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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. There were 21,949 beauty and hairdressing businesses in operation in 2016–­17. In 2017, over 35,000 Beauty Therapists were employed in Australia. 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 Wholesale, Retail and Personal Services IRC's 2017 Skills Forecast and the Personal Services IRC's 2018 Skills Forecast (forthcoming). 

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

IRC and Skills Forecast

Personal Services IRC

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 relatively steadily increasing for Beauty Therapists since 2012. Employment fell slightly from a high of around 32,800 in 2017 to around 30,300 in 2018. Strong growth for Beauty Therapists has been predicted, with employment projected to reach around 42,800 by 2023. Occupations in the Hairdressing and Beauty Services industry sector are predicted to grow in employment to 2023, indicating growth across the sector. The largest growth is projected for Other Personal Services Workers, with a rise of around 20% between 2018 and 2023.

Training trends

Training snapshot

There were approximately 31,350 program enrolments in Beauty-related qualifications in 2017, with over 8,900 program completions. Enrolments increased from 2014 to 2016 and fell in 2017, with completions following a similar trend. Most Beauty-related training is at the diploma or certificate III level and in the area of beauty therapy. Hair or Beauty Salon Manager and Beauty Therapist were the most common intended occupations in this sector in 2017.

The majority of Beauty-related qualifications were delivered by private training providers (52%), with TAFE institutions providing the next largest proportion (41%). Private training providers tended to deliver more of the qualifications in the areas of beauty therapy or intense pulsed light and laser hair reduction. Most training overall was domestic fee for service (56%), with a large majority of the training delivered by private training providers funded this way (83%). At other types of provider, Commonwealth and state funding was more common. Most Beauty-related training was delivered to students from New South Wales (32%), Victoria (25%) and Queensland (22%).

Apprentice and traineeships for Beauty-related qualifications have slowly declined since 2010, though commencements and completions were relatively stable from 2015 to 2016 and commencements increase to 357 in 2017 (from 315 the preceding year). Apprentices and trainees in this sector mostly had an intended occupation of Beauty Therapist. In 2017, most apprentice and traineeship training was reported by New South Wales (57%), Western Australia (17%) or Victoria (13%).

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.

If you are interested in extracting NCVER data to construct tables with data relevant to you, sign up for a VOCSTATS account.

Industry insights

Industry insights on skills needs

The Personal Services IRC's 2018 Skills Forecast identifies the key priority skills for Beauty Therapists are:

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

The job vacancy information above is for the Hairdressing and Beauty Services industry, as more specific industry information is unavailable, and these two sectors are closely related. Top non-hairdressing occupations are Make-Up Artist and Hair or Beauty Salon Manager. 

The Personal Services IRC's 2018 Skills Forecast mentions the pressure businesses in the Beauty industry are experiencing from local competitors. In some cases, franchised businesses are able to provide low-cost hair and skin treatments through the use of intense pulsed light and laser equipment and by providing special offers on deal sites that aggregate these offers. Some businesses have instead chosen to promote higher margin services or products.

At a more general level, the above Skills Forecast notes that Australian income and population growth, alongside the continuation of an appearance-driven society, has benefitted this sector. Services related to hair removal and facial care are not limited to female customers, with a trend of increased demand for these services by male customers. Additionally, a skills gap exists within this sector, with job applicants often being deemed unsuitable due to limited quality training and a lack of hands-on experience. This is likely due to a proliferation of short and condensed courses in the sector.

The Wholesale, Retail and Personal Services IRC's 2017 Industry Skills Forecast identifies specialisation as a trend within the Beauty sector, with many salons and clinics promoting themselves as experts in a particular service. This may indicate a need for those in the industry to move away from maintaining a wide base of knowledge and towards a specialisation in delivering one of two key services. The narrowing of the distinction between Medical Practitioner and the traditional Beauty sector employee in the area of cosmetic treatments has led some salons to employ Cosmetic Nurses, a trend which is predicted to continue as the public demand for invasive, effective treatments grows.

The trend towards specialisation was identified in the Environmental scan 2015 by Service Skills Australia. It also noted an increase in the numbers of male clientele in this sector, and a trend of consumers using social media to research and select hair and beauty services. This demonstrates a need for salons to use social media to promote their business and respond to client feedback and complaints.

Links and sources

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

Industry associations and advisory bodies

Aesthetics Practitioners Advisory Network

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
    • 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.
  • 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:

  • 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.  

SHB, SIB & WRB Training Package 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
  • 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
  • 211311 Photographer
  • 9511 Hairdressing and Beauty Services.
Updated: 13 Sep 2019
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