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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.

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

For information on beauty services, see Beauty.

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

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 have increased overall between 2001 and 2021, though there has been variability, including a notable decrease from 77,700 in 2019 to 60,000 in 2020. Employment levels for 2021 have increased to 68,500 and are projected to increase further to 79,600 by 2025. Hairdressers make up over 58% of the related Hairdressing and Beauty Services industry workforce, with Beauty Therapists at 25%.

Training trends

Training snapshot

After a slight increase in program enrolments in Hairdressing-related qualifications between 2016 and 2017 (from approximately 23,250 to 23,930), enrolments declined over the following two years to less than 19,320 in 2019 then increased to 19,590 in 2020. Program completions peaked at 6,120 in 2017, however they have declined since then to roughly 4,800 in 2020.

More than two thirds (68%) of program enrolments were at the certificate III level, followed by 29% at the certificate II level. Most enrolments in 2020 were for hairdressing (58%) or salon assistant (29%) related qualifications, with the main intended occupations identified as Hairdresser, and Hair or Beauty Salon Assistant.

Enrolments in this sector were predominantly split between TAFE institutions (53%) and private training providers (39%), with the exception of Salon Management and Hairdressing Creative Leadership which was mainly delivered by private training providers (99%). Most enrolments were Commonwealth and state funded (84%).

In 2020, the largest proportion of enrolments in this sector were from students in Victoria (30%), New South Wales (24%) and Queensland (24%). Similarly, training was mainly delivered in Victoria (31%), Queensland (24%) and New South Wales (24%).

Although apprentice and trainee commencements and completions in this sector fell overall between 2011 and 2020, commencements in 2020 were up 11% from 2019 (from approximately 3,730 to just over 4,130). There were close to 1,640 apprentice and trainee completions in 2020, representing a decrease from roughly 1,920 in 2019. Almost all apprentices and trainees in this sector have the intended occupation of Hairdresser. As at December 2020, the largest proportion of apprentices and trainees in this sector were reported by New South Wales (29%), Queensland (27%) and Victoria (20%).

For more data specific to your occupation, industry or training package, visit NCVER’s Data Builder.

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 Hairdressing), 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 Hairdressing):

  • 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. According to job vacancy data, Justcuts Incorporated was identified as the top employer, with the top occupations in demand as Hairdresser and Beauty Therapist.

Due to the proportion of hair and beauty services provided at home, exact employment data for the industry is hard to access, however a report by the South Australian Training and Skills Commission estimates that for South Australia there are approximately 6,500 workers across the hair and beauty sector.

The Australian Government Job Outlook suggests a moderate future growth for Hairdressing jobs, which may be part driven by a range of factors identified in the South Australian Training and Skills Commission report, including: increased community image consciousness creating additional demand; and salons diversifying into beauty, nails, make-up and massage services. The industry, however, is not without challenges, with this aforementioned report also highlighting the following: 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; and decreasing size of the average salon which creates apprenticeship placement and skill development challenges. 

The Personal Services IRC’s 2019 Skills Forecast highlights that future growth in the Hairdressing industry is expected to be driven, in part, by the rise in popularity of specialised male grooming salons and organic salons. Further, the Personal Services IRC’s 2018 Skills Forecast suggested the growing male customer base in this sector, along with the revival of the barbershop, is making an impact on hairdressing and the associated skill requirements. Workers need skills in facial hair grooming and wet shaving to obtain roles in this growing market. Some of those working as Barbers have spent many years in the profession and will not consider obtaining a qualification as they feel they are at a higher skill level. In addition, a report by the Retail and Personal Services Training Council (RAPS) highlights that the barbering sector has reported a shortage of qualified barbers, and that cutting skills are reported to be at a low level across the industry.

The Personal Services IRC’s 2019 Skills Forecast also identified a range of challenges and opportunities faced by the Hairdressing industry, primarily relating to skills shortages, attraction and retention of workers and government policy / legislation changes.

Skills shortages are being experienced across the Hairdressing industry, with businesses struggling to find skilled and experienced staff. Concerns have been raised that Graduates being trained through the VET system are not meeting employer expectations, generally due to inadequate training materials and the uptake of short, condensed and/or non-accredited training. This is further compounded by many students being unable to develop real work experience during their training, which is largely attributed to salons tending not to hire apprentices (because of the considerable constraints they face as employers), and the rise in popularity of home-based salons.

