International Women’s Day‏ falls this Sunday 8th March, and with the salon industry being one of the only industries more strongly dominated by women than men, ‏ ‏Phorest Salon Software wanted to dig deeper into industry data‏ ‏to see if women really are dominating. ‏

In terms of numbers, women are certainly the most represented in the industry, with 66 per cent of survey respondents being women. However, in many of the stats that really matter, it seems that the same inequality between men and women can be seen in salons and spas as in other industries.‏

‏Women in the industry tend to have achieved a higher level of education than their male counterparts, with 85 per cent of women having completed formal education past their GCSEs and AS/A Levels, versus 75 per cent of men. Nearly half (45 per cent) of the women surveyed were university educated, having completed a diploma, degree or masters, compared to just 20 per cent of men.‏

Yet despite higher levels of education in favour of the women surveyed, and an equal footing when it comes to having dependents (45 per cent of the men surveyed had children vs 48 per cent of women) it was men who tended to run larger salons than women – with 85 per cent of men running salons with 3 or more staff, compared to 62 per cent of women.‏

‏And of course, this means there was a rather large gap in the average annual income of men in the salon industry versus women. Only 52 per cent of women earned over £25k in annual income, compared to 90 per cent of men.‏

Perhaps this is due to women in the salon industry falling victim to the same struggles when it comes to confidence as they do in other industries. The women surveyed rated their confidence as a business person on average as 5 out of 10, compared to men who averaged 8.2 out of 10.‏

Women losing out professionally for bearing children‏

‏As mentioned, proportionately, the men and women surveyed were more-or-less in equal numbers parents vs non-parents (45 per cent of men had dependents vs 48 per cent of women). ‏

‏Despite this – the earning potential of men vs women with dependents differed vastly. Just as in other industries, women’s careers suffer after bearing children, while men’s seem to continue to grow stronger.‏

Almost two-thirds (60 per cent) of women without children reported they earn more than £25k in annual income. But for the women who do have children, this dropped to 45 per cent.‏ For men, however, the opposite is true. Eighty-two per cent of men without children earned over £25k, while 100 per cent of men with children earn over this figure.‏

‏Despite many of those surveyed being business owners, it appears women in the salon industry don’t get the same support from their partners to return to work after having children as their male counterparts. The women surveyed rated their work life balance at an average of 5 out of 10, compared to men who averaged at 6.3 out of 10‏

‏Melanie Icke, head of education and training at Phorest Salon Software, commented: “Though the salon industry is often held as a shining example of a female-dominated industry, contributing over ‏ ‏£6.6 billion to the UK economy‏ ‏, it’s disappointing to see women in the industry falling victim to the same inequalities as they do in most other industries. At Phorest we are constantly trying to provide free resources to help salon owners improve their business acumen and confidence, with initiatives such as our free ‏ ‏6-part Salon Management Course‏ ‏, as well as our ‏ ‏Salon Mentorship Hub‏ ‏, where salon owners can book a consultation with a topic expert of their choice. These initiatives are completely free for all salon owners, not just for Phorest clients.‏

‏”On a positive note, despite the disappointing data uncovered in this research – when asked where they turn to for business advice, 64 per cent of women said they would most likely turn to other salon owners for advice. It’s heartening to see this strong culture of women supporting other women in the industry. We also provide a special ‏ ‏Facebook group for salon owners‏ ‏ to share their experiences and get positive advice from other owners.”‏