The profile the UK hairdressing and barbering industry currently enjoys has been boosted by the social media phenomenon. The relationship between brand, team and clientele has intensified. This closer connection has made fostering a culture of flawless service skills a must-have for every salon. Despite these escalating consumer demands for excellence, the Government still resists making mandatory state registration law across the hairdressing sector.
The Hair & Barber Council, a professional industry body, has made changing Parliament’s mind their mission. They’ve upped the pressure on MPs by commissioning a detailed research report to stimulate debate. Research Report Hairdressing and Barbering: the case for Mandatory Registration focuses on just how important it is to both the industry and the general public to have hairdressing and barbering properly and professionally regulated.
Client satisfaction is the crux of the service industry. This is a key message that The Hair & Barber Council hopes will hit home with government ministers. The report’s consumer survey of 2000 individuals was commissioned in conjunction with the ‘Vocational Training Charitable Trust’ (VTCT), and reveals that:
- 82% of respondents stated that hairdressers/barbers should be trained and qualified in order to practice in the United Kingdom.
- 74% stated that a practising hairdresser/barber should have a 'licence' which proves they have the necessary qualifications/training to be able to carry out any hair/barber service.
- 70% of respondents would be concerned, from a health and safety point of view, if their hairdresser/barber was not properly trained and qualified.
- 80% of respondents would feel more reassured if all hairdressers and barbers had to be properly trained and qualified in order to carry out any hair/barber service.
We have customers who think all hairdressers are highly trained professionals, yet the truth of the matter is that anyone can open up tomorrow and cut and colour hair. We need to ensure that we are listening and doing all we can to protect consumers’ interests in our industry. This survey backs up a lot of the issues that anecdotally we know exist. It shows what the consumer wants and what the individuals in our industry want, and we have a clear mandate to meet the expectations of consumer and the industry, comments Ben Dellicompagni, Francesco Group Managing Director.
The other major motivating force for The Hair & Barber Council is improving the status given to hairdressers and barbers. The UK hair industry has long been an economic and creative success story, enjoying a global cachet, and yet it’s still viewed by outsiders, ignorant to the disciplines and complexities involved, as a default career choice - despite the fact that the hair, barbering and beauty sector generates almost £7bn in turnover each year. This blasé attitude exists not least within government and self-regulation continues to be the Conservative Party’s rule of law. Although the seeds of change are slowly being sewn, the bill being defeated by a handful of votes when last tabled showed significant progress.
There are approximately 40,000 hairdressing, barbering and beauty businesses in the UK. The voluntary Register of Qualified Hairdressers boasts qualifying graduate hairdressers/barbers, hairdressers/barbers and senior hairdressers/barbers, but in the opinion of The Hair and Barber Council mandatory state registration would help unify and drive the sector forward as a whole whilst also increasing skills within the craft. Joining an accredited register that meets high standards set by a professional body allows individuals to demonstrate their personal commitment to their career and their clientele, and enables them to be a part of a professional community striving for consistently high standards.
The general public have a right to know and expect that whenever they visit a hair salon, a barber shop, or visit an independent hair stylist, that person has been properly trained to a standard set down by the industry to ensure all customers can have total faith in the professionalism of that individual. To know that they are being looked after by someone that really does know what they are doing, and that all matters referring to their health and safety and hygiene standards are adhered to give them maximum protection. The public needs to have total confidence in that person, whilst knowing that the industry is properly regulated, maintained, and policed to ensure standards are always maintained. This, I believe, is non-negotiable to ensure customers up and down the country are protected by the quality of skills and knowledge that their professional hairdresser/barber/therapist has acquired. The UK Government has a duty to ensure that the public has these protections, states Keith Conniford, The Hair and Barber Council CEO/Registrar.
To read the full report: www.haircouncil.org.uk