Take an inside look at gender equity in professional beauty - the latest research with 600 beauty professionals - and hear the stories of women in the industry.
Wella Company is casting a light on this topic, especially in context of the pandemic effect on the industry in general and women of the industry in particular.
Here is a message from Annie Young-Scrivner, CEO of Wella Company:
At Wella Company, our business is built on the foundation of women – our more than 500,000 customers across 100 countries worldwide, and our hair and nail beauty-loving customers and consumers everywhere.
While women dominate the professional beauty service industry in sheer numbers, they are still working towards equal pay and securing positions of decision-making. Moreover, due to the pandemic, women are losing their jobs or dropping out of the workforce in growing numbers due to caregiving responsibilities and pay inequality.
To understand the current context in major global markets including the United States and the United Kingdom, we conducted a meta-analysis of existing research, fielded a beauty professional survey to 600 beauty professionals and collected stories from women in the industry resulting in: An Inside Look at Gender Equity in Professional Beauty. By casting a light on this topic, our hope is that we can be a leader in choosing to challenge bias with the ultimate goal of driving meaningful impact for all.
THE PROFESSIONAL BEAUTY PARADOX
In the U.S., women hold about 89.6% of professional beauty service jobs, which places it in the top female-dominant industries along with elementary and secondary school teachers (76%) and home healthcare nurses (87.5%)(1).
Most Americans are more likely to believe that women make more money than men as beauty professionals. However, the reality of gender equity in the professional beauty industry tells a different story. By the numbers, women dominate professional beauty, yet men hold more leadership positions and make more money.
Of the top seven global professional beauty companies, males hold the most CEO roles, with only two female CEOS, running Coty and Wella Company.
Women who worked in personal care made $.85 to the dollar men earned in 2019.(5)
There’s also a huge gender discrepancy in editorial hairstyling, with women making only around 26% of the hair talent at major agencies for jobs like magazine covers and ad campaigns.(6)
Furthermore, the pandemic has shaken up the industry, creating a financial burden that is resulting in salon closures and/or more beauty professionals borrowing money. Women in particular have been negatively impacted.
The professional beauty community, which is part of the personal services small business economy, is one of the hardest hit by lockdown closures and the expense of health and safety measures. If past recession patterns repeat themselves, it will be small businesses that take longer to recover.
Despite these recent challenges, salon owners and freelance stylists are reinventing their business models.
"Being faced with pandemic-mandated salon closures/re-openings, keeping my staff employed and reinventing the salon experience to make it safe for hairdressers and clients, but also adapting to our clients’ new needs, has been a rollercoaster ride." - Diane Stevens, salon owner, Nioxin Top Artist
"I really had to remain hopeful as many of us were forced to re-think our thought process and get proactive with our businesses. So many stylists I know are desperate for income and have resorted to finding income through temp jobs as food delivery drivers...My major commitment throughout this year is to be intentional, purposeful and inventive with my work, my family and the health of myself and everyone around me. It’s an interesting time to be a working woman. There has been so much pain, but there is also beauty, as the very definition of beauty is being redefined. And I will never give up." - Briana Cisneros, Wella Professionals North America Ambassador
"Something I have really leaned into is using virtual experiences to continue prioritizing inspiration, education and mentorship for my stylist community." - Sonya Dove, Wella Company Professional Top Artist and Global Creative Artist
1 Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2020
2 Wella Company Gender Diversity Data
3 Women in Professional Beauty: Professionals’ Perspective of 249 U.S. respondents,
4 Women in Professional Beauty: Professionals’ Perspective of 600 global respondents,
5 NarrowtheGap.co, 2019
6 Forbes, 2019