Recently one of my students asked me a question, "Ms. Penny, do you think robots will ever do our work?' Well, I said, as of now no. People love the one on one attention they get with their hairdresser and a robot cannot give them the personal attention they want and need.
This week I found this article about hairdressing, outsourcing, and robots, so I thought our readers might find these facts interesting.
Hairdressing made the front page of the respected national business newspaper, The Wall Street Journal, July 5th in an article that pointed to the security of personal-service professions in an uncertain economy. Written by Neil Shah and David Wessel, the article “Why Hairdressers Are Secure: Their Jobs Can’t be Exported” compared the growth of personal-service professions to the overall job rate, as well as to middle-skill jobs that were susceptible to automation or exportation:
“Before, during and after the recession, demand for one sort of worker has been persistently strong: jobs that involve assisting or caring for other people—from fast-food worker to home-health aides to nail polishers.”
“These occupations have one thing in common: They aren’t easily automated or outsourced abroad. “You can’t send people to China or India for a hair cut,” says Israel Kakuriev, 37 years old, who has been cutting hair in midtown Manhattan for the past 20 years. Nor is there, yet, a robot that can cut hair or hold the hand of an elderly woman with Alzheimer’s or do all the chores that flight attendants do.”
As the article continued, David Autor, an economist from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, noted a 36% increase in personal-service jobs between the years 1989 and 2007. Then the article points out that between 2007 and 2010, as the total number of jobs in the U.S fell by nearly 6%, the number of personal-service jobs actually increased by 2%.
Another graph in the story compared the growth of jobs in different careers from 2007 to 2011, according to the government’s Occupational Employment Statistics. That chart showed hairstyling jobs growing at 4% and jobs as manicure and pedicure technicians at 6.7%. Other personal-service jobs that grew were personal and home-care aides at 37.8%, nonfarm animal caretakers at 21.5%, home-health aides at 10.8%, child-care workers at 9.5%, fitness trainers and aerobics instructors at 5.2%. That was all during a time when the rates of overall jobs declined 4.5% in the U.S.
As MODERN SALON MEDIA announced the WSJ article on its Facebook pages, thousands of followers liked it and posted their own personal stories of how cosmetology has provided a rich and rewarding career. See below to read just a small selection of these comments and please share your own experience with a comment.
This story followed closely on the heels of Ted Gibson’s announcement that hairdressing finally will get a nod from the Academy Awards with the new Oscar competition category of “Make Up and Hairstyling.” While Gibson says this is a step in the right direction, he continues to campaign to get hairstyling recognized as it’s own category. All in all, it’s been a big, positive news week for the beauty business.
Timika Whitaker: “My career compared to my friends is great. I get to make my own hours, I get to decide how much money I’m gonna make…I have job security and business is always getting better. I love what I do and it’s always getting better.”
Kimberly Humphries-Turner: “I love my job and the people I have met along the way! What a blessing to do what you love and love what you do! Sometimes I’s not just the style…it’s the bond you create and the lasting friendships that count most when somebody trusts you with their hair. As far as secure, a robot won’t ever do my job and it certainly won’t be replaced with being made in China. As far as money if you stick to it, stay committed and continue to educate yourself, take positive criticism and do the things necessary to promote yourself…THE SKY IS THE LIMIT!”
Megan E. Gasiorowski: “I’ve been a stylist and been in the corporate world. Like a wise one once told me, your boss or your managers may not like you and as a result can terminate you, however all of your clients can’t fire you, especially in one day. The job security you get as a stylist is priceless. Plus, our salaries are hard to cap. We’re unstoppable!”
Jennifer Schaefer Lovell: “I worked in marketing for 12 years after college. I decided it was time for a career change and decided to pursue my passion of hair. I went to cosmetology school when I was 31 years old and I’ve never looked back. I love, love, love my job!”
Michelle Candino Kauhl: “I can honestly say in the past 19 years that I have done hair, the economy has not touched my business at all. I am actually business. I love my career, and I have lawyer and teacher friends who all said you can’t make any money are finding themselves not making money. I am single, I own my own house, I have two vehicles paid off and have money in the bank.”
