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New Study Shows Gap Between Expansive Job Opportunities and Qualified Candidates in the Spa Industry

Posted: September 18, 2012

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The study also noted that because existing degree programs fulfill only a fraction of the industry’s needs, and those that exist are relatively new and small, spa owners and executives place less emphasis on educational credentials when hiring spa managers/directors, contributing to the gaps in business, financial and technical skills.

In addition, few spa companies invest adequate efforts into human resource development and training to prepare spa staff for management-level positions, augmenting the gaps in “hard skills.” Job titles are also inconsistent within the industry, and there is little attention paid to creating career pathways, resulting in employees that are neither likely to be aware of the opportunities nor prepared for management-level positions as they advance within a company.

“Spa management is an especially challenging career, requiring a critical mix of business and people skills,” says GSWS chairman and CEO Susie Ellis. “Many managers and directors may have a passion for spa, but passion is not enough. They need business, entrepreneurial, financial—and superb communication—skills, and they must be flexible, often willing to move and work long hours. On the other hand, it’s one of the most enjoyable and personally rewarding careers in the world.”

According to the report, both spa management personnel and industry leaders/executives reported similar training gaps and future training priorities; lack of skills in strategic planning, information technology, financial management, legal and regulations, public relations and revenue management were among the top six cited by each group. And while 57% of spa managers/directors reported they have six to 15 years of experience, just 4% have a degree in spa management and only 5% have a hospitality-related degree.


SRI concluded that major spa business stakeholders, educational institutions and the workforce need to create partnerships to develop suitable educational programs, including internships and continuing education. The report also noted that industry organizations have the opportunity to provide leadership in this issue.