Multiple nationwide lockdowns, prolonged social isolation, and inadequate financial assistance have jeopardised the sustainability of thousands of companies and the lives of thousands of employees and independent practitioners, even after restrictions have been removed.
The All-Party Parliamentary Group on Beauty, Aesthetics, and Wellbeing (APPG) has issued a call to action, urging the Government to ensure the post-pandemic recovery of the £30 billion beauty and wellbeing industry, along with suggestions of what to do. The committee, headed by MPs Carolyn Harris and Judith Cummins, began an investigation in response to concerns from business executives that the field was still recovering from the coronavirus outbreak.
It discovered that many companies are experiencing personnel shortages post-Brexit, as a result of insufficient financing for apprentices and a lack of customer trust, 66% of beauty businesses remain partly or entirely dependent on government assistance to operate.
While demand for services remained high throughout the first reopening period in April 2021, the National Hair and Beauty Federation’s September State of the Industry Survey revealed that demand quickly dwindled.
Due to this lack of customer trust in conjunction with staff shortages, less than half of beauty businesses are profitable.
A much-appreciated health and beauty salon has abruptly shut its doors after several decades, claiming staffing difficulties. House of Health and Beauty, located on Trinity Street in the heart of Dorchester, was a salon that provided body treatments, facials, and other procedures.
Holly Aiken, the salon’s owner, recently took the ‘tough choice’ to shut the establishment owing to ‘loss of great employees, “these last two years have been challenging for us all and unfortunately despite having a wonderful clientele, with losing fantastic staff and not being able to find suitable replacements, it has become too stressful and impossible to continue.”
The group has provided a total of three recommendations to Government in the request to ensure that the sector does not fall behind in the UK’s post-Covid-19 recovery:
The APPG makes the following three suggestions to the authorities to assist the beauty industry’s rehabilitation after the coronavirus outbreak:
1. Expand employer incentives for apprenticeships, particularly for small and micro companies.
2. Increase the accessibility and breadth of the National Skills Fund’s holistic and complementary credentials.
3. Recognise the critical significance of holistic and complementary treatments in relieving strain on the NHS.
The APPG initiated this official inquiry in response to industry concerns about severe staff shortages, a persistent lack of consumer trust, and a lack of funding for wellness services that are critical in assisting our overburdened NHS.
If the Government expands employer incentives for apprenticeships, it will especially be financially feasible for small companies, who have suffered the most during the epidemic. In this way, business owners will be able to hire new apprentices and make up for the severe staff shortages.
The APPG’s recommendations are positive news for those interested in the beauty industry. While the terrain is currently volatile, the beauty industry - defined by multiple types of businesses - is popular, and as we adapt to COVID and see results from the vaccine rollout, the industry hopes to boost back.