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This page provides information and data on the Hairdressing sector, which is one component of the Personal Service industry.

The Hairdressing sector includes a range of hair-related services, such as hair cutting, colouring and styling, as well as facial hair grooming. As of May 2017, 54,400 people were employed as Hairdressers in Australia, with that number expected to grow to 58,200 by May 2022.

Nationally recognised training for Hairdressing is delivered under the SHB Hairdressing and Beauty Services Training Package.

For information on beauty services, see Beauty.

Information sourced from the Personal Services IRC's 2018 Skills Forecast (forthcoming).

All data sources are available at the end of the page.

IRC and Skills Forecasts

Personal Services IRC

Employment trends

Employment snapshot

As detailed employment information is unavailable for this sector, employment levels for Hairdressers have been used as a proxy. Employment levels for Hairdressers trended upwards overall between 2000 and 2018, though there has been variability. Between 2008 and 2011 employment fell from approximately 63,000 to around 46,400, before rising to over 66,000 in 2012. Employment for Hairdressers was approximately 67,500 in 2018 and is projected to reach 68,900 by 2023. Hairdressers make up over 58% of the related Hairdressing and Beauty Services industry workforce.

Training trends

Training snapshot

Program enrolments and completions in Hairdressing-related qualifications fell between 2014 and 2016, rising to 24,043 enrolments in 2017. Most qualifications in this area are at the certificate II (5,898) or III level (16,903), with relatively few enrolments at levels above this. Most enrolments in 2017 were for hairdressing or salon assistant-related qualifications, rather than barbering or salon management.

Enrolments in this sector were split between TAFE institutions (49%) and private training providers (43%), with higher-level qualifications in salon management or leadership more likely to be delivered by private training providers (93%). Most enrolments were Commonwealth and state funded (84%). In 2017, the largest proportion of enrolments in this sector were by students in Victoria (34 %) and Queensland (24%).

Apprentice and trainee commencements and completions in this sector fell between 2010 and 2016, though the rate of decline has slowed in more recent years and there was a rise of around 240 commencements in 2017, to a total of 4,155. Almost all apprentices or trainees in this sector have an intended occupation of Hairdresser. In 2016, the largest proportion of apprentices and trainees in this sector were reported by New South Wales and Queensland (28% and 27%, respectively).

For more data specific to your occupation, industry or training package, visit NCVER’s VET students by industry.

For more data specific to your region visit NCVER’s Atlas of total VET. If you are prompted to log in, select cancel and you will continue to be directed to the program.

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Industry insights

Industry insights on skills needs

The Personal Services IRC's 2018 Skills Forecast (forthcoming) identifies the key priority skills for Hairdressers are:

  • active listening skills
  • speaking
  • service orientation
  • critical thinking
  • active learning.

The job vacancy information above is for the Hairdressing and Beauty Services industries, as more specific industry information is unavailable, and these two sectors are closely related. Top hairdressing occupations are Hairdresser and Hair or Beauty Salon Assistant.

The above Skills Forecast reports that there are issues with graduates not having the fundamental technical skills required in hairdressing jobs. Greater involvement from employers may be necessary to ensure that graduates in this sector have the appropriate level of skills and knowledge to enter employment as Hairdressers.

There is also a growing male customer base in this sector, with the revival of the barbershop making an impact in hairdressing. Workers need skills in facial hair grooming and wet shaving to obtain roles in this growing market. The relatively new Certificate III in Barbers was endorsed in 2016 to address this area of the sector, but the newness of the qualification means there is uncertainty over how this works in practice as an apprenticeship. Some of those working as Barbers have spent many years in the profession and will not consider obtaining the qualification as they feel they are at a higher skill level.

Wholesale, Retail and Personal Services IRC's 2017 Industry Skills Forecast highlights a growing trend towards ‘crossover’ business offering both traditional hairdressing services and beauty treatments such as spray tans, waxing, and make-up services. This is in line with a broad trend towards diversification of services across the sector. Businesses may also offer online booking, free wi-fi and food or drink to customers in order to stand out and add to their value proposition. This suggests workers may need a greater range of skills, such as expertise in customer service and beauty services.

The Environmental scan 2015 by Service Skills Australia underlines the importance of social media to businesses in this sector. Customers spend increasing lengths of time researching possible purchases, reading testimonials and comparing salon options using social media. This means businesses need to cultivate and maintain a social media presence in order to be competitive in this sector.

Links and resources

Below is a list of industry-relevant organisations and associations. Hyperlinks have been included where available.

