Latest
issue
GET SPA BUSINESS
magazine
Yes! Send me the FREE digital editions of Spa Business and Spa Business insider magazines and the FREE weekly Spa Business and Spa Business insider ezines and breaking news alerts!
Not right now, thanksclose this window
Uniting the world of spa & wellness
Get Spa Business and Spa Business insider digital magazines FREE
Sign up here ▸
News   Features   Products   Company profilesProfiles   Magazine   Handbook   Advertise    Subscribe  
Research
Work it out

What can the Industry do to tackle the serious lack of skilled Spa Managers and Directors? SRI International’s Katherine Johnston reveals the findings and suggestions from its innovative new study


Spa businesses are facing a fundamental challenge in their management workforce – they’re simply not able to find enough people with the right skills to fill management-level positions. In a online survey conducted by SRI earlier this year, 95 per cent of spa industry leaders said they face problems in hiring spa managers/directors with the right combination of qualifications and experience, while 52 per cent believed these problems will stay the same or worsen over the next decade. These challenges are critical for the future of the industry, because spas are fundamentally about the experiences they provide. To be innovative and competitive, a spa’s employees are its number one asset.

The Global Spa & Wellness Summit (GSWS) commissioned SRI International to examine the many challenges in hiring strong, well-qualified spa management personnel, as well as the root causes of these challenges. Presented at the 2012 GSWS conference in June (see sb12/3 p54), Spa Management Workforce & Education: Addressing Market Gaps, presents recommendations in how to address gaps in the supply and demand for skilled spa managers and directors.

It’s important to recognise that these challenges are not unique to the spa industry. Over the last 25 years, as the economy in many parts of the world has shifted from manufacturing to services and knowledge-based industries, economists have documented that: a workforce is increasingly the most important factor for success in an increasingly competitive global economy; and also that skilled and talented workers are increasingly difficult to recruit and retain, especially at the managerial level. The leading global management firm McKinsey & Company has dubbed this challenge the ‘war for talent’.

At the same time, as a relatively young and fast-growing industry, the global spa sector also faces a number of particular obstacles.

Spa-specific challenges
Part of the problem is that spa management is a very challenging career that requires a huge mix of hard and soft skills, combined with a deep passion and understanding of spa. Most people require both significant formal education/training and practical, on-the-job experience in order to build this skill set. However, since there’s no well-defined educational or career pathway for entering spa management, most spa managers and directors are deficient in at least one of these key skills areas. Spa managers and directors who are promoted upwards from lower-level spa positions (often therapists) have typically received little to no training in hard skills such as business, management and finance. Spa managers and directors who are hired from outside the spa – or outside the industry – may have management experience/skills, but may lack the requisite soft skills and understanding of spa. Additionally, spa management is a highly demanding career which often involves long hours/weeks and requires significant travel. This can lead to employee burn out and makes it difficult to or be difficult to sell the role as a lifestyle career. Generally, hard skills in business/management are considered to be the number one deficiency among today’s spa managers and directors.

Other challenges are focused on education and training providers. There are few education and training programmes specifically preparing people for careers in spa management. SRI has identified 64 spa management-related degree programmes available in universities, colleges, and schools around the world. These include degrees specifically focusing on spa management; hotel/hospitality/tourism management degrees with a spa management component; and spa therapy programmes with a management component.

The graduates of these existing degrees meet only a tiny fraction of the industry’s growing needs for well-trained spa management personnel. There are approximately 4,000 students on such programmes, while there’s an estimated 130,000-180,000 spa managers and directors worldwide, and this figure is continuing to grow. Therefore, the spa industry places very little emphasis on educational credentials when hiring spa managers and directors – which contributes to the gaps in the technical/business skills. Additionally, since most spa management-related degree programmes are fairly new and very small, they’re not as well-connected to the spa industry as they ideally should be.

As well as degrees, there are at least 41 providers of spa management continuing education globally which offer workshops, short courses and credentials for people already in the workforce. The providers are also new, fragmented and constantly evolving, and there’s no one proven model for effectively delivering training to employees already in the workforce. The greatest challenge for continuing education is to provide meaningful and in-depth training, but also deal with the very limited time and financial resources for training.

