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Hair and Beauty

The Job Market

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The hair and beauty job market in general...

  • In 2007 there were 245,795 people working in the UK hair, beauty, nail and spa business.
  • The hair and beauty sector is currently predominantly a female industry - 90% of all employees are female.
  • This sector also has a high percentage of self-employed people - more than 42% of those working in the industry are self-employed.
  • Part-time work is also common amongst those employed in the industry.
  • Hair and beauty businesses are usually small - more than 93% of employees work in a business which has fewer than 10 employees.
  • Increasingly, jobs in this sector overlap - for example, hair salons offer a range of other treatments such as nail services or beauty treatments and spas offer a range of beauty treatments.

Beauty Therapy

  • Beauty therapists are not just employed in beauty salons and clinics, many are self-employed and there are estimated to be 947 mobile beauty therapists. There are also 13,107 beauty salons in the UK.
  • In addition, beauty therapists can find employment in leisure clubs, spas, hotels, health farms or overseas working on board a cruise ship, at a holiday destination or for a major airline.
  • With further training, beauty therapists may move into the more specialised and advanced treatment areas such as Botox and dermal filling.


  • There are around 36,000 salons in the UK employing around 180,000 people. A further 100,000 hairdressers are in training.
  • There are also 302 African-Caribbean hair salons and 2,968 barbers' shops.
  • African-Caribbean hairdressing is a specialist area and is concentrated often in city and urban areas.
  • In addition, hairdressers can gain employment in lots of other places including hotels, hospitals and care homes, cruise liners and film and photographic studios. Self-employment is common for experienced hairdressers.

Nail Technicians

  • The number of nail technicians has been growing over the past decade and it is now estimated that around 17,000 UK businesses employ nail technicians.
  • Don't just think about specialist nail salons and nail bars - there are also a range of hair and beauty salons and spas offering nail treatments as well as large department stores, hospitals and luxury hotels.
  • Many nail technicians are self-employed and may run a mobile business.
  • There are also opportunities to work overseas in spas, hotels and on cruise ships.
  • A few technicians work with photographers and fashion designers, producing spectacular nails for photo shoots or fashion shows.
  • With further training and qualifications, nail technicians may go into beauty therapy or spa therapy.

Spa Therapists

  • There are around 400 spas in the UK and this is a growing sector.
  • Spa therapists can gain employment not only in day, medical and residential spas, but also in the spas that are part of the facilities on offer at holiday resorts, hotels, fitness centres and health farms.
  • There are also opportunities overseas.

Figures from: Habia Industry Statistics Factsheet - Habia November 2008.