hair stylist barber
Hairdressing and beauty

Career outlook for hairdresser

UK Salary Ranges





Currently employed in Scotland


Salary information is provided by the "National Careers Service". "Oxford Economics" supplies job forecasts and employment figures. Due to COVID-19 the jobs market is constantly changing. Some of the information may not reflect the current situation.

What's it like?

You would cut, colour and shape clients' hair to create the look they want.

As a junior hairdresser, you would:

  • Greet customers
  • Shampoo their hair
  • Do simple cutting
  • Make sure towels and supplies are ready for use
  • Keep the salon clean and tidy

As a senior hairdresser, you would talk to clients about how they want their hair done. You’d tactfully give them advice and suggest style ideas.

You would:

  • Shampoo and condition customers’ hair
  • Cut and style customers’ hair
  • So colouring, perming or straightening
  • Advise on minor hair and scalp problems
  • Make appointments and handle payments
  • Order materials
  • Make sure that hair products containing chemicals are used and stored correctly

You’d make people feel at ease so they enjoy being in the hair salon. You’d keep up to date with fashion and the latest hairstyles.

You could specialise in working with particular clients or techniques, for example:

  • Cutting men's hair in a barber shop
  • Pressing, braiding and plaiting Afro-Caribbean hair
  • Colouring and dyeing hair

Working conditions


You would usually work up to 40 hours a week, between 9am and 6pm. This would usually include Saturdays with a day off in the week. Some salons open late on one or two evenings during the week. Part-time work is often available. You could also work freelance.


You would work in a salon. You could also work freelance, either renting space within a salon or visiting customers in their own homes.


You could visit customers in their own homes

UK employment status





Self employed


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  • Positive attitude
  • Building relationships
  • Verbal communication
  • Creative
  • Respecting
  • Attention to detail

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Getting in

Entry requirements for courses can change. Always contact the college, university or training provider to check exactly what you'll need.


You would need a Higher National Certificate (SCQF Level 7) or relevant work-based experience and qualifications such as a Modern Apprenticeship in Hairdressing and Barbering (SVQ Level 3).

You can enter some Hairdressing National Certificate or National Qualification courses (SCQF 2-6) with no formal qualifications but some courses ask for National 4/5 qualifications (SCQF Level 4/5).

You can enter Higher National Certificate (SCQF Level 7) with National 4/5 qualifications and one to two Highers or relevant NC/NQ/SVQ qualifications.

Useful subjects

  • English
  • Maths
  • Chemistry
  • Care 

Helpful to have

Qualifications and experience that demonstrate a good eye for visual effect, communication and customer care skills, such as Skills for Work Hairdressing (SCQF Level 4/5) or Retailing (SCQF Level 5).

It is helpful to have relevant work-based qualifications such as a Scottish Vocational Qualification in Hairdressing and Barbering (SVQ Level 2/3) or be willing to work towards qualifications once in a job.