There are also obstacles relating to spa businesses as very few spa businesses invest adequate resources and efforts into training and professional development activities as staff move up the ranks into management-level positions. This then augments the gaps in hard skills and technical/business skills. Without succession planning and career pathways, employees are not likely to be prepared for management-level positions as they advance. Most training for spa managers and directors is done when people are first hired, but few companies provide training beyond that point. Most training is done entirely in-house. Relatively few companies utilise online/distance learning for their spa managers/directors, even though this model can be both time- and cost-effective. What’s more, few draw on external training providers or externally-developed training materials – even though there’s a growing range of these in the marketplace – and few pay for management employees to take external courses.

Developing the workforce
To address the management talent gap, the industry needs a more proactive and partnership-oriented approach towards management workforce development.

Right now, there’s a huge amount of fragmentation in the workforce system. Industry people don’t know what schools and training programmes are available, while schools find it hard to connect with industry members. There are many training resources, books and credentials that have been created in recent years that few people know about, let alone are supporting and developing. ISPA and the American Hotel & Lodging Educational Institute, for example, have put together an extensive series of spa management-related textbooks and curricula.

There are several critical steps that can be taken by the spa industry to overcome this fragmentation and address management workforce gaps.

SRI suggest:
Building awareness of existing spa management resources and programmes. The industry must work together to disseminate information about spa management degree programmes; continuing education providers; spa management books and training resources; and internship opportunities. This is a critical first step, because how can the industry work on improving spa management education/training if industry members do not even know what programmes and resources already exist, much less use them?

Reaching out to universities and schools that already offer spa management programmes. Spa businesses need to be proactive about reaching out to the spa management degree programmes in their local region or country – it’s as simple as making a phone call and enquiring about how to get involved through internships, mentorships and guest lectures, etc. In addition, the industry should also think about how to reach out to key universities and schools that don’t have any spa management offerings – including hotel and hospitality management schools and spa therapy schools – to educate them on the career opportunities in spa management and to encourage them to develop relevant programmes.

Proactively investing in human resource development. Spa businesses need to think about how to be more proactive in supporting employees as they move through their careers. How can you provide more training? Can you work on succession planning so that therapists are prepared to move up the ranks to management positions? Can you develop more internship or management trainee programmes so that students and graduates have good opportunities to build practical skills and experiences? Can you raise the bar for what you expect of new hires – requiring new managers/directors to have or obtain a degree or credential in spa management? It’s unlikely that spa management education/training programmes and resources will continue to grow and improve until industry demand grows.

By working together effectively to support existing resources and new initiatives like those outlined above, spa businesses, educational programmes, and industry associations alike can make a significant impact on addressing workforce challenges that are critical to the future of the industry.

Study methodology
Commissioned by the GSWS, this study was conducted by SRI International, a worldwide independent, non-profit research firm originally founded as the Stanford Research Institute in 1946.

The study incorporates extensive primary and secondary research, including: two globally distributed surveys of spa industry leaders and executives and spa management personnel; interviews with over 45 spa industry executives and educators; an inventory of over 100 spa management-related education and training programmes worldwide; and a review of existing research and information on spa management workforce and education issues. l

The full version of the Spa Management Workforce & Education study can be found at: www.globalspaandwellnesssummit.org

To read Spa Business’ own investigation into global spa management training visit: http://lei.sr?a=X7s5H and http://lei.sr?a=z5Q6j

There’s a huge shortage of spa graduates
FEATURED SUPPLIERS

Book4Time unveils enhanced day and resort pass functionality
Book4Time has announced the launch of Day & Resort Passes on its award-winning platform to help hotels and resorts drive staycation business. [more...]

