An Inside Look at Gender Equity in Professional Beauty
An Inside Look at Gender Equity in Professional Beauty

In honor of Women’s History Month, Wella Company has released an insights report on the critical issues impacting women in professional beauty, including the pay gap, leadership and obstacles created by the pandemic.

Titled “An Inside Look at Gender Equity in Professional Beauty,” the research provides an analysis of data collected from 600 pro beauty associates and stories from women in the industry. 

“While women dominate the professional beauty service industry in sheer numbers, they are still working towards equal pay and securing positions of decision-making,” Annie Young-Scrivner, Wella Company CEO, explained in the report. “Moreover, due to the pandemic, women are losing their jobs or dropping out of the workforce in growing numbers due to caregiving responsibilities and pay inequality.”

Highlights from the report:

  • In the U.S., women hold about 89.6% of professional beauty service jobs.
  • Women dominate professional beauty, however, men hold more leadership positions and make more money.
  • 59% of U.S. women in professional beauty believe their male counterparts make more money as beauty professionals.
  • Women who worked in personal care made 85 cents to the dollar men earned in 2019.
  • In editorial hairstyling, women make up only around 26% of the hair talent at major agencies for jobs like magazine covers and ad campaigns.
  • 58% cited that pandemic restrictions are preventing women-owned beauty businesses from surviving.
  • 29% cited insufficient funding and financial support to become an independent stylist/nail tech or salon owner.

Stylists also got candid about their own experiences this past year:

  • “Being faced with pandemic-mandated salon closures/re-openings, keeping my staff employed and reinventing the salon experience to make it safe for hairdressers and clients, but also adapting to our clients’ new needs has been a rollercoaster ride.” – Diane Stevens, Salon Owner, Nioxin Top Artist
  • “I really had to remain hopeful as many of us were forced to re-think our thought process and get proactive with our businesses.  So many stylists I know are desperate for income and have resorted to finding income through temp jobs as food delivery drivers.” – Briana Cisneros, NA Brand Ambassador, Freelance Stylist

Since the start of the pandemic, Wella Company has launched initiatives to help support women in pro beauty, including providing free virtual education classes and deploying a $200,000 fund through Hairdressers at Heart to help those experiencing loss of business, educational investment and more.

For the full report, please visit

For reprint and licensing requests for this article, Click here.