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

The Beauty sector involves the provision of personal services in the areas of relaxation and cosmetics. The hairdressing and beauty sub-sectors together generated revenue of $6.5 billion in 2018, and collectively employed 120,700 workers.

Some beauty businesses may use specialised products and equipment to provide services such as laser hair removal and cosmetic tattooing, as well as the more traditional skin, hair and nail care related services.

Vocational education and training is required for occupations involved in:

  • Massage
  • Facials and facial peels
  • Make-up services
  • Nail care
  • Hair removal (including laser hair removal)
  • Cosmetic tattooing and piercing
  • Micro-dermabrasion
  • Spa therapies.

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

For information on Hairdressers, please visit the Hairdressing industry sector.

Information sourced from the Personal Services IRC’s 2019 Skills Forecast.

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

IRC and Skills Forecast

Employment trends

Employment snapshot

As no data is available for the Beauty sector specifically, the occupation ‘Beauty Therapist’ has been used as a proxy for employment trends within the sector. Employment levels have been trending upwards for Beauty Therapists since 2002. There was a significant increase in employment levels between 2018 and 2019, from around 30,300 to 41,800. Strong growth for Beauty Therapists is also expected to continue, with employment levels projected to reach around 50,700 by 2024. Growth is predicted across all occupations in the Hairdressing and Beauty Services industry to 2024, with the largest growth projected for Beauty Therapists, with a rise of around 20% between 2019 and 2024.

Training trends

Training snapshot

There were approximately 25,060 program enrolments in Beauty-related qualifications in 2018 and close to 8,870 program completions. Enrolments and completions have continued their downward trend, decreasing each year between 2015 and 2018. Most Beauty-related program enrolments are at the certificate III (48%) or diploma or higher (30%) level, with qualifications relating to beauty therapy (37%) and beauty services (26%) accounting for the highest portion of program enrolments. Beauty Therapist and Hair or Beauty Salon Manager were the most common intended occupations in this sector in 2018.

In 2018, Beauty-related qualifications were predominantly delivered by TAFE institutions (47%) and private training providers (45%). Private training providers tended to deliver more of the qualifications in the areas of intense pulsed light and laser hair reduction (98%), beauty therapy (65%) and nail technology (61%). Overall, most training was Commonwealth and state funded (60%), with a large majority of the training delivered by TAFE institutions (84%) and schools (84%) funded this way. Private training providers had the highest proportion of domestic fee for service (67%). Most Beauty-related training was delivered to students from New South Wales (31%), Victoria (29%) and Queensland (15%). Approximately two fifths of training was delivered in New South Wales (39%), followed by Victoria (28%), Queensland (12%) and Western Australia (10%).

After peaking at approximately 780 in 2010, apprentice and trainee commencements declined overall with approximately 350 recorded in both 2017 and 2018, this is, however, a slight increase on the 2015 and 2016 figures of roughly 330 and 320 (respectively). Completions have followed a similar pattern of overall decline, peaking at close to 420 in 2011 then dropping to the lowest level of around 130 in 2017, before increasing slightly to almost 160 in 2018. Apprentices and trainees in this sector mostly had an intended occupation of Beauty Therapist. In 2018, more than half of the apprentices and trainees were reported by New South Wales (53%), followed by Victoria (19%) and Western Australia (12%).

For more data specific to your occupation, industry or training package, visit NCVER’s VET students by industry. If you are prompted to log in, select cancel and you will continue to be directed to the program.

For more data specific to your region visit NCVER’s Atlas of Total VET.

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Industry insights

Industry insights on skills needs

The Personal Services IRC’s 2019 Skills Forecast acknowledges the importance of technical skills in order to perform job tasks, however, a range of soft skills were highlighted as key priority skills for those involved in the Personal Services industry (including Beauty Services), including:

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

In addition, the following generic skills were highlighted as key for the Personal Services industry (inclusive of Beauty Services):

  • Customer service / Marketing
  • Communication / Collaboration including 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 job vacancy information incorporates both the Hairdressing and Beauty Services industries as more specific industry information is unavailable. The top beauty related occupations are Make-Up Artist and Hair or Beauty Salon Manager.

Strong growth is expected in the hair and beauty sector over the next five years according to the Personal Services IRC’s 2019 Skills Forecast, and within the beauty subsector, increased demand for beauty services such as spa treatments, massages, relaxation and other beauty treatments will help drive this growth. Another factor driving demand for these types of services is increasing health consciousness, with individuals seeking out products and services related to enhancing their image. Supporting this growth in the Beauty Services sector is the adoption of specialised equipment and technology, including those used for facial peels, laser hair removal, skin rejuvenation and cosmetic tattooing.

