26 April 2022

Latest NHBF update – 26 April 2022

This week's update covers:

  • Skills Report 2022
  • Scotland: COVID-19 Adaptations Survey
  • Retail sales fall and insolvencies spike
  • Action on fake reviews and competition
  • Redundancy guidance for employers
  • NHBF Website survey
  • Low Pay Commission regional visits


Tackling The Skills Shortage in the Hair & Beauty Sector

The NHBF has commissioned a major new independent report, 'Careers at the cutting edge: tackling the skills shortage in the hair & beauty sector', to analyse the current challenges that the sector is experiencing around skills and recruitment.

A set of challenges that existed pre-Covid has now been accentuated by the pandemic and the current pressures of business, staff and energy costs. Although the themes may not appear new to some, the report captures a moment in time, gives the data behind these challenges and quantifies the current issues.

The report finds that multiple interlinked factors, including qualifications & training, recruitment & retention, and financial pressures, all create a skills crisis. The report concludes that these are more than just challenges and that the sector is facing a perfect storm.

Many are familiar with the fall in the number of apprenticeship starts over the last five years or more, partly due to fewer candidates from schools, the sector shift towards self-employment, and lower funding levels. Worryingly, if current trends continue, the report sets out that there will be fewer than 3,400 hair & beauty apprenticeship starting in the UK by 2025.

Read the full report here.

Read NHBF Press statement.

Watch Skills Report video summary.


Scotland: COVID-19 Adaptations Survey

As part of the updated Strategic Framework, the Scottish Government has recognised the positive steps taken by businesses and other organisations during the pandemic and the need for them to have greater permanency in its aftermath. – These include increased hybrid and flexible working, enhanced sanitisation and hygiene and improved ventilation within the workplace. This survey is aimed to help us understand the adaptations that have already been made across different businesses and sectors.

The Scottish Government would like businesses to help shape its long-term guidance so we would be grateful if you could take 15 minutes to complete their COVID-19 Adaptations Survey by Thursday 28th April 2022, 5:00 pm.


Retail sales fall and insolvencies spike

The ONS's March figures show that retail sales were below expected levels, down 1.4%, while February's figures were also revised downwards to -0.5%, with online shopping and other non-store based retailing driving the fall in sales. Darren Morgan, ONS's economic statistics director, said: "Retail sales fell back notably in March with rises in the cost of living hitting consumers' spending. Online sales were hit particularly hard due to lower levels of discretionary spending." Corporate insolvencies in England and Wales, at 2,114 in March, were also far higher than in the same month last year (up 112%), and notably higher than in March 2019 (up 34%), before the pandemic hit.

On top of growing wider business and staff costs, the increase in energy prices has made a significant impact on the hair and beauty sector. The findings from an industry-wide survey conducted by the NHBF and partners found 82% have taken steps to reduce their energy costs – including turning down heating, turning off lights more frequently and turning off sockets at the end of each day*. Unfortunately, some businesses also report closing the salon for a day a week to save costs.

Action on fake reviews and competition

The Government has unveiled plans to crack down on practices which harm consumers in Great Britain, including fake reviews, which it will tackle through new laws. This new fake review includes tackling fake online reviews by making it clearly illegal to pay someone to write or host them. The Competition and Markets Authority will be given new powers to fine businesses if they mistreat customers.

Have you spotted a bad online review of your salon or barbershop? Has one of your clients taken to Facebook or Twitter to complain about the level of service they received? Get in touch with the NHBF and share your experience.

Read NHBF blog on How to deal with online review.


Redundancy guidance for employers

A survey on behalf of Acas has found that 10% of small and medium-sized businesses are likely to make staff redundancies over the next year (compared with 30% of large businesses). For NHBF Members only -  NHBF site has advice for employers and employees related to redundancy issues.

Read and watch the results from NHBF’s state of the industry survey.

Note: Note: The results from April’s state of the industry are due out next week.


NHBF Website survey

We are working with our digital partner, MC2 to gather feedback on our website. Your answers will help us to develop and improve our current digital platforms. Any information you provide will remain anonymous.  The survey will take no longer than 5-10 minutes to complete. Please click here to take the survey.


Low Pay Commission regional visits

To find out more about how the minimum wage has affected businesses, the Low Pay Commission will be visiting regions across the UK.  If any Members that are interested to speak with commissioners at the below locations, please contact the NHBF enquiries team. Please email  enquiries@nhbf.co.uk

11-12 May 

Walsall, Wolverhampton

15-16 June 

Conwy and Llandudno 

6-7 July 

Hastings and Rother 

3-4 August