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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. 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 most recently available Skills Forecast, the Personal Services IRC’s 2019 Skills Forecast.

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

IRC and skills forecast

The Personal Services IRC was not required to submit an annual update to their 2019 Skills Forecast during 2020. As such, the version published in 2019 remains the most recently published Skills Forecast for this industry.

Personal Services IRC

Employment trends

Please note: any employment projections outlined below were calculated by the Australian Bureau of Statistics prior to COVID-19.

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.

After a significant increase between 2018 and 2019, employment levels for Beauty Therapists have declined by more than 50% in 2020, from 41,800 in 2019 to 20,600 in 2020. Strong growth for Beauty Therapists is expected however, with employment levels projected to reach 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% by 2024.

Training trends

Training snapshot

There were approximately 23,000 program enrolments in Beauty-related qualifications in 2019 and close to 7,950 program completions. Enrolments and completions have been on a downward trend since 2015, with figures decreasing each year. Most Beauty-related program enrolments are at the certificate III (54%) or diploma or higher (27%) level, with qualifications relating to beauty therapy (35%), beauty services (28%) and make-up (17%) accounting for the highest portion of program enrolments. Beauty Therapist, Hair or Beauty Salon Manager and Make-Up Artist were the most common intended occupations in this sector in 2019.

Beauty-related qualifications were predominantly delivered by TAFE institutes (49%) and private training providers (41%) in 2019. Private training providers tended to deliver more of the qualifications in the areas of intense pulsed light and laser hair reduction (95%), beauty therapy (62%) and nail technology (54%). Overall, most training was Commonwealth and state funded (63%), particularly for training delivered by TAFE institutes (89%) and schools (88%). Private training providers had the highest proportion of domestic fee for service at 68%.

Approximately three quarters of Beauty-related training was delivered to students from either Victoria (30%), New South Wales (30%) or Queensland (15%). Training was also mainly delivered in New South Wales (37%), Victoria (29%) and Queensland (13%).

After peaking at approximately 780 in 2010, apprentice and trainee commencements have declined overall to approximately 290 in 2019, this also represents the lowest figure recorded since 2010. Completions peaked at close to 420 in 2011 followed by a steady decline to the lowest level of around 130 in 2017. Slight increases have been noted since 2017, with close to 160 completions recorded in 2019. Apprentices and trainees in this sector mostly had an intended occupation of Beauty Therapist. As at December 2019, more than half of the apprentices and trainees in training were reported by New South Wales (52%), followed by Victoria (19%) and Western Australia (15%).

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.

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 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 Beauty Therapist.

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, with similar predictions made by the Australian Government Job Outlook which suggests very strong future growth for Beauty Therapist jobs.   

The Personal Services IRC’s 2019 Skills Forecast reports that in the beauty subsector, increased demand for beauty services such as spa treatments, massages, relaxation and other beauty treatments will help drive this growth. Demand for these types of services is also being driven by increasing health consciousness among consumers, with individuals seeking out products and services related to enhancing their image. Also supporting this growth is the adoption of specialised equipment and technology, including those used for facial peels, laser hair removal, skin rejuvenation and cosmetic tattooing. These findings are largely reflected in a South Australian Training and Skills Commission (TASC) report which highlights growth in the industry is being driven by increased community image consciousness; salons diversifying into beauty, nails, make-up and massage services; and the introduction of visual enhancement treatments such as Pulse Light, facial peels, laser hair removal, skin rejuvenation and cosmetic tattooing.

The industry however, is not without challenges, with this aforementioned TASC report also highlighting the following concerns: competition from home hair and beauty products, especially through discount pharmacies, supermarkets and the internet; emergence of personal hair and beauty imagery on Instagram and DIY through online videos; decreasing size of the average salon which creates apprenticeship placement and skill development challenges; and the rise of low cost high volume nail, massage and basic beauty service businesses which operate with very few staff trained through the accredited VET system. 

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. The Personal Services IRC’s 2019 Skills Forecast also discusses the de-regulation and lack of appropriate regulation within the industry, highlighting the need for licencing to be reintroduced, especially for beauty treatment services like intense pulsed light (IPL), laser equipment and cosmetic tattooing.

Attraction and retention of workers continues to be of concern across the Personal Services industry, as outlined in the Personal Services IRC’s Skills Forecast, 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.

Links and sources

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

Relevant research

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

Job Outlook – Australian Government National Skills Commission

Service Sector Workforce Insights – Training and Skills Commission (TASC)


Industry associations and advisory bodies

Aesthetics Practitioners Advisory Network

Hair and Beauty Australia

Hair and Beauty Industry Association

Data sources and notes

Department of Employment 2020, Employment Projections, available from the Labour Market Information Portal  

  • by ANZSCO, selected occupations, employment projections to May 2024
    • 1421 Retail Managers
    • 3911 Hairdressers
    • 3995 Performing Arts Technicians
    • 4511 Beauty Therapists
    • 4518 Other Personal Service Workers
    • 5421 Receptionists.

Australian Bureau of Statistics 2020, Employed persons by Occupation unit group of main job (ANZSCO), Sex, State and Territory, August 1986 onwards, 6291.0.55.003 - EQ08, viewed 1 August 2020

  • Employed total by ANZSIC 4 digit ‘4511 Beauty Therapists’, 2000 to 2020, 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 to 2019 program enrolments
  • 2015 to 2019 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 2019 commencements
  • 2010 to 2019 completions
  • 2019 apprentices and trainees in-training October to December 2019 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 2020, Labor Insight Real-time Labor Market Information Tool, Burning Glass Technologies, Boston, viewed July 2020,

Data shown represent most requested occupations and employers according to internet job postings in Australia between July 2017 and June 2020 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
    • 411611 Massage Therapist
    • 451111 Beauty Therapist
    • 9511 Hairdressing and Beauty Services (excluding Clerical and Administrative Workers, and Sales Workers).
Updated: 20 Nov 2020
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