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Some See Cosmetology As Recession Proof Career

By CityTownInfo.com Staff

March 24, 2009

Experts in the cosmetology field predict that regardless of the economic turndown, demand for hairdressers and cosmetologists will remain steady or grow. But some in the field warn that as more clients cut back on luxury items, the market for such jobs will shrink.

The Miami Herald reports that the latest Occupational Outlook from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics noted that the field is expected to grow 14 percent from 2006 to 2016, which is faster than the average for all occupations. Jobs for hairdressers and cosmetologists are expected to increase because many now cut both men's and women's hair, and because teens and baby boomers are expected to continue with regular haircuts and styling.

Employment for manicurists and pedicurists is expected to grow by 28 percent, while jobs for estheticians and other skin care specialists are expected to increase by 34 percent.

People "will sacrifice buying that third dress and come to a salon to make themselves look better," noted Neil Finkelstein, educational director at South Florida's Empire Beauty School, who was quoted in the Herald.

Other beauty school officials concur. KYPost.com reports that Frederic Holzberger, owner of the Aveda Frederic's Institute in Kentucky, boasts a 90 percent job placement.

"In our industry, this is one job that won't be shipped overseas," Holzberger said. "It's one job that won't be sold on the Internet. I'm very proud to say that our industry is holding its own very, very well."

Yet others warn that the recession is taking its toll on the field. "There usually are a lot of opportunities, whether it's with plastic surgeons and dermatologists or at spas, but right now the availability of jobs has collapsed," Dr. Nathan Mayl, a plastic surgeon whose Florida office offers medical spa services, told the Herald. "Our regulars on the esthetics side aren't as regular as they were a year ago."

U.S. News & World Report, which listed cosmetology as one of its best careers for a changing job landscape, nevertheless warned that the field has drawbacks: In the current economic climate, pay will be low until one develops a clientele, and most cosmetologists receive little or no healthcare benefits.

George Lopez, spa director at Spa Palazzo at the Boca Raton Resort & Club, also pointed out in the Herald that competition is fierce for high-end jobs in spas, and once hired, employees seldom leave. But sometimes, talented recent beauty school graduates can land a job immediately.

"We do look at the superstars in school who just graduated," Lopez explained, "because it's sometimes easier to teach someone who has not developed bad habits yet."

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