The Growing Demand for Barbers and Hair Stylists
After graduating high school, most people who wish to pursue higher education go to college or university to complete their four-year degree. With rising debt and questions surrounding the effectiveness of a bachelor’s degree, many are turning to trade schools, where students work on developing highly-specialized skills rather than learning through the traditional form of education. Among these jobs that require specific skill sets are barbers and hair stylists, two trade jobs that are consistently in demand. According to WorkBC, British Columbia’s official job board, the field for barbers and hairstylists is projected to grow over the next 10 years, with more than 6,000 new job openings being posted between 2021 and 2031.
While salaries vary greatly, barbers and hairstylists in British Columbia can expect to make around $35,455 annually. On the lower end, they can make around $15.20 per hour, while on the higher end, they can make $30.00 per hour or more. The B.C. Labour Market Outlook graph also suggests that the average employment growth rate will be +2.6% between 2021 and 2026 and +1.4% between 2026 and 2031. Around 60.7% (3,680) new jobs have opened due to economic growth, and 39.3% (2,380) jobs have opened up as replacements for retiring workers. Click here to further explore the duties, work environment, statistics and resources available for prospective barbers and hairstylists.
In addition to hourly wages, hairstylists may also earn extra income in the forms of tips and bonuses depending on the amount of products they sell and the number of clients they provide services to.
But Why Are They in Demand?
Well, hair never stops growing. Barbers and hairstylists typically cut and style hair that has grown too long or requires a fresh look. Based on this, there are hundreds of thousands of people who need their hair cut every day. After all, getting a haircut is a basic need and not a luxury one. Thus, with a growing population, more and more skilled barbers and hairstylists are needed. Barbers and hairstylists can also take their job with them, meaning that they can produce good work almost anywhere in the world. It is also generally considered to be one of the very few careers that are unaffected by changes in time and the economy (recession-proof). In short, these are some of the reasons why they will always be in demand.
While many might assume that people in this career field usually work at a hair salon, barbers and hairstylists are needed just about anywhere. They work in hairstyling salons, hairdressing salons, barbershops, vocational schools, and healthcare organizations. Others might work in theatre, film, television and more entertainment-specific industries. Those TikTokers, Korean idols, YouTubers and celebrities you see on social media platforms all likely work with barbers and hairstylists to achieve a unique or signature look! So, even if you start small in your local town, you might just end up working with some of the biggest people one day!
Learn More About Hair at VCC
If you see yourself working with hair in the future, be sure to check out Vancouver Community College’s website on Hair Design & Esthetics. Their Hairstylist program, which runs for approximately 10 months, will provide you with all the knowledge you’ll need to become a barber or hairstylist. You will also get hands-on, practical training in cutting, colouring, styling, and overall salon management while serving real clients at VCC’s very own salon and spa.
Students who graduate from the Hairstylist program will be able to perform all duties of a hairstylist (shampooing, scalp massaging, styling, cuts, colouring, wave procedures, apply extensions and wigs, etc.), use and maintain tools and equipment according to industry standards, identify structures and functions of a client’s hair and skin, recognize potential diseases and disorders, and apply fundamental business management knowledge and skills needed to operate a hair salon or related business.
Some brief information about the Hairstylist program:
- Tuition: $20,160 (plus other applicable fees)
- Credential: Certificate
- Length: 10 months
- Hours: Full-time
- Delivery: Class-based
- Campus: Downtown
- Start Dates: January, March, May, September, October
Admission requirements include:
To be considered for the Hairstylist program under the Cosmetology Diploma, international students must either have completed English 10 under the BC education system, or have an IELTS Academic overall score of 5.5 (no band less than 5.0), or a Duolingo English test score of 95. More information on VCC’s English entrance requirements for international students can be found here.
- Seats are offered to applicants who have met all admission requirements, on a first-qualified, first-served basis.
- International applicants must be 17 years of age or older or a graduate of a secondary school.
- All VCC applicants are required to function successfully in an English-speaking classroom. English requirements vary by program. For details, visit VCC International – English Requirements.
Click here to learn more about the Hairstylist program at VCC.
Sources: VCC Hair Design and Esthetics, VCC Hairstylist Program,