Hairdressers, also called hairstylists, work in beauty salons where they shampoo, cut, colour and style clients' hair. Hairdressers who also offer beauty services like pedicures and make-up application are generally called cosmetologists. Hairdressers help clients choose hair care products and advise them on caring for their hair at home. Many factors influence earnings.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average annual salary of hairdressers, hairstylists and cosmetologists was £17,329 as of May 2008. That works out to an average hourly wage of £8.30. The middle 50 per cent of the profession earned between £11,589 and £20,319 annually, according to the report. A November 2009 report by the private company Salary.com places the median annual wage for hairdressers at £15,033. The middle half brought home between £12,482 and £18,459, according to the report.
Barbers, who are hairdressers who provide cutting, styling and shaving services mostly to male clients, are under a separate Bureau of Labor Statistics category. According to a May 2008 report by the BLS, the average annual salary for barbers in the United States was £17,296. That works out to an average hourly rate of £8.30. The middle half earned between £12,070 and £19,864. The highest-paid 10th of barbers earned more than £26,377 annually.
The earnings of personal care workers tend to increase along with work experience. According to an April 2010 salary report by PayScale.com, the median expected hourly earnings for hairdressers, hairstylists and cosmetologists with less than one year of work experience falls between £4.80 and £6.30. That wage range increases to £4.80 through £6.50 for those with between five and nine years of experience. Hairdressers, hairstylists and cosmetologists who have been on the job for more than 20 years can expect to earn between £5.3 and £9.80 per hour.
Another factor that can impact the earnings of a hairdresser is geographic location. Generally, hairdressers working in salons in metropolitan areas earn higher incomes than those working in nonmetropolitan parts of the country. This is likely due to the higher cost of living in urban areas. According to a May 2008 Bureau of Labor Statistics report, the highest-paid hairdressers lived in the states of Hawaii, Washington and New Jersey. They earned more than £20,150 each year, on average.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, some hairdressers earn commission based on the price of the hair care service or the products they sell to clients. Some salons also award yearly bonuses to employees who attract new clients to the salon. According to PayScale.com, the median expected annual bonus for hairdressers ranges from £65.9 through £663. The median expected commission range is £194 through £7,582.
Perks and Benefits
Some hairdressers who have salaried positions with salons enjoy benefits like paid vacations, health insurance, dental coverage and retirement plans, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. However, most self-employed or part-time hairdressers are not entitled to such benefits. An added benefit for many hairdressers is the availability of free or discounted beauty and hair products.
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2008: Barbers
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2008: Hairdressers, Hairstylists, and Cosmetologists
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook: Barbers, Cosmetologists, and Other Personal Appearance Workers