Introduction to the Hairdressing
The hairdressing industry in Australia is characterised by a substantial number of small businesses providing unique and complex hairdressing services to clients on a one-to-one basis. The industry suffers high rates of attrition and is nationally recognised as suffering skill shortages. Over recent years the industry has experienced significant structural change with closures and mergers leading to a rationalisation of the number of operators.
The industry has a very high business failure rate. Having significant hairdressing and creative skills is not sufficient to achieve financial success; these skills need to be complemented with basic business skills. The franchising of operators has provided a new growth cycle to the industry and is expected to continue in the short term. The industry is now attracting global operators, particularly from the UK, who are also expected shortly to come from the USA.
The hairdressing industry is expected to continue growing, at least within the next five years, as the expected strong rate of economic growth leads to growth in household disposable incomes, which in turn will drive increased spending on hairdressing products and services. Over this period, it is expected that there will continue to be further restructuring of hairdressing businesses towards the establishment of full service salons for male and female clients, with the traditional barber shops becoming insignificant in numbers.
Historically the hairdressing industry has focused the breadth of its services on females, with male clients opting for haircutting, beard and moustache cutting, and design and shaving services. Over recent years however, adolescent and adult males have become increasingly active consumers of a broad range of skin and hair care products and services. This is evidenced by the increasing number of male clients who now regularly have chemical services such as hair colouring and lightening and who use hair styling and texture enhancing products on a daily basis.
Hairdressers require high level skills and knowledge to support the breadth of services provided. Key services include haircutting, hair design, hair colouring and chemical reformation. The vast majority of businesses provide a full range of services to both male and female clients, however there are some salons that choose to exclusively offer a limited range of services as their core business activity. Haircutting only and men's-only hairdressing salons are examples in this category.
While full service salons represent the core of the industry, many of these salons cater for growing consumer demand by offering specialist services.
On completion of formal training many operators are choosing a specialist pathway such as colourist or stylist. This allows the operator to maintain a high level of skills in a service area where fashion and technology are constantly changing.
Training for the hairdressing industry has traditionally been undertaken on the job and off the job through apprenticeship training. Accredited institutional training is also available full and part time through private and/or public RTOs in some States and Territories. There has also been significant growth in the provision of VET in schools programs in hairdressing in some States.
Hairdressing offers a range of pathways and delivery modes including:
- Apprenticeship training using integrated on- and off-the-job training and leading to a Certificate III in Hairdressing. This pathway requires the apprentice to be employed by a qualified hairdresser.
- Apprenticeship training completed totally on-the-job and leading to a Certificate III in Hairdressing. In such cases learners must be enrolled with a Registered Training Organisation. This pathway requires the apprentice to be employed by a qualified hairdresser.
- Full-time or part-time training with a Registered Training Organisation. This pathway requires the learner to complete appropriate industry-based experience during the course of delivery. Refer to the Assessment Guidelines for additional information.
Source Department of Education, employment and workplace relations, SIH11 Hairdressing Training package 2011, p. 37