Published: 10 May 2023

Brexit and Hiring in Hair and Beauty: Three Years On

Three years have passed since the UK voted to leave the European Union, and with Brexit officially taking effect in January 2021, it's fair to say that the UK job market has been affected in various ways. One industry that has seen significant changes is the hair and beauty industry, which has long relied on the mobility of workers across borders. But how has the job market in this industry actually played out since Brexit? Are hair and beauty professionals better off, or worse off? In this blog post, we'll take a much needed deep dive look at the impact of Brexit on the hair and beauty job market, and explore what the future may hold for those working in this dynamic and creative industry.

The Actually Consequences 

Almost three years on, British businesses are still facing a new set of challenges when it comes to hiring. Is has been acutely felt in the hair and beauty industry, where prior to Brexit there was always a steady stream of talent coming from across the channel. A plethora of salons and barbers are now s are put in a difficult position when it comes to attracting top and consistent talent.

Where Are The Stylists?

The pool of available talent has shrunk: One of the most immediate impacts of Brexit has been the reduction in the number of EU citizens coming to work in the UK. This is having a  knock- on effect on businesses' ability to recruit the skills they need. While the free movement of workers abruptly ended after Brexit, there are still a number of options available to businesses who want to hire EU citizens. These include the intra-company transfer visa, the Tier 2 (General) visa, and the Tier 5 (Temporary Worker - Government Authorised Exchange) visa. However, when it comes to hiring in the hair sector these options yield some difficulties.

Firstly, when hiring a stylist or barber, part of the vetting process is an in person trade test, to be observed first hand by the senior stylist or hiring manager.  Second, many salons nowadays are using contractors, or self employed staff to man the salons stations. The above via options do not account for such measures and are null and void.

Training up new and existing talent is seen as the only viable method to maintain enough staff to allow businesses to run at sufficient capacity. However this can take time, often years of commitment and resources. Many salons are now turning to temps to plug those holes and steady the ship in the interim. A temporary hairdresser can be a viable and often key option if you're in need of a hairstylist but don't want to commit to one long-term. There are many reasons to use a temporary hairdresser, including convenience, cost, and flexibility.

The pool of available talent has shrunk, and this is something many salon businesses have to come to terms with. There will be an increased need to invest more in training and development programmmes for for existing staff or look at alternative sources of talent such as apprenticeships and graduate schemes.

Despite these challenges, the hair and beauty industry remains a vibrant and dynamic sector that plays a vital role in the UK economy. Professionals in this industry are highly skilled and adaptable, and have shown remarkable resilience in the face of the many challenges they have faced in recent years. As the UK continues to navigate its post-Brexit future, it will be important to support and invest in this vital sector, to ensure that it can continue to thrive and grow in the years to come.

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