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Hair & Beauty Australia Industry Association

Skills Shortages in the Hair and Beauty Industry

Posted November 10, 2022

As your nationally recognised employer association, HABA is responsible for representing the opinions and concerns of salon owners at all levels of government – including on the issue of skills shortages across our industry.


This is how our voices get heard by policymakers and lead to REAL Change for the Hair and Beauty Industry.


HABA are inviting all members to raise their voices and contribute to feedback given on the Skills Priority List for 2023. While we were thrilled to see that Beauty Therapy, Hairdressers and Hair and Beauty Managers all made the National Skills Commission Skills Priority list earlier in the year ( , there’s still plenty more work to do to ensure that a) change occurs in our industry and b) that our skills remain on the list until such time as the shortage eases.


One of the biggest changes we need to make is to ensure that we are included in the priority migration skilled occupation list.


HABA firmly believes that the future of reducing the skills shortage falls in training the next generation of hairdressers and beauty therapists, which is why we have continually invested in training programs with TAFE NSW (with the vision to roll this out nationally) to ensure that we get new blood into our industry. With both commencements and completions down across both Hair and Beauty sectors, and fee-ree TAFE places being a key takeaway from the National Jobs and Skills Summitt hosted earlier in the year, we know that there needs to be a seismic attitude shift in the perception of VET training within homes and society at large.


HABA recognises that every salon owner is a small business owner and an entrepreneur in a highly skilled sector. We are more confident of the options for career progression and the longevity of a career in the Hair and Beauty industry than in many other industries and sectors. It will be when parents, students, and employees realise what they can accomplish in our industry that the passion required for longevity and continual skills development will really come to the front and improve the longevity and dedication across the industry.


Hair & Beauty Australia Industry Association (HABA) CEO Jan Gawel recently told Professional Beauty that key issues faced by salon owners are yet to be addressed from the Jobs & Skills Summit. “While we applaud these announcements, there is nothing really new here,” Jan said. “There have been fee-free, close to free, and discounted TAFE places for many years; funding VET education honestly has never been the struggle. The struggle has been getting bums on seats or in our case, into the treatment rooms.”


Finally, it also seems that the government’s priority is on current employees and increasing the costs of businesses. Inflation is a great sound bite and the cost for families, but this applies to business and with both the market-driven costs of inputs and the government’s push for higher wages, which are unlinked to how small business is actually doing, it is becoming harder to stay afloat. None of which helps with the skills shortage.


Feedback from salon owners on the state of skills shortages across the Hair and Beauty Industry can be used as a source of evidence, along with data, analysis and consultations with government, to present a holistic picture for the Skills Priority List. Without first hand accounts, we cannot demonstrate the sheer significance of the impact on salon owners.

If you would like to contribute your thoughts and experience to this initiative, we encourage you to email us directly on


HABA continues to represent employers at all levels of government, we are able to make sure that your concerns are raised with the right people who are positioned to make REAL CHANGE. We’ve got Salon Owners backs. That’s why a membership with HABA is something that salon owners simply can’t do without.


Further advice

For further advice on this topic or any workplace relations matter, HABA members can call the HABA Advice Line on 02 9221 9911.

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