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Record-Breaking Growth Points to Exciting Careers in the Spa and Beauty Industry

“The spa and beauty industry is growing so fast that 30,000 jobs are going unfilled.”
– Associated Press 

“The spa industry is continuing to thrive and experience record growth.”
– American Spa

“The spa industry is booming and the news just keeps getting better and better.”
– Modern Salon

“This is exciting news for anyone considering a career in the spa and beauty industries.
With such strong and consistent growth, the future looks bright!”
– Winn Claybaugh, Dean and Cofounder of Paul Mitchell Schools

(NEW YORK, August 2018) – At its recent media event in New York City, the International SPA Association (ISPA) released details from its annual study showing that the spa industry is healthier than ever. According to the report, spas are now a $17.5 billion industry in the United States, up 4 percent in a year, with 187 million visits to spas in nearly 22,000 locations, and more than 370,000 employees, about half of them full-time.

The initial report, known as the “Big Five,” shows record growth in all five key areas:

  • Total revenue increased from $16.8 billion at the end of 2016, to $17.5 billion at the end of 2017 (4.3 percent increase)
  • Spa visits increased from 184 billion in 2016 to 187 billion in 2017 (1.6 percent increase)
  • Spa locations increased from 21,260 in 2016 to 21,770 in 2017 (increase of more than 500 new spas)
  • Revenue per visit increased from $91.3 in 2016 to $93.7 in 2017 (2.7 percent increase)
  • Number of employees increased from 365,200 in 2017 to 372,100 in 2018 (1.9 percent increase)

 ISPA President Lynne McNees said, “The data continues to show a healthy and robust spa industry resulting in a wealth of reputable career opportunities for those looking to find a stable work environment.”

ISPA chairman of the board Garrett Mersberger noted that the industry's record-breaking boom includes "spa visits at an all-time high," along with record average revenue of nearly $94 per customer visit. As director of wellness at Wisconsin-based Kohler Water Spas, Mersberger adds, "We're opening our fifth Kohler Water Spa in Chicago next year as a result of how hot the industry is right now."

Lynnelle Lynch, president of the Beauty Changes Lives Foundation, points out that the spa and beauty industries welcome workers in every stage of life, from students just out of high school to older workers looking for new opportunities, to those returning to the workforce after raising kids — along with military spouses looking for skills they can take with them if they move. Beauty school is also a good steppingstone for entrepreneurial-minded professionals to launch products or open salons. She encourages parents to consider careers in the industry if college isn't the right fit for their kids: "If they're creative, if they love wellness, if they love beauty, why not allow them to take an alternative path?" she said. "The skills are portable. And it's short term—five months to a year—to get this training."

Jobs in the spa industry include aestheticians who provide facial skin care and body treatments and cosmetologists who do hairstyling, makeup, and nails. For more information about opportunities in the spa industry, check out our Skin Academy program. 

The ISPA Foundation commissioned PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) to conduct the annual study. The full report will be released at the 2018 ISPA Conference and Expo in September 2018.






Written By: Gail Fink, Paul Mitchell Schools

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