Sy-Tac William Loc: “I got two college degrees but couldn’t find a job so I opened a dry cleaners. The business went down hill with the economy. Cutting was my passion since I was 14….About a year ago I got my cosmetology license. Now I love what I do, and make a very handsome living.”
Andrea Cwynar: “The article forgot to mention ‘one of the hardest-working bunch out there’ and ‘the cheapest shrinks available.’”
Jenn Purdy: “This has been an amazing 10-year career for me! I am fortunate to have worked with many amazing people. I love that we can continually learn, every day! I have gone from an apprentice to owner. I was able to start a family and fall right back into the profession. I am a proud military wife, and will never have a problem with employment wherever we go. How many other professions have these amazing qualities?”
Ted Gibson: “It’s been a great week, and hair is on the ballot. (Oscars)”
Alexandra Mansoor: “I have many friends that have chosen a more ‘traditional’ career oath and unfortunately cannot find jobs in their field, so even though they have a degree, they’re working retail or in the food industry. Not very fun for them and they’re very overworked. I have a lot of work, but I’m having a blast with my job as a cosmetologist and nail designer and am making a good living!”
Kate Farlow: “A few girls who were in cosmetology school with me in 2007 quit. They decided they wanted to do other things. Well both of those girls went back to cosmetology school recently. I guess they realized that with this economy, it is the place to be. Starting up is tough, but give it a few years and things will be nice when you get that solid clientele built up!”
George Stockman: “I have always been proud of what I do, although at certain times in our culture I feel I have been looked at as undereducated compared to all the over-educated rocket scientists out there. For 35 years, I have never been out of work and I’ve owned my own salon for nearly 30 years and have always been in demand. Early in my career, I have many friends who worked in factories who kinda took their shots at me—after all they were making big union money. But after two or three years into owning my own business, the factories shut down and some of those big money guys were asking me to help make their mortgage payments.”
Cedric Swift: “I’ve been a stylist for 30 years and I’m so grateful for the benefits it has brought me. Now, I am an instructor trying to inspire others to go for it and make it their life passion.”
April Lacy: “Being in the industry is one of the best careers out there! I am free to do what I want with my image including tattoos and my personal style. I can be so creative and I really enjoy changing people’s lives and image of themselves. And the best part about my industry is it will never die, hair always needs to be cut and people love to change it!”
Shirley Montross: “I am in my 30th year in this industry and feel blessed every day that I love what I do. We always say you never see a stylist in the unemployment line.”
Crissy Weaver Finney: “After 25 years, I still love my job as a cosmetologist. Each day is different and I have the best clients ever! I love being creative and always learning more. Some of my friends and family members are not happy in their lives because of their jobs. It’s just a job to them. I am so very grateful I have chosen this path in life. It’s inspiring, motivating and creative. When you see the smile on your client’s face when you are finished it makes me so happy and proud that I made someone feel good about themselves.”
Jessie Stewart: “As a student that is about to get out in the force of ‘hair design’ I’m completely happy making this choice. I’m retired military, and I know that no matter what people are going to go get their hair done. Even in the great depression, there were stylists making money…I am top of my class and making a name for myself already just while in school. I can only think what will come.”
Renee Jones: I am proud to say that I had a wonderful 25-year career with an owner that recognized the importance of fighting to make the public aware of all that goes into becoming and maintaining our professional. I was treated as a professional from my owner, I conducted myself as a professional with my clients and coworkers, and I did what needed to be done to keep up the education to maintain that level of professionalism. I had insurance, I invested in our 401K. I went to work every day and I listened to my clients and respected my coworkers and owners. Because of that I was able to retire after 25 years. You get what you give.”
Penny Miller: I am very happy with my career in cosmetology. I enjoy coming to work each day and sharing my information with my students and helping to inspire them to make a better life for themselves. This is a wonderful profession, that allows you to help others in some shape and form each and every day. You have the power as a hairdresser to improve someones day, each and every day of your career if you choose to do so. What a wonderful way to make a living. You can work anywhere, any time, with job security. You get to meet fun and interesting people, and salon life is never boring. Get on track with your cosmetology career and enjoy the ride. Best wishes with your career, you get out of it what you put in."