Understanding Job Roles Within a Hair Salon

If we look at some of the more common job roles within the salon they are:

Shampooist –

This title speaks for itself and is often just a Saturday position and involves the obvious shampooing but usually also includes sweeping up the hair, tea and coffee making and cleaning too.  No qualification is needed for this position and you don’t have to be working towards becoming a hairdresser it's usually just a job for a young person who wants to earn extra pocket money.

Junior/assistant/apprentice  –

This is a trainee position and the person with either of these titles (they all mean the same thing!) will usually be working towards their NVQ level 2 to become a fully fledged stylist.

Junior stylist/graduate Stylist –

these again mean the same thing, if you have any of these titles you will have recently completed your NVQ2 and possibly be working towards your level 3. You will now be working at the lowest price range for cutting hair.

Stylist –

this is usually the second price range as you will have now gained some experience (usually at least 6 months) of cutting hair without the constant guidance that you'd have become used to as an assistant.

Senior stylist/top stylist –

This is usually only given when you have had a few years experience in all round hairdressing.

There are many more job titles across different salons such as designers, artistic directors, artistic consultants, creative directors etc, there are lots of variations and lots of them mean the same thing. Usually they are given for the amount of experience you have in the industry but occasionally they are given without being deserved i.e. if someone had been loyal to a certain company for a number of years and someone else is new to the company but is far more experienced sometimes that new person could end up with a lesser title due to loyalty which is in my opinion defeating the object of the title system in the first place! This does not always happen; there are plenty of salons with amazing stylists that truly deserve those titles!

In my experience the only job titles that you know have been correctly given are the lower ones because anything above a stylist could be a matter of opinion!! – As I said before though this is not always!!!

The highest priced title is usually the salon owner which in my opinion is totally crazy and I actually can't believe that people buy into it – why would someone think that because a person owns a salon they are going to give a better haircut??! There could be someone else working there who has either many years more experience or is just a better hairdresser and could give an amazing haircut!

The trainees are obviously the people who are starting out in the profession and are usually the hardest workers! As they say ‘you have to start somewhere’ well in hairdressing you pretty much start with being a general dog’s body!! All the horrid jobs after the shampooing and other hairdressing related tasks such as mixing colours and sometimes applying them too,  there’s lots of cleaning to be done, tea and coffee making, general tidying, reception duties, and generally keeping everybody happy – you will never work harder than when you are training but its all worth it in the end!

Most of the time trainees are treated with respect and stylists are grateful to have their help but sometimes the stylists seem to forget that they were once in that position and expect far too much from them and in stressful busy times can treat them a bit harshly and even be quite rude to them (I must admit you do get some lazy ones who don’t really want to be there and you really do have to want to be a hairdresser to get through this time in your career!) – I have never done this as I think they deserve respect – after all they keep the salon running and without them we would have to work an awful lot harder! This is not the case across the board though; it’s just there always seems to be someone in the salon who has forgotten what it was like!

Throughout the many other job titles in the salon there’s usually no problems but sometimes you may find one or two who think they are better than the rest and cause some friction but this can happen without the name tags anyway because if there’s going to be a problem between colleagues there will be regardless of who has what title!

Most price ranges just apply to cutting and then colouring will be the same price throughout the different stylists but you might sometimes find there’s a difference in price for all the other services offered as well – I personally think that this should be the case as somebody with more experience may be better at the more complex colouring jobs than someone who has recently qualified. Some salons have separate colourists who don’t cut hair at all but most salons stylists are all rounders and should be experienced in all aspects of hairdressing.

Some salons have receptionists and others cope without, I have worked in both situations and feel that its always better and certainly more professional to have a designated receptionist, it also stops some of the extremely common problems in the salon that seem to arise when stylists answer calls and ‘steal’ others clients or for example, book all new clients in with themselves! This does happen a lot and can cause a lot of trouble within the salon and it can lead to an awkward atmosphere between certain team members. If there’s a receptionist they normally distribute new clients in a fair and even way between the stylists although sometimes you may need to be nice to this colleague or you might not get any clients!!

All in all most of the different levels throughout the salon are nice to each other and respect each others positions within the work place but occasionally problems do occur in some salons. In my opinion if everybody went into work in the morning with a professional attitude (as they should do!) it shouldn’t matter whether you are a salon manager or a shampooist you should all treat each other with the respect you all deserve in your different roles. All of the job roles that hold the salon together as a professional establishment are important and if we all have this attitude the work place is a really good fun sociable environment to be in!


View our latest hair job roles

Visit the career hub to view hairdressing job profiles in detail

Back to listing