The challenges associated with attracting new workers to the Personal Services industry are in part attributed to influencers such as teachers, school career advisors and parents discouraging young people from pursuing a career in the industry due to the occupations not being valued as providing feasible career pathways.

According to the report New traineeships aim to address hair and beauty skills shortages, TAFE NSW and industry association HABA (Hair & Beauty Australia) are working together to address these skills shortages by offering a traineeship program which will combine a Certificate II in Salon Assistant with on-the-job experience.

A lack of appropriate regulation and inconsistent standards between states and territories has not only created space for the growth of unregulated home-based salons, but also inconsistency in training between jurisdictions. For example, in New South Wales, South Australia and Tasmania, salons must be operated by a registered hairdresser, however in Victoria anyone can operate a salon (unless they want to hire an apprentice, then they must be qualified), while in the Northern Territory, Queensland and Australian Capital Territory there are no operating restrictions apart from the stipulation that apprentices and trainees must always be supervised. The Personal Services IRC’s 2019 Skills Forecast is calling on licencing and regulation to be reintroduced to the Hairdressing industry.

The Australian Hairdressing Council released the results of an Industry survey on the impact of COVID-19 on business, staff and mental health. Some of the key findings included:

  • 75% of businesses closed due to COVID
  • 20.4% of salons terminated staff during the pandemic
  • 79.4% of business owners experienced stress due to uncertainty during 2020 while 36.5% suffered mental health issues and 23.1% from depression
  • 46.2% have employed a new apprentice in the last 12 months, while 40.3% have not
  • 22.5% found staff to be servicing clients outside of the salon.

Some of the main industry concerns listed in the survey included the volume of hairdressers working from home since COVID, End of Lease Agreement leading to rent hikes, hairdressers leaving the industry for better paying jobs and the 1.5 metre rule’s impact on business.

The ABC report New push to give Australia's hairstylists formal training to help deal with customers' problems reveals hairdressers are exposed to clients facing problems like family violence, mental health and trauma, often amplified by the COVID-19 pandemic. With the Royal Commission into Family Violence finding that family violence could be identified early through individuals having hair and beauty care, the Hair Stylists Association (HSA) is pushing for Industry to provide students with the training and support to know how to better deal with those situations when they arise.

Links and resources

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

IRC and Skills Forecast

Personal Services IRC


Relevant research

2021 Survey Results: 2020 the Year That Was - Australian Hairdressing Council

Australian Government Job Outlook – Australian Government National Skills Commission

Industry Developments and Workforce Challenges: Hairdressing – Retail and Personal Services Training Council (RAPS)

New push to give Australia's hairstylists formal training to help deal with customers' problems - Sue Daniel, ABC News

New traineeships aim to address hair and beauty skills shortages - Anna Patty, Sydney Morning Herald

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


Industry associations and advisory bodies

Australian Hairdressing Council

Hair and Beauty Australia

Hair and Beauty Industry Association

Data sources and notes

Department of Employment 2021, Employment Projections, available from the Labour Market Information Portal

  • by ANZSCO, selected occupations, employment projections to May 2025
    • 1421 Retail Managers
    • 3911 Hairdressers
    • 3995 Performing Arts Technicians
    • 4511 Beauty Therapists
    • 4518 Other Personal Service Workers
    • 5421 Receptionists.

Australian Bureau of Statistics 2021, 6291.0.55.001 - EQ08 - Employed persons by Occupation unit group of main job (ANZSCO), Sex, State and Territory, August 1986 onwards, viewed 1 August 2021,

  • Employed total by ANZSIC 4 digit ‘3911 Hairdressers’, 2001 to 2021, 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:

  • 2016 to 2020 program enrolments
  • 2016 to 2020 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:

  • 2011 to 2020 commencements
  • 2011 to 2020 completions
  • apprentices and trainees in-training October to December 2020 collection, by qualification and state and territory.


Job vacancy data have been extracted from Burning Glass Technologies 2021, Labor Insight Real-time Labor Market Information Tool, Burning Glass Technologies, Boston, viewed July 2021,

Data shown represent most requested occupations and employers according to internet job postings in Australia between July 2018 and June 2021 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: 16 Dec 2021
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