Day 3: Hiring Staff
We sat down with Jean Wing Hing at 4leisure Recruitment to ask about recruitment in the Spa Industry.
Can you outline your company, what it does and your role within it?
We are the UK’s leading specialist leisure recruitment agency providing both permanent and temporary staffing solutions across the UK. We cover a wide range of sectors including Health & Fitness, Spa & Beauty, Active Entertainment and Hospitality & Catering. I am one of the founding Directors and specialise in the spa, beauty and aesthetics sectors. Having operated for over 20 years, we have built an outstanding depth of knowledge of the industry together with a loyal client base making us well placed to provide advice on guidance for those looking to embark on a career in this sector.
What’s the current demand for therapists in the spa industry and how do you see the future growth?
Demand immediately post-pandemic was the highest we’ve ever seen and although that has tempered slightly, it is significantly higher than pre-pandemic. A combination of lockdown and Brexit have created a perfect storm and the effect of people moving to other industries together with the cessation of talent arriving from overseas has put exceptional pressure on employers to find talent. The result of this is that salaries and benefits have accelerated well beyond comparators in other leisure sectors.
What type of Spa businesses do you work with?
We work with a broad range of businesses from hotel spas, destination spas, salons, clinics, holiday parks and resorts as well as the supplier side of the market such as product houses.
Can you outline what employers are currently looking for when recruiting for therapists?
The technical requirements that our clients look for haven’t changed a great deal. They want well-practiced hands-on skills, excellent client engagement and ideally a commercial focus. However, given the level of disruption that businesses have faced over the last few years, there is certainly an emphasis on dedication and reliability. With salary demands at an all-time high, businesses want to know that people are committed to learning and developing as well as delivering an exceptional guest experience.
Can being newly qualified be a barrier to potential recruitment?
It’s not as big a barrier as it used to be. There were always concerns about an unknown quantity going straight into treatments without much guidance. However, businesses have recognised that the onboarding of staff needed to be better so inductions and training are longer and more detailed than before and subsequently, businesses are now more inclined to take on a newly qualified therapist with the right attitude who hasn’t developed bad habits.
Can you give a guide to salary bands for therapists based on skills and experience?
Salaries vary hugely dependent on the region and type of business. We expect newly qualified therapists to achieve £10.50 to £12ph and experienced therapists anything up to around £15.50ph.
Can therapists expect to receive benefits and if so, what could they be?
Again, benefits will vary between business. Although, it’s not an industry typically known for big benefits, we’re now seeing many more business including things like extended holidays, enhanced pension, store discounts and product allocations.
Are employers open to flexibility with regards to working hours?
Employers are always looking for ways to try to accommodate flexibility but ultimately, they are limited by the operating hours of the business and demands of the clients. There are certainly more businesses employing on a part-time basis but the demand for temporary staff is exceptionally high. They want the ability to increase their staffing levels sporadically without committing to a long term overhead. This also gives therapists the flexibility to work when they want.
What can a therapist do to stand out from the crowd when applying for a role?
The key thing that an employer initially looks for is experience but if you don’t have much to put on a CV, focus on your training. Examples of personal development such as doing additional courses to further your knowledge shows some dedication and ambition along with a personal statement about why you want to work in the industry. Don’t forget that a CV is more than the content. A well put together, professional looking CV says a lot about your character and attention to detail. For an industry that’s all about the finer details, demonstrating that you are meticulous and have pride in what you are producing goes a long way.
What advice would you give a new therapist who is currently looking for their first role?
There are lots of opportunities out there at the moment but remember that interviewing is a two-way conversation. As well as presenting yourself as an ambitious, caring, and professional individual who wants to learn, you also need to make sure that the business is in a position to support your growth. Be wary of any employers that can’t tell you what you’ll learn in the first year and who are too keen to get you treating clients straight away. Remember that you should both be investing in a long-term relationship; they are not just buying your labour. Temping is an excellent way to build up your skills and confidence. You’ll learn different ways of working, what environments you suit and which ones you don’t, and it’ll start to build some experience for your CV. Many of our placements were as a result of a fruitful period of temping.