…but survey reveals there is a lack of quality barbers to meet demand
The UK barbering industry is expected to grow over the next five year years, but there are major concerns over a lack of quality barbers to meet this extra demand, a new survey has found.
The research, by ex-forces skills organisation Armour to Barber and The Bluebeards Revenge premium male grooming brand, revealed that 83% of those working in the industry think the barbering sector will continue to flourish.
However, 63% of the 1,001 respondents believe the industry does not currently have enough quality barbers to cope with the rising demand from consumers.
According to the survey, the overriding reason for this was because of the “conveyor belt” system (64%). Barbers said there is far too much pressure to complete cuts quickly (dubbed the ten-minute haircut) without taking the time to consult with the client on their individual requirements.
Another reason cited was the lack of regulation and licensing within the industry (51%), thus allowing anyone to open up a barbershop without the necessary skills and offer a poor quality of service.
Thirty three per cent said they believed inadequate barber training provided by colleges was the biggest challenge for the industry.
When asked what attributes make a great barber, patience took the top spot (85%), with a good communicator (75%) second, discipline (67%) third and passion (66%) fourth. Other key skills listed included respect, courage and integrity.
The survey also found that 66% of barbershop owners are finding it difficult to hire a quality barber.
Former British army officer Liam Hamilton, the founder of Armour to Barber, hopes his group can help to plug this skills gap and ensure the industry thrives for years to come.
He said: “Barbering is enjoying a renaissance that shows no signs of slowing down, which has created a shortage of high-quality barbers.
“We believe that ex-service men and women have all the attributes to take the trade by storm: patience, people skills, an attention to detail and the ability to stand on their feet all day without a single complaint.
“At Armour to Barber our mission is to enable ex-service personnel to reinvent themselves in an exciting and rewarding industry. No matter how many years of service our prospects have given, we are here to help them transition smoothly into barbering with all the support they need.”
Armour to Barber works closely with The Bluebeards Revenge to deliver its important services. The barbershop brand has a great appreciation for the armed forces, with its managing director David Hildrew having previously served as a Royal Marine’s Commando.
He said: “We are proud to support Armour to Barber and offer comrades-in-arms a fantastic chance to retrain in a lucrative industry with plenty of opportunities. These highly-skilled individuals make fantastic barbers and deserve a chance to thrive outside of their military pasts.”
Armour to Barber are now calling on the industry to help them in their quest to recruit quality barbers. They are looking for barbershops to offer work placements to ex-military personnel.
“Experience is the best teacher, which is why every ex-service man or woman that wants to become a barber needs a stable work placement to help them on their journey,” Liam said.
“It’s our aim to provide this to them with the help of the UK’s finest barbers and barber shops. If you’d like to offer your shop and knowledge to our cause then visit armourtobarber.uk/get-involved.”
A barber since his early 20s, Liam served in the Coldstream Guards for 21-years before returning to the barbershop. Upon leaving the Guards, he faced an adversity that many members of the armed forces are confronted with – a lack of post-service opportunities. Thankfully, barbering gave him a platform to build his own business, learn a respected trade and enjoy a life of creativity.