Triple defence: Elemental Herbology's latest SPF shields against sun damage, blue light and pollution
Your skincare routine just got smarter thanks to Elemental Herbology’s latest product innovation, Smart Screen SPF50. [more...]
+ More featured suppliers  
COMPANY PROFILES
SALT Chamber

Since 2012, SALT Chamber has completed over 3,600+ projects and is considered the leading authority [more...]
Swissline by Dermalab

Inspired by the science of cellular rejuvenation, Swissline was founded in Switzerland in 1989, igni [more...]
+ More profiles  
CATALOGUE GALLERY
 

+ More catalogues  

DIRECTORY
+ More directory  
DIARY

 

23-24 May 2024

European Health Prevention Day

Large Hall of the Chamber of Commerce (Erbprinzenpalais), Wiesbaden, Germany
30-30 May 2024

Forum HOTel&SPA

Four Seasons Hotel George V, Paris, France
+ More diary  
 
ABOUT LEISURE MEDIA
LEISURE MEDIA MAGAZINES
LEISURE MEDIA HANDBOOKS
LEISURE MEDIA WEBSITES
LEISURE MEDIA PRODUCT SEARCH
 
SPA BUSINESS
SPA OPPORTUNITIES
SPA BUSINESS HANDBOOK
PRINT SUBSCRIPTIONS
FREE DIGITAL SUBSCRIPTIONS
ADVERTISE . CONTACT US

Leisure Media
Tel: +44 (0)1462 431385

©Cybertrek 2024
Uniting the world of spa & wellness
Get Spa Business and Spa Business insider digital magazines FREE
Sign up here ▸
News   Products   Magazine   Subscribe
Research
Work it out

What can the Industry do to tackle the serious lack of skilled Spa Managers and Directors? SRI International’s Katherine Johnston reveals the findings and suggestions from its innovative new study


Spa businesses are facing a fundamental challenge in their management workforce – they’re simply not able to find enough people with the right skills to fill management-level positions. In a online survey conducted by SRI earlier this year, 95 per cent of spa industry leaders said they face problems in hiring spa managers/directors with the right combination of qualifications and experience, while 52 per cent believed these problems will stay the same or worsen over the next decade. These challenges are critical for the future of the industry, because spas are fundamentally about the experiences they provide. To be innovative and competitive, a spa’s employees are its number one asset.

The Global Spa & Wellness Summit (GSWS) commissioned SRI International to examine the many challenges in hiring strong, well-qualified spa management personnel, as well as the root causes of these challenges. Presented at the 2012 GSWS conference in June (see sb12/3 p54), Spa Management Workforce & Education: Addressing Market Gaps, presents recommendations in how to address gaps in the supply and demand for skilled spa managers and directors.

It’s important to recognise that these challenges are not unique to the spa industry. Over the last 25 years, as the economy in many parts of the world has shifted from manufacturing to services and knowledge-based industries, economists have documented that: a workforce is increasingly the most important factor for success in an increasingly competitive global economy; and also that skilled and talented workers are increasingly difficult to recruit and retain, especially at the managerial level. The leading global management firm McKinsey & Company has dubbed this challenge the ‘war for talent’.

At the same time, as a relatively young and fast-growing industry, the global spa sector also faces a number of particular obstacles.

Spa-specific challenges
Part of the problem is that spa management is a very challenging career that requires a huge mix of hard and soft skills, combined with a deep passion and understanding of spa. Most people require both significant formal education/training and practical, on-the-job experience in order to build this skill set. However, since there’s no well-defined educational or career pathway for entering spa management, most spa managers and directors are deficient in at least one of these key skills areas. Spa managers and directors who are promoted upwards from lower-level spa positions (often therapists) have typically received little to no training in hard skills such as business, management and finance. Spa managers and directors who are hired from outside the spa – or outside the industry – may have management experience/skills, but may lack the requisite soft skills and understanding of spa. Additionally, spa management is a highly demanding career which often involves long hours/weeks and requires significant travel. This can lead to employee burn out and makes it difficult to or be difficult to sell the role as a lifestyle career. Generally, hard skills in business/management are considered to be the number one deficiency among today’s spa managers and directors.

Other challenges are focused on education and training providers. There are few education and training programmes specifically preparing people for careers in spa management. SRI has identified 64 spa management-related degree programmes available in universities, colleges, and schools around the world. These include degrees specifically focusing on spa management; hotel/hospitality/tourism management degrees with a spa management component; and spa therapy programmes with a management component.

The graduates of these existing degrees meet only a tiny fraction of the industry’s growing needs for well-trained spa management personnel. There are approximately 4,000 students on such programmes, while there’s an estimated 130,000-180,000 spa managers and directors worldwide, and this figure is continuing to grow. Therefore, the spa industry places very little emphasis on educational credentials when hiring spa managers and directors – which contributes to the gaps in the technical/business skills. Additionally, since most spa management-related degree programmes are fairly new and very small, they’re not as well-connected to the spa industry as they ideally should be.

