Hairdressing/Hair Stylist Profile for the Counties of Prescott, Russell, Stormont, Dundas & Glengarry
Due to requests from the industry and the training schools within the five counties, the Eastern Ontario Training Board felt compelled to complete an assessment of the existing and projected workforce in the hairstyling industry for the United Counties of Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry and for Prescott-Russell.
After intensive discussions and consultations with Human Resources Development Canada, the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities and other community partners, funding was earmarked for this venture. What follows are our findings.
The objective was to evaluate the needs of the industry in the short term (3 months or less) and over the next 3 years as well as identifying local strength or weaknesses within this sector. Shortly put, we attempted to address the issue of whether a shortage of hairdresser/hair stylists exists and garner the information necessary to make recommendations to the training sector and local sponsor representatives accordingly.
A representative sampling of the workplaces in each of the areas was identified and visited by Miller & Associates, our Project Consultants contracted to complete a good part of this project. A questionnaire was developed and distributed to over 65 local (five counties) hairdresser/hair stylists. In all cases, the consultant made direct contact in person and elicited and recorded any additional comments. There was 100% participation amongst all targeted establishments.
Information was collated and analyzed, the results of which are presented below. For ease of reference a database was also established and information recorded therein. This database is available upon request.
Results & Analysis
Of the 65 establishments surveyed, ranging from sole proprietorships located in homes to larger businesses employing a dozen or more, it was identified that there are currently over 196 hair stylists employed with an average of 3 employees per business. Moreover, the number of licensed stylists was 166, representing 85%, the number of apprentices was 26, representing 13% and the number of non trade related employees was 4, representing 2%.
We also established that 45 of the 65 businesses surveyed, that is to say 69%, believed that the market was flooded with hairstylists. A number of respondents knew by heart the number of competitors within a restricted geographical area. They were therefore of the opinion that the need for promoting growth in the industry was misplaced.
20 Salons (31%) reported a need for employees within the next 3 months. The total number of new required employees identified was 25, 6 at the apprentice level and 19 at the fully licensed level.
26 Salons (40%) reported a need for 74 employees over the next 3 years, 18 apprentices and 56 fully licensed stylists.
Combined, the projected hiring for the next three years stands at 24 apprentices and 75 licensed stylists. Accordingly, the demand for licensed stylists is at a ratio 3 times greater than for apprentices. This factor makes it somewhat difficult for graduates who are seeking an opportunity to fulfill their apprenticeship requirements. It should be noted also that the numbers recorded for projected hiring does not necessarily represent a growth pattern; it may more accurately reflect the high rate of attrition or turnover within the industry.
There are currently two private post-secondary institutions offering diploma programs in hair styling within the 5 United Counties. Elegance and Art & Technique both operate in Cornwall. Elegance reports graduating approximately 20 - 25 students per year, of which 90% (18 - 22) seek an apprenticeship. Art & Technique graduates between 25 and 30 students a year with the same ratio of success with placements (22-25). This would mean that approximately 40 students are looking to secure an apprenticeship opportunity per year.
As a matter of interest, the number of placements for potential high school co-op students was discussed. 29 salons (45%) reported an interest in participating. The fact nearly half of the salons surveyed are receptive is encouraging in that they are in favour of providing opportunities for young people to gain insight into this industry.
Further, the Consultant recorded 21 licensed estheticians working in salons with a projected need for 9 more within the next 2 to 3 years.
Many of the respondents voiced the opinion that they would prefer to hire a licensed stylist, citing reasons such as new graduates are ill prepared and lack skills in the following areas: customer service, colour mixing, hair chemistry and modern cutting techniques. Some also mentioned that new graduates struggled with shampooing and basic cuts. Another major reason for salons to seek licensed stylists is that they wish to employ someone who has an established clientele. The absence of courtesy with clients and poor work ethics were recognized weaknesses. The suggestion that schooling be extended to one year to include some of this training was repeatedly recorded.
There appeared to be few men´s only stylists, once known as barbers. It was generally felt by those specializing in this field that greater emphasis be placed on this area of training.
The majority of participants were in agreement that a 2000 hours apprenticeship was an appropriate amount of training prior to becoming licensed.
The recent introduction of the Grade 12 requirement for new students attending school was generally favoured with some indicating that they would like to see mature student status remain an option for entrance requirements.
The results do not suggest that a major intervention in the promotion of this industry is warranted. Any strategies and techniques for developing the industry should lie in the revamping of the curriculum in training centers and an incentive for salons to provide opportunities for graduates to fulfill their apprenticeship requirements.
There is a need for a continued focus on the development of short term and long term employees for this industry.
There is no major shortage but some attention should be paid to the fact that 74 new jobs will need to be filled by new people wanting to take employment in this sector. That is 74 without much thought given to worker replacement as our present component of workers continues to age.
Our findings demonstrate the need for apprentices in order to be prepared to deal with the needs that will occur over the next three years.
Our findings also suggest that this industry is a prime training ground for secondary school students willing to join the Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program or accept COOP placements.
Our numbers do suggest that it may be worthwhile to explore the possibility of a training institute that offers training opportunities in the Hawkesbury (Prescott-Russell) area.
We take this opportunity to thank all of the participants in this venture as well as the sponsors of this study, Human Resources Development Canada and the Ontario Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities.