The Changing Face of Beauty Recruitment

The nature of beauty recruitment is changing! Given that the UK has been under the effects of a prolonged recession this is hardly ground breaking news but it's the nature of the changes to beauty recruitment that are of interest. Far from seeing soaring levels of unemployment what we've seen instead is an increase in the number of part time, zero hours contracts and temporary beauty jobs together with an increase in the number of self employment opportunities.

What the beauty industry has proved is that its employers together with the professionals that work in it are both resilient and versatile.

Increase in zero hours contracts 

When the economy first started to falter and salons saw subsequent drop in client bookings they sensibly turned an eye towards trimming their running costs. Under particular scrutiny came staff wages and the practice of automatically hiring full time replacements when therapists left salon employment. What many employers latched onto was that they could employ therapists in a zero hours contract basis meaning that during busy period with full columns they can staff accordingly with a full team but not have to carry these elevated staffing levels throughout quieter times. 

Therapists recruited in this way do so on the understanding that their hours cannot be guaranteed, hence the rather scarily named 'zero hour' contracts. Any therapist entering into this sort of contract is typically out of work or otherwise working part time and looking for additional hours to supplement. Typically zero hour contracts require that the therapist is highly flexible with regards to the hours they work. 

Increase in temporary spa and beauty jobs 

It used to be that temping was only associated with office admin, secretarial and clerical work. Thankfully now however beauty employers have bought into the usefulness of  hiring beauty therapist temps and the industry has risen to the challenge with the creation of specialist beauty temping agencies. What's vital to the beauty employer is that the beauty therapist temps are well trained and equipped to step in at a moments notice to cover in the event of the salons permanent workforce being absent due to sickness, holiday leave or some other reason.

The beauty temp agency will typically trade test therapists wanting to go on their books to ensure they can deliver quality treatments. The therapist will also have to undergo an in depth interview to establish what treatments they can offer, products they've worked with and what hours they can typically offer up and in what area. 

The employer benefits by having a trained member of staff who has already passed a selection and interview process enter their salon and save customer appointments from being cancelled. In addition, the hire fee is temporary and doesn't involve them carrying unnecessary long term employment costs. For the temping therapist it saves them from being labeled as unemployed, gives them complete flexibility with their working hours and gives them valuable experience of working in different spa and salon environments.

It often also increases their chances of being offered full time employment. Many beauty temps have been offered work by their 'temporary' employers impressed by their efforts. And as the saying goes it's often easier to find work when you can specify you're in current employment.

Increase in Self Employment Opportunities

What many salon owners have done since the recession is take a close look at their businesses and identify ways in which they can diversify as well as maximise the productivity of their business. If through this exercise the salon owner has seen that certain beauty rooms are under-utilised they may look to hire the room out to a therapist looking to start their own beauty business. Likewise, if there's an awkward empty space within a hair salon the owner may look to put in a work station suitable for a self employed nail technician; so bringing them in a regular rental fee as well as offering their hairdressing clients another service.

These opportunities make self employment a realistic option for therapists and other beauty professionals as the rental fees are normally pretty affordable and the therapist can set up their business within a salon that has waiting clientele and hopefully good passing trade without the normal set up costs normally associated with achieving this. If they're lucky they'll also be able to take advantage of front of house reception and telephone enquiries support as well as piggy back off the success of any marketing initiatives that the salon undertakes.

In conclusion

What this tells us about the beauty industry is that it's business owners are versatile and able to change their usual recruitment practices in response to negative external economic factors in a way that benefits their businesses bottom line whilst at the same time creating the all important career opportunities within the industry.

And what it shows in the professionals that work within our industry is that they're highly flexible, inventive and passionate about the industry they work in to embrace change in a bid to better their careers

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