Spa business issue 2 2018

Page 7

editor’s letter

Let’s take the lead


ongratulations to ISPA on the publication of its first piece of research into careers and employment in the spa market. The recently published ISPA Spa Workforce report was carried out by Colin McIlheney of PricewaterhouseCoopers and is covered in our feature on page 44. First the good news and as if we didn’t know already, the report confirms the industry attracts committed, caring people. McIlheney says “The overwhelming majority of [therapists] are passionate about providing exceptional client service and would like to have a long-term career in the industry”. The study also found they stick to the same employer far more than expected, saying: “Almost 80 per cent expect to be working in their current organisation 12 months from now. This challenges another traditional belief that many spa professionals are actively seeking a new job.” Set against this, however, researchers found long hours, poor pay, less than great management, lack of training and pressure to be responsible for retail upselling are seen as issues. Importantly, more than 50 per cent of therapists surveyed said their pay does not fairly reflect their contribution and this goes to the heart of why – as McIlheney notes – there are more than 32,000 vacancies for spa therapists in the US alone. Fundamentally, this is discrimination against women. Research shows that when women take up an occupation, pay levels fall and when men enter a profession, they increase. Prof Paula England, co-author of Occupational Feminization and Pay says once women start doing a job, “It just doesn’t look like it’s as important to the bottom line or requires as much skill and gender bias sneaks into [pay] decisions”. She also found jobs involving caregiving pay less, even after controlling for the disproportionate share of female workers. So we’re sitting on the cusp of these two forces – we employ caring women and it’s clear we’re exploiting them.


Poor pay is leading to staff shortages across the spa industry as we exploit our caring, largely female workforce. The spa industry can take a lead in fighting this insidious gender pay gap

Caring women are the most ‘exploitable’ workers

A Cornell study found the difference between occupations and industries accounts for more than half the gender pay gap We’re not the only industry to face this challenge, but we are one of the only ones which profess to want to make the world a better place and to create happiness and wellbeing for all, so let’s start in our own back yard with fair pay for our workers. Wouldn’t it be great if sometime soon academics were writing research papers showing how the spa industry became the first sector to reverse this insidious gender pay gap? It would have the added benefit of attracting more people and imagine how profitable we’d be if we filled all those vacancies?

Liz Terry, editorial director @elizterry

Contact Spa Business: +44 (0) 1462 431385 @spabusinessmag

©CYBERTREK 2018 issue 2 2018 7

Turn static files into dynamic content formats.

Create a flipbook
Issuu converts static files into: digital portfolios, online yearbooks, online catalogs, digital photo albums and more. Sign up and create your flipbook.