The introduction of new and specialised equipment and technology in the Beauty Services industry is changing the market in which many businesses operate. As highlighted in Industry Developments and Workforce Challenge: Beauty many businesses in the industry are now, on many levels, competing with the medical and health sector. This brings about questions within the industry regarding responsibility and the implication of unskilled practitioners, particularly as the demand for these specialised services is increasing at rate that outstrips the supply of appropriately skilled workers.

Attraction and retention of workers continues to be of concern across the Personal Services industry, with difficulty in attracting and retaining highly skilled and qualified staff largely attributed to views held by influencers of young people, including the industry not being valued as a feasible career pathway. In addition, the Personal Services IRC’s 2019 Skills Forecast also expresses concern over the de-regulation and lack of appropriate regulation within the industry, expressing the need for licencing to be reintroduced, especially for beauty treatment services like intense pulsed light (IPL), laser equipment and cosmetic tattooing.

Links and sources

Industry associations and advisory bodies

Aesthetics Practitioners Advisory Network

Hair and Beauty Australia

Hair and Beauty Industry Association


Relevant research

Industry Developments and Workforce Challenge: Beauty – Retail and Personal Services Training Council (RAPS)

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
    • 3995 Performing Arts Technicians
    • 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 ‘4511 Beauty Therapists’, 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 Training Package related occupations in the industry as a proportion of the total workforce (excluding inadequately described, not stated and not applicable).

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, SIB Beauty & WRB Beauty Training Packages
  • Beauty Services
    • SHB30115 - Certificate III in Beauty Services
    • SIB30110 - Certificate III in Beauty Services
    • WRB30104 - Certificate III in Beauty Services.
  • Beauty Therapy
    • SHB40115 - Certificate IV in Beauty Therapy
    • SHB50115 - Diploma of Beauty Therapy
    • SIB40110 - Certificate IV in Beauty Therapy
    • SIB50110 - Diploma of Beauty Therapy
    • WRB40105 - Certificate IV in Beauty Therapy
    • WRB50105 - Diploma of Beauty Therapy
    • WRB50199 - Diploma of Beauty Therapy.
  • Intense Pulsed Light and Laser Hair Reduction
    • SIB70110 - Graduate Certificate in Intense Pulsed Light and Laser Hair Reduction
    • SHB60118 - Advanced Diploma of Intense Pulsed Light and Laser for Hair Reduction.
  • Make-Up
    • SHB30215 - Certificate III in Make-Up.
  • Nail Technology
    • SHB30315 - Certificate III in Nail Technology
    • SIB20210 - Certificate II in Nail Technology
    • WRB20104 - Certificate II in Nail Technology
    • WRB30204 - Certificate III in Nail Technology.
  • Retail Cosmetics
    • SHB20116 - Certificate II in Retail Cosmetics
    • SIB20110 - Certificate II in Retail Make-Up and Skin Care
    • WRB20204 - Certificate II in Make-up Services
    • WRB20304 - Certificate II in Retail Cosmetic Services.

This includes superseded qualifications and training packages. Superseded qualifications are clustered under the name of the most current version.

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

  • 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 program enrolments
  • 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 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.  

SHB, SIB & WRB Training Package apprentice and trainee data has been extracted from the National Apprentice and Trainee collection, including: 

  • 2010 to 2018 commencements
  • 2010 to 2018 completions 
  • 2018 apprentices and trainees in-training October to December 2018 collection, by qualification and state and territory.

Priority skills data have been extracted from the Personal Services Industry IRC’s 2019 Skills Forecast.

Job vacancy data have been extracted from Burning Glass Technologies 2019, Labor Insight Real-time Labor Market Information Tool, Burning Glass Technologies, Boston, viewed July 2019,

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
    • ANZSCO major groups excluding Clerical and Administrative Workers, and Sales Workers
    • 9511 Hairdressing and Beauty Services
  • Top employers
    • 391111 Hairdresser
    • 399514 Make Up Artist
    • 142114 Hair or Beauty Salon Manager
    • 451111 Beauty Therapist
    • 232411 Graphic Designer
    • 9511 Hairdressing and Beauty Services (excluding Clerical and Administrative Workers, and Sales Workers).
Updated: 02 Apr 2020
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