As well as degrees, there are at least 41 providers of spa management continuing education globally which offer workshops, short courses and credentials for people already in the workforce. The providers are also new, fragmented and constantly evolving, and there’s no one proven model for effectively delivering training to employees already in the workforce. The greatest challenge for continuing education is to provide meaningful and in-depth training, but also deal with the very limited time and financial resources for training.

There are also obstacles relating to spa businesses as very few spa businesses invest adequate resources and efforts into training and professional development activities as staff move up the ranks into management-level positions. This then augments the gaps in hard skills and technical/business skills. Without succession planning and career pathways, employees are not likely to be prepared for management-level positions as they advance. Most training for spa managers and directors is done when people are first hired, but few companies provide training beyond that point. Most training is done entirely in-house. Relatively few companies utilise online/distance learning for their spa managers/directors, even though this model can be both time- and cost-effective. What’s more, few draw on external training providers or externally-developed training materials – even though there’s a growing range of these in the marketplace – and few pay for management employees to take external courses.

Developing the workforce
To address the management talent gap, the industry needs a more proactive and partnership-oriented approach towards management workforce development.

Right now, there’s a huge amount of fragmentation in the workforce system. Industry people don’t know what schools and training programmes are available, while schools find it hard to connect with industry members. There are many training resources, books and credentials that have been created in recent years that few people know about, let alone are supporting and developing. ISPA and the American Hotel & Lodging Educational Institute, for example, have put together an extensive series of spa management-related textbooks and curricula.

There are several critical steps that can be taken by the spa industry to overcome this fragmentation and address management workforce gaps.

SRI suggest:
Building awareness of existing spa management resources and programmes. The industry must work together to disseminate information about spa management degree programmes; continuing education providers; spa management books and training resources; and internship opportunities. This is a critical first step, because how can the industry work on improving spa management education/training if industry members do not even know what programmes and resources already exist, much less use them?

Reaching out to universities and schools that already offer spa management programmes. Spa businesses need to be proactive about reaching out to the spa management degree programmes in their local region or country – it’s as simple as making a phone call and enquiring about how to get involved through internships, mentorships and guest lectures, etc. In addition, the industry should also think about how to reach out to key universities and schools that don’t have any spa management offerings – including hotel and hospitality management schools and spa therapy schools – to educate them on the career opportunities in spa management and to encourage them to develop relevant programmes.

Proactively investing in human resource development. Spa businesses need to think about how to be more proactive in supporting employees as they move through their careers. How can you provide more training? Can you work on succession planning so that therapists are prepared to move up the ranks to management positions? Can you develop more internship or management trainee programmes so that students and graduates have good opportunities to build practical skills and experiences? Can you raise the bar for what you expect of new hires – requiring new managers/directors to have or obtain a degree or credential in spa management? It’s unlikely that spa management education/training programmes and resources will continue to grow and improve until industry demand grows.

By working together effectively to support existing resources and new initiatives like those outlined above, spa businesses, educational programmes, and industry associations alike can make a significant impact on addressing workforce challenges that are critical to the future of the industry.

Study methodology
Commissioned by the GSWS, this study was conducted by SRI International, a worldwide independent, non-profit research firm originally founded as the Stanford Research Institute in 1946.

The study incorporates extensive primary and secondary research, including: two globally distributed surveys of spa industry leaders and executives and spa management personnel; interviews with over 45 spa industry executives and educators; an inventory of over 100 spa management-related education and training programmes worldwide; and a review of existing research and information on spa management workforce and education issues. l

The full version of the Spa Management Workforce & Education study can be found at: www.globalspaandwellnesssummit.org

To read Spa Business’ own investigation into global spa management training visit: http://lei.sr?a=X7s5H and http://lei.sr?a=z5Q6j

