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Personal Services

Overview

This page provides high level information and data on the Personal Services industry which comprises four main industry sectors: 

  • Beauty
  • Floristry
  • Funeral Services
  • Hairdressing.

The Personal Services industry includes a diverse range of businesses, from large companies to sole traders, providing individual services to customers across Australia.

Nationally recognised training for Personal Services is delivered under the SFL – Floristry Training Package, SHB – Hairdressing and Beauty Services Training Package and SIF – Funeral Services Training Package.

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

Industry cluster snapshot

Employment and training snapshot

Due to the diverse nature of this industry, overall employment information is not available. See sector pages for employment level information.

Program enrolments in the training packages that make up the Personal Services industry (see notes for full list of training packages included) were at their highest in 2017 at approximately 57,560 and declined to roughly 43,270 in 2020, before increasing to 46,370 in 2021. Program completions have declined steadily since 2017, from approximately 16,610 to just over 13,070 in 2021.

At the subject level, around 97% of enrolments were in subjects delivered as part of a nationally recognised program each year between 2017 and 2021.

Industry insights

 

Industry insights on skills needs

Job vacancy data suggests the top five occupations in demand across the Personal Services industry are:

  • Hairdresser
  • Florist
  • Funeral Workers (nec)
  • Beauty Therapist
  • Gardener (General)
  • Funeral Director.

According to job vacancy data the top two employers across the Personal Services industry are Justcuts Incorporated and Invocare Australia.

The Personal Services IRC’s 2019 Skills Forecast acknowledged that although technical skills are imperative, the following soft skills have been highlighted as priority skills for the industry:

  • Teamwork and communication
  • Emotional intelligence
  • Resilience, stress tolerance and flexibility
  • Self-management
  • Creativity.

In addition, the top ranked generic skills for the industry according to the Personal Services IRC’s 2019 Skills Forecast, were:

  • Customer service / Marketing
  • Communication / Virtual collaboration / Social intelligence
  • Design mindset / Thinking critically / System thinking / Solving problems
  • Learning agility / Information literacy / Intellectual autonomy and self-management
  • Language, Literacy and Numeracy (LLN).

The Personal Services IRC’s 2019 Skills Forecast identifies three factors which are currently challenging the industry. These are skills shortages, attraction and retention, and government policy / legislation changes.

A lack of skills and knowledge among industry graduates has been highlighted by employers, with the uptake of short, condensed and/or non accredited training, as well inadequate training materials identified as contributing to the lack of skills. In addition, many students are unable to gain real world work experience due to a lack of quality work placements and opportunities to gain practical experience, therefore meaning these students miss opportunities to develop both ‘soft skills’ and fundamental technical skills.

The challenge of attracting skilled workers has been in part attributed to key influencers such teachers, school career advisors and parents not valuing personal services occupations as viable career pathways, therefore dissuading young people from choosing a career within the Personal Services industry. Retention issues have been highlighted with regards to hairdressing apprenticeships where attrition rates are high and steadily increasing. Increased competition from home-based salons has been identified as draining the supply of skilled workers, while a suggestion has been made to encourage more engagement between apprentices and industry outside of mandatory work requirements to try and combat high attrition rates.

Inconsistent policies and legislation across jurisdictions mean that overall there is a lack of appropriate regulation in the hairdressing and beauty sector, according to the Personal Services IRC’s 2019 Skills Forecast. In many states, local councils are now responsible for determining if these businesses are meeting health regulations, as separate state-based shop registration procedures have now ceased. The industry strongly believed that licencing needs to return or be reintroduced for hairdressing and beauty services, especially in relation to the use of intense pulsed light (IPL), laser equipment and cosmetic tattooing. In line with this, SkillsIQ, under the direction of the Personal Services IRC, submitted a Case for Endorsement for the Advanced Diploma of Intense Pulsed Light and Laser for Hair Reduction Case for consideration by the AISC. The AISC approved the proposed training package products at its meeting in August 2021.

For detailed analysis of skills needs, see the respective sector pages.

COVID-19 impact

The Personal Services industry has been significantly impacted by COVID-19 with many businesses forced to close for extended periods, and strict operating guidelines for businesses that remained open as well as for those re-opening after mandatory closures. To understand what these guidelines mean for the Personal Services industry, a review of the WorkSafe Tasmania COVID Safe Workplace Frameworks for the Funeral Services industry; Hairdressing, Beauty and Other Personal Services industry; and the Weddings and Religious Services industry, provide examples of the new operating environments required of these industries.

A survey report by the Australian Hairdressing Council revealed 75% of businesses closed due to COVID-19 and over 20% of salons were required to terminate staff during the pandemic. Those businesses interviewed voiced concerns about the industry such as the lack of employable qualified staff, the decreasing amount of apprenticeships, and qualified hairdressers leaving the industry for better paying jobs.

The National Skills Commission report The Shape of Australia’s Post COVID-19 Workforce notes that Beauty Therapists were directly impacted by trading restrictions and social distancing measures, and was one of the top ten occupations which exhibited a large recovery in employment over the six months to August 2020.

To support those impacted by COVID-19, the NSW Government and TAFE NSW offered a number of fee-free ‘lockdown learning‘ short courses to all NSW residents. Additional courses were added after more than 10,000 NSW residents enrolled to study in less than a month, and included starting a career in hairdressing, barbering or beauty.

Links and resources

Data sources and notes

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

  • SFL Floristry Training Package, SHB Hairdressing and Beauty Services Training Package, and SIF Funeral Services Training Package and all superseded Training Packages.

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

  • 2017 - 2021 program enrolments
  • 2017 - 2021 subject enrolments
  • 2017 - 2021 program completions.

Job vacancy data have been extracted from Lightcast 2022, Labor Insight Real-time Labor Market Information Tool, Boston, viewed August 2022, https://lightcast.io/apac.

Data shown represent most requested occupations and employers according to internet job postings in Australia between July 2019 and June 2022 filtered by ANZSIC and ANZSCO classification levels listed below.

  • Generic Skills/Occupations
    • ANZSCO major groups excluding Sales Workers, Clerical and Administrative Workers
    • 9511 Hairdressing and Beauty Services
    • 4274 Flower Retailing
    • 9520 Funeral, Crematorium and Cemetery Services.
  • Employers
    • 391111 Hairdresser
    • 362111 Florist
    • 451399 Funeral Workers nec
    • 451111 Beauty Therapist
    • 362211 Gardener (General)
    • 451311 Funeral Director
    • 9511 Hairdressing and Beauty Services
    • 4274 Flower Retailing
    • 9520 Funeral, Crematorium and Cemetery Services.
Updated: 30 Nov 2022
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