance and fair working conditions that will keep them fresh and motivated. If you are looking to hire some new staff this year, or are just concerned with keeping your current employees, here are some pointers to consider (courtesy of Michael Tompkins):
- Require managers to take time off in order for them to spend time with family and improve their mental health. Having paid time off and being able to actually use that allotted time is the number one benefit salon and spa managers seek when looking for a new job.
- Encourage your management team to join professional affiliations and attend conferences and retreats in order for them to engage with their careers away from the salon or spa. This is where innovation is born that keeps your managers engaged and motivated.
- For service providers, a flexible schedule is key. The nature of beauty and wellness requires a lot of night and weekend work, when most providers would like to be with their family. Try making schedules that split weekend days to allow everyone at least one weekend day off per week. If that’s not possible, try at least offering shorter shifts for one weekend day a week.
- Booking order is also important to retaining your talented service providers. Make sure you have a clear, fair booking system with input from your employees so everyone is comfortable with the way they are booked.