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An extensive study exploring the challenges faced by a growing industry confronted with a talent gap has been released by the Global Spa and Wellness Summit (GSWS). The Spa Management Workforce & Education: Addressing Market Gaps report was developed by SRI International* (founded as Stanford Research Institute) for the GSWS to examine the difficulties the industry faces in hiring qualified management personnel, the root cause of this high demand for talent and recommendations to address the workforce gap.
The report was commissioned by the GSWS after 95% of delegates attending its 2011 Summit reported lack of training/education was the greatest challenge facing the industry, and hiring qualified spa managers and directors the largest obstacle to the continued growth of their own businesses.
According to the GSWS, the demand for skilled spa managers/directors has been accelerated by an industry that has been on an upward trajectory, growing from $60 billion in 2007 to an estimated $73 billion in 2012**, with fast-growing markets, including parts of Asia, currently clocking an increase in annual revenues of up to 20% a year. The GSWS also cited an estimated 22% increase in the number of spas worldwide during this time period: from 71,600 five years ago, to an estimated 87,000-plus today.
“We think these findings are a wake-up call to an industry dependent on providing the highest personal service and professional standards, and one where people are its greatest asset,” says SRI senior economist Katherine Johnston. “It’s clear that the number of spa management-related degree programs is not meeting industry needs.”
SRI reported that while there are 130,000-180,000 spa managers working in the industry globally, only 4,000 students are currently enrolled in some form of spa management education or training program.