Industry associations and advisory bodies

Australian Hairdressing Council

Hair and Beauty Australia

Hair and Beauty Industry Association


Relevant research

Environmental scan 2015 – Service Skills Australia

Wholesale, Retail and Personal Services IRC's 2017 Industry Skills Forecast – Skills IQ

Data sources and notes

Department of Employment, 2018, Employment Projections, available from the Labour Market Information Portal

  • by ANZSCO, selected occupations, employment projections to May 2023
    • 3911 Hairdressers
    • 4116 Massage Therapists
    • 4511 Beauty Therapists
    • 4518 Other Personal Service Workers.

Australian Bureau of Statistics 2018, Employed persons by Occupation unit group of main job (ANZSCO), Sex, State and Territory, August 1986 onwards, 6291.0.55.003 - EQ08, viewed 1 November 2018 <>

  • Employed total by ANZSIC 4 digit ‘3911 Hairdressers’, 2000 to 2018, May Quarter.

Australian Bureau of Statistics 2017, 2016 Census – employment, income and unpaid work, TableBuilder. Findings based on use of ABS TableBuilder data.

  • Employment level by 4 digit 9511 Hairdressing and Beauty Services Industry, and 4 digit level occupations to identify the relevant VET-related occupations in the industry as a proportion of the total workforce.

Training data has been extracted from the National VET Provider Collection, Total VET Student and Courses from the following training packages or qualifications:

  • SHB Hairdressing and Beauty Services, SIH Hairdressing and WRH Hairdressing Training Packages
  • Barbering
    • SHB30516 - Certificate III in Barbering
  • Hairdressing
    • SHB30416 - Certificate III in Hairdressing
    • SHB40216 - Certificate IV in Hairdressing
    • SIH30111 - Certificate III in Hairdressing
    • SIH40111 - Certificate IV in Hairdressing
    • WRH30100 - Certificate III in Hairdressing
    • WRH30106 - Certificate III in Hairdressing
    • WRH30109 - Certificate III in Hairdressing
    • WRH40100 - Certificate IV in Hairdressing
    • WRH40106 - Certificate IV in Hairdressing
    • WRH40109 - Certificate IV in Hairdressing
  • Salon Assistant
    • SHB20216 - Certificate II in Salon Assistant
    • SIH20111 - Certificate II in Hairdressing
    • WRH20100 - Certificate II in Hairdressing
    • WRH20106 - Certificate II in Hairdressing
    • WRH20109 - Certificate II in Hairdressing
  • Salon Management & Hairdressing Creative Leadership
    • SHB50216 - Diploma of Salon Management
    • SIB50210 - Diploma of Salon Management
    • SIH80113 - Graduate Certificate in Hairdressing Creative Leadership.


This includes superseded qualifications and training packages.

Data covers a range of selected student and training characteristics in the following categories and years:

  • 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 program enrolments 
  • 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 program completions.

Total VET students and courses data is reported for the calendar year. Program enrolments are the qualifications, courses and skill-sets in which students are enrolled in a given period. For students enrolled in multiple programs, all programs are counted. Program completion indicates that a student has completed a structured and integrated program of education or training. Subject enrolment is registration of a student at a training delivery location for the purpose of undertaking a module, unit of competency or subject. For more information on the terms and definitions please refer to the Total VET students and courses: terms and definitions document. 

Low counts (less than 5) are not reported to protect client confidentiality.

Percentages are rounded to one decimal place. This can lead to situations where the total sum of proportions in a chart may not add up to exactly 100%.

SHB Hairdressing and Beauty Services, SIH Hairdressing and WRH Hairdressing Training Packages apprentice and trainee data has been extracted from the National Apprentice and Trainee collection, including:

  • 2010 to 2017 commencements
  • 2010 to 2017 completions 
  • 2017 apprentices and trainees in-training October to December 2017 collection, by qualification and state and territory.

Priority skills data have been extracted from the Personal Services IRC's 2018 Skills Forecast (forthcoming).

Job vacancy data have been extracted from Burning Glass Technologies 2018, Labor Insight Real-time Labor Market Information Tool, Burning Glass Technologies, Boston, viewed July 2018, <>.

Data shown represent most requested occupations and employers according to internet job postings in Australia between July 2015 and June 2018 filtered by ANZSIC and ANZSCO classification levels listed below.

  • Occupations
  • Technicians and Trades Workers, Community and Personal Service Workers
  • 9511 Hairdressing and Beauty Services
  • Top employers
  • 391111 Hairdresser
  • 399514 Make Up Artist
  • 451111 Beauty Therapist
  • 411611 Massage Therapist
  • 451812 Hair or Beauty Salon Assistant
  • 9511 Hairdressing and Beauty Services.
Updated: 20 Dec 2018
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