There’s a huge shortage of spa graduates
LATEST NEWS
Connection, creativity and nature inspire Arizona’s upcoming desert wellness sanctuary Align
A new nature-inspired wellness destination called Align is coming to Tucson, spearheaded by brothers and local hospitality entrepreneurs Mark and Eric Erman.
The Well names Zeev Sharon chief development officer and announces plans for Swiss debut
Modern US wellness brand The Well has promoted Zeev Sharon, formerly VP of real estate, to chief development officer.
QC New York to unveil 15,000sq ft multimillion-dollar expansion in July
QC New York, a luxury Italian day spa on Governors Island, will expand its offering this July by adding an extra 15,000sq ft of space. This new area will feature sensory saunas, waterfalls, a salt room, an ice room, a lavender room, a 142-seat bistro and a waterbed relaxation room.
Wellness real estate market booming – forecast to reach $913bn by 2028, reports GWI
The Global Wellness Institute (GWI) has released promising new research on the wellness real estate market at its third-annual Wellness Real Estate & Communities Symposium in Manhattan.
Banyan Group appoints Paul Hawco to spearhead wellness strategy
Paul Hawco, a seasoned figure in the international wellness industry, has assumed the role of executive director – integrated wellbeing at independent, hospitality group Banyan Group.
Ritz-Carlton Reynolds, Lake Oconee, unveils new-look lakeside destination spa
The Ritz-Carlton Reynolds, Lake Oconee in the southeastern US state of Georgia is celebrating a new milestone after unveiling its newly renovated 27,000sq ft destination spa.
Art-inspired urban spa to launch at stylish new London hotel, Art’otel London Hoxton
Art’otel, Radisson’s contemporary art-inspired lifestyle hotel brand, has strengthened its presence in London with a new hotel in Hoxton fusing art, design and hospitality.
Saga Holographic hits Kickstarter target to roll out holographic indoor bike
HoloBike, a holographic training bike that simulates trail rides in lifelike 3D, is aiming to push indoor cycling technology up a gear.
Exclusive: Yuki Kiyono goes behind the scenes of Aman’s social wellness brand Janu
Luxury hotel brand Aman, widely known for its strong spa focus, has just launched its much- talked-about sister brand Janu in Tokyo – complete with a 4,000sq m urban wellness retreat.
Equinox teams up with Dr Mark Hyman's Function Health to offer $40k annual healthspan programme
Equinox, has teamed up with health platform, Function Health, to offer 100 comprehensive laboratory tests, giving members vital insights into their internal health.
SHA Wellness shares vision for “world’s first healthy living island” in UAE
Spanish wellness brand SHA Wellness Clinic is busy preparing to bolster its wellness portfolio in 2026 with a hyper-exclusive island wellness enclave in AlJurf, UAE.
Breakers Hotel in Long Beach to relaunch as Fairmont property with tech-forward spa in 2024
The historic Breakers Hotel in Long Beach, California, is set to reopen in mid-2024 as a Fairmont Hotels & Resorts property after a significant restoration and redevelopment project.
+ More news   
 
FEATURED SUPPLIERS

Book4Time unveils enhanced day and resort pass functionality
Book4Time has announced the launch of Day & Resort Passes on its award-winning platform to help hotels and resorts drive staycation business. [more...]

Triple defence: Elemental Herbology's latest SPF shields against sun damage, blue light and pollution
Your skincare routine just got smarter thanks to Elemental Herbology’s latest product innovation, Smart Screen SPF50. [more...]
+ More featured suppliers  
COMPANY PROFILES
SALT Chamber

Since 2012, SALT Chamber has completed over 3,600+ projects and is considered the leading authority [more...]
+ More profiles  
CATALOGUE GALLERY
+ More catalogues  

DIRECTORY
+ More directory  
DIARY

 

23-24 May 2024

European Health Prevention Day

Large Hall of the Chamber of Commerce (Erbprinzenpalais), Wiesbaden, Germany
30-30 May 2024

Forum HOTel&SPA

Four Seasons Hotel George V, Paris, France
+ More diary  
 


ADVERTISE . CONTACT US

Leisure Media
Tel: +44 (0)1462 431385

©Cybertrek 2024

ABOUT LEISURE MEDIA
LEISURE MEDIA MAGAZINES
LEISURE MEDIA HANDBOOKS
LEISURE MEDIA WEBSITES
LEISURE MEDIA PRODUCT SEARCH
PRINT SUBSCRIPTIONS
FREE DIGITAL SUBSCRIPTIONS