After 95 percent of spa industry delegates attending the Global Spa and Wellness Summit in 2011 reported a widespread lack of training and education within the spa industry, an extensive study was undertaken to explore staffing challenges and how to address the workforce gap.

In “Spa Management Workforce & Education: Addressing Market Gaps”, developed by SRI International, it’s reported that there are approximately 130,000 to 180,000 spa managers working in the industry globally, with only 4,000 students currently enrolled in some form of spa management education or training program. The study noted that because existing degree programs fulfill only a fraction of the industry’s needs, and those that exist are relatively new and small, spa owners and executives place less emphasis on educational credentials when hiring spa managers/directors, contributing to the gaps in business, financial and technical skills.

“It’s clear that the number of spa management-related degree programs is not meeting industry needs,” said SRI Senior Economist Katherine Johnston.

“Spa management is an especially challenging career, requiring a critical mix of business and people skills,” said GSWS Chairman and CEO Susie Ellis. Hard skills in business and management are considered to be the number one deficiencies among today’s spa managers/directors.

The study lists several recommendations for improving the spa management workforce system:

1. Encouraging skills development among current/future spa management personnel.

2. Sponsor scholarships for spa management students.

3. Disseminate information about spa management internships.

4. Engage educators in major spa industry events.

5. Reach out to universities/colleges/schools that already offer spa management-related programs.

6. Encourage universities/colleges/schools to add spa management-related degrees and courses.

7. Establish an online forum for education-related exchanges.

To read SRI’s complete “Spa Management Workforce & Education” report, visit: “Spa Management Workforce & Education: Addressing Market Gaps.”