careers hairdresser

Hairdresser Jobs

Hairdresser jobs… did you know?

Do friends ask you for hair advice? Having an eye for hair is a natural gift but it can be trained, teased and shaped into a spectacular skill too.

Your job as a hairdresser is to turn a customer’s bad hair day into an amazing hair month. You’ll cut and style hair to improve a person’s look and confidence. You’ll know when to give the customer exactly what they asked for and when to give diplomatic expert advice (and listen to the customer if they don’t want to go with your suggestion!).

Whether you work in a salon or at home, your job is to make the customer walk out of the door feeling like a million bucks – even if they didn’t spend that much.

Industry: Hair and Beauty

Hairdresser job trends

How much money can you make as a hairdresser?

£14,000 – £30,000+ (UK average)

Recent labour market information says you can earn on average between £14,000 and £30,000 or more a year as a hairdresser in the UK.

Your starting salary can vary because of factors like level of experience, training, or location. Your salary as a hairdresser will increase over time as you build skills, knowledge and experience.

What entry qualifications and training do you need?

School, college and training

You may not need any formal qualifications to become a hairdresser. Employers may find your enthusiasm and willingness to learn a more important entry requirement than any qualifications you got at school.

In some cases you can get work in a salon without any formal qualifications, either academic or ones related to hairdressing, and learn on the job.

You can also apply for hairdressing qualifications at college. You can do these full-time or part-time. You can stick just to being trained up as a hairdresser, or look for courses that combine hairdressing with other practical beauty skills like make-up or nails.


You can become a hairdresser through an apprenticeship that lets you learn on the job as you train for an industry-recognised qualification. You’ll learn practical skills in a work-based environment like a salon, getting paid for your time. You’ll also study with a training provider towards a technical qualification. This is likely to involve class learning in a college, but you can check details with your apprenticeship provider.

You are unlikely to need any set academic qualifications to apply for a hairdressing apprenticeship.

However, there are some physical elements to consider:

  • Colour blindness may make it harder for you to progress in training on selection and application of colouring products
  • If you have skin conditions or allergies, it’s worth researching how the chemicals used in hair, beauty or nail services might have an impact on your health.

Career progression

With time and experience you could progress to become a senior stylist or salon manager.

With further qualifications and/or experience, you could move into training or assessing hairdressers, or heading into the world of film, TV and theatre. You could even move into wig-making.

You could also be a self-employed hairdresser and open your own salon or work from home, perhaps travelling to clients. This option is best considered once you’ve spent some time in the industry building up your skills and network of contacts, as well as getting a feel for how the business side of things works.

What experience do you need for hairdressing jobs?

Work experience

Aim to get retail experience, because working in a hair salon involves retail and sales as well as cutting and styling hair.

Being able to show an employer that you understand the importance of time-keeping, self-management to keep busy and looking and acting in a professional way in a retail environment will help you stand out when applying for a trainee position or apprenticeship.

It will also help if you can show you have good negotiation and communication skills, with customer experience (perhaps on a reception desk) and sales transfer experience (e.g. working on a till in a retail environment).

Finally, it never hurts to show an employer that you have a real passion for hair! Any experience you can build in or out of school, cutting and styling hair for yourself or people you know, will help you apply for roles with confidence.

What skills do you need for hairdressing jobs?

Useful skills to highlight to your employer when applying for jobs like this one include:

  • Creativity – after all, you’ll be designing hairstyles and thinking about how to work a hair technique to a customer’s best advantage
  • Customer service and communication skills – from giving advice, listening to requests and even being a shoulder to cry on, you’ll make the customer feel at ease and in safe hands
  • Self-management skills – you’ll be great at time-keeping, always willing to keep busy in quiet periods and make yourself useful in keeping the salon neat and tidy without constant supervision.

Vocational qualifications and work experience will help you build these skills over time.

What does a hairdresser do?

You could work anywhere from an independent or chain hair salon to a hotel or spa.
You could specialise in Afro-Caribbean hair, male hair (perhaps training as a barber) or be a general cutting and styling superstar.

Some junior or trainee hairdresser job responsibilities include:

  • Greeting customers, taking calls and making appointments on the reception desk
  • Shampooing and conditioning hair, matching the product to the customer’s hair type
  • Simple cutting (as a trainee you’ll be given basic cutting tasks to begin with, to build your skills and confidence over time)
  • Keeping the salon clean, tidy and an attractive and relaxing place to be
  • Keeping an eye on stock to make sure supplies and towels are ready for senior hairdressers to use

Some experienced hairdresser job responsibilities include:

  • Cutting and styling using a wide range of techniques, whether a customer wants a classic cut or the latest trend
  • Colouring, straightening or perming hair
  • Advising on styles and minor physical problems, such as hair and scalp problems, in a way that will boost the customer’s hair health
  • Ordering stock and promoting suitable products to customers to increase sales
  • Keeping an eye on product storage to ensure chemicals are being used and stored safely and correctly
  • Keeping up to date with all the latest trends, products and styling techniques.

Your first steps into hairdressing jobs

Hairdresser jobs are advertised under different job titles. When you’re looking on job boards, look for the following types of job:

  • Trainee hairdresser
  • Apprentice hairdresser
  • Junior hairdresser

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