Qnity, an independently owned company committed to helping grow beauty and wellness businesses, individuals and students through financial education andtools, recently formed a new division dedicated to providing financial literacy and actionable data to the professional beauty and wellness industry—The Qnity Institute.
“In my research, I have become increasingly alarmed to find much of the data about the beauty industry made available to the public is incomplete, flawed, and/or biased,” says Tom Kuhn, Qnity founder and CEO. “Accurate data about compensation is vital to thesustainability of the industry.”
Tom and his team at the Qnity Institute started a grassroots study to equip salon owners with the data they needed to communicate earnings to their staff. This research quickly evolved into something much bigger: The Pro Beauty Compensation Study (Study).
The Study was conducted across 330 salon locations, with businesses representing more than $184 million in payroll compensation from 36 states. Owners submitted the W2earnings of 3,391 employees and completed a 50-question survey with qualitative and quantitative information. The survey was written by the Study team and rigorously reviewed by a think tank assembled to reveal any methodology errors and bias.
The Study findings were revealing.nPreviously published statistics on beauty professionals showed low hourly wages and little opportunity for growth.
Qnity’s updated research tells a different story.
• The average hourly rate for a salon professional in the study was $38.37/hour.• 24 percent of those surveyed earned more than $48.08/hr—the amount necessary to earn$100k+/year if adjusted to a 40-hour work week.• The average W2 was $54,307, but if adjusted to full-time hours, that went up to $79,807.• Beauty pros enjoy flexibility in their hours. The average amount worked was 27.8 hoursper week, and 99 percent of owners offer scheduling flexibility.• 96 percent of salons are offering benefits to employees and 90 percent offer new hiretraining programs/ongoing education.
There were many notable findings from the study, which those familiar with the salon industry may not be surprised to learn. But for the first time, we have data to educateowners, professionals, prospective students interested in a career in beauty, and of course—policy makers. One exciting finding in the Study was the potential and stability the beauty industry offers. There are 30+ careers available to beauty pros and 94 percent of businesses are hiring.
“While other industries are doing mass layoffs or contracting their workforce, the data shows plenty of open jobs in the beauty industry,” says Erin Kuhn, Qnity president andspokeswoman for the Pro Beauty Compensation Study. “There’s a level of job security in the beauty industry that other industries don’t provide.”
“The data confirms what many industry insiders know—a career in beauty offers the potential for strong earnings, scheduling flexibility and the ability to practice a craft youlove,” says Erin. “It’s our hope that this data can help bridge the gap between perception versus reality on what a career in beauty really looks like, for those inside and outside the industry.”
The beta phase, phase 1 and phase 2 of the Study were completed in 2022. This year, the Qnity Institute will complete phase 3, using data to compare results year over year, identify trends and expand to include additional workforce segments. The Institute will also launch an industry wide initiative to promote the power of financial literacy.
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