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The Shortage Occupation List

Covid has decimated the jobs market! 

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finding it hard to recruit?

No matter the industry, it seems everyone is struggling to retain staff and to recruit new ones. Certainly there is a severe crisis in the hairdressing industry and we need to address the problem with action, not just words. Here’s the thing…. sure the events of the past two years have changed our mindset on the work/life balance, and yes there are hairdressers who have embraced new found freedoms and expectations to go it alone, leaving a gaping hole in the salon team. Agreed, there’s not much you can do about this but wait it out. We believe there will be a gradual realisation that the joys of being in a team, as an employee, are many ( think pension, sick pay, holiday pay, training, team rewards) never mind the security and cameraderie during unforeseen Pandemic scenarios! But it will take years. 

Think differently

The BUT is that there are also other factors playing into the jobs issue which we can help to mitigate. Here’s the position from the British Beauty Council who say, since the UK left the European Union, it has been more difficult for UK businesses to employ overseas workers domestically unless they meet a strict points system or the job role in question appears on the Shortage Occupation List.

The what? Who knew there was such a thing, but yes, The Shortage Occupation List sets out jobs in short supply in the UK.  Crucially, these occupations are then subject to different, more favourable, migration arrangements, giving  employers to access a wider pool of suitable workers, more quickly.


How do we get hairdressing on the list? 

This is how it works: The Migration Advisory Committee makes recommendations to Government on occupations are placed on the Shortage Occupation List. They do this by assessing if:

  • the occupation is skilled at a required level set by the Government
  • the occupation is in shortage
  • it is sensible to fill this shortage with migrant workers.

The British Beauty Council is onto it. The BBC says, sector information on wages, vacancies and employment, combined with evidence from stakeholders is used to decide whether a job or occupation is in shortage, with the final decision decided by Government. BUT so occupations within the beauty sector were included within the Shortage Occupation List when it was last updated in 2020. During this time the Government did not deem the industry to be highly skilled. However, over recent years the British Beauty Council has worked hard to raise the reputation and challenge the misguided perception of the beauty industry.

Here’s where we can help: A review of the Shortage Occupation List is now expected over the next year, with an opportunity to make further headway in this space. If the we want to be included within the Shortage Occupation List in the future, it is essential that we provide evidence to Government outlining:

  1. Where employers are finding it difficult to secure adequate numbers of workers with the required skills to fill their vacancies
  2. What specific types of occupation, skills or qualifications are lacking within the sector currently
  3. Why migration is a sensible response to this shortage
  4. Standard salary levels for each occupation and skill set in short supply
  5. Any other stakeholder evidence and context that may contribute to the decision

Call to action

We would strongly urge you to get in touch with your specific feedback on this issue. The British Beauty Council will then collate this data to feed into its ongoing Government engagement. Help us to help the industry be recognised as a skilled workforce. Email:

Go on.. do it now! Have your say – you deserve to…. 


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