Study Shows Spa Industry Filled with Loyal Employees and Meaningful Careers

Spa Director
ISPA Foundation announces findings of inaugural work force study. // Photo credit: DragonImages/iStock/Getty Images Plus

The spa industry is filled with a number of meaningful career opportunities and loyal employees ready to fill them, according to the findings of the International Spa Association (ISPA) Foundation’s inaugural work force study. In the fall of 2017, the ISPA Foundation announced the launch its first ever research-driven study, which aimed at analyzing the recruitment, retention, and engagement of spa industry professionals. With the study concluded, the results show a loyal workforce full of positive professionals.

“The ISPA Spa Workforce Study was groundbreaking,” says Colin McIlheney, global research director for PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), the firm commissioned by ISPA to conduct the study. “It was designed to be inclusive and encourage participation across all types of roles and was a great success. Perhaps the highlight of the research was the very positive view so many staff had of working in the spa industry. This was amplified when they had an enabling work environment which encourages them to contribute to their maximum potential.” 

The study had more than 1,200 participants working within all levels of the spa industry, offering insights on job satisfaction, workplace environment, employee benefits and more. Major findings included:


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  • A strong word-of-mouth culture regarding hiring.
  • A high importance of loyalty towards employers.
  • The popularity of positive culture and working environments.
  • 87 percent of management respondents would like a long-term career in the spa industry.
  • Flexible scheduling and the ability to balance work and home life are of high importance to service providers.
  • Training and education of high quality service providers including massage therapists, estheticians and nail technicians is a challenge for management due to the increased demand of employees.
  • 49 percent of respondents had worked in the spa industry for over a decade.
  • 76 percent have worked for less than five employers throughout their careers.

“This research amplifies the many positive aspects of pursuing a career in the spa industry,” says Lynne McNees, ISPA president. “The ISPA Spa Workforce Study will help spa industry leaders garner a better understanding of what motivates employees to accept a job, remain loyal and engaged.  With nearly 33,000 vacant position in the U.S. spa industry alone, expanding the workforce is a top priority for ISPA.” 

All ISPA members receive full complimentary access to the study when using their member login at The research will be highlighted at the 2018 ISPA Conference & Expo, Sept. 24-26 in Phoenix, AZ.


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