Hairdressers/barbers cut, colour and style hair. Barbers also shave and trim hair, moustaches and beards.
Hairdressers/barbers usually earn
$31K-$50K per year
Source: NZ Hair and Beauty Industry Training Organisation Inc (HITO), 2016
Pay for hairdressers/barbers varies depending on experience and how many clients they have.
- Apprentices can expect to start on the training wage.
- Hairdressers/barbers not signed into a training agreement (an apprenticeship) earn at least the minimum adult wage.
- Hairdressers/barbers who are qualified and have built up a good client base can earn more than $50,000 a year and often work on a bonus system.
Hairdressers/barbers' wages increase as they progress through their training, learn more skills and service more clients.
Self-employed hairdressers/barbers may earn more depending on the success of their business.
Employers may also provide incentives to staff, such as commission on retail sales and a percentage of client sales.
Source: NZ Hair and Beauty Industry Training Organisation Inc (HITO), 2016.
- Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment website - information about minimum pay rates
- MoreBusiness.com website - use this calculator to convert pay and salary information
(This information is a guide only. Find out more about the sources of our pay information)
What you will do
Hairdressers/barbers may do some or all of the following:
- consult with clients about the style or cut they want
- cut and blow-wave clients' hair
- wash and colour hair
- style hair
- shave and trim beards and moustaches
- sell haircare products
- treat and recommend products for hair and scalp problems
- clean and sanitise the equipment and the work area
- help train other hairdressers/barbers
- run their own businesses.
Skills and knowledge
Hairdressers/barbers need to have:
- skill in different hairdressing methods, including cutting, styling, perming and colouring techniques
- knowledge of past and current hairstyles and trends
- an understanding of hair and skin types, and how they react with different types of chemicals such as colouring products
- knowledge of health and hygiene regulations
- creative and artistic skills.
Hairdressers/barbers who run their own businesses also need to have bookkeeping and management skills.
- usually work on week days and may work one day at the weekend and some evenings
- usually work in hairdressing salons or barbershops, which can be very busy.
What's the job really like?
Cole talks about life as a barber - 1.05 mins. (Video courtesy of Got a Trade? Got it Made!)
I wake up looking forward to coming to work, I’m thriving more and I’m learning way more than I ever did at school and I’m more onto it and I love it, and if I really enjoy something then I will stick to it.
No regrets, no, I reckon it’s probably the best decision I’ve made. You’ve got to put your effort into it, what’s the point in being in an apprenticeship if you’re just going to slack off, so you've got to put your all into it and you will receive your all after.
It’s a really good trade, it can lead on from a lot of jobs especially overseas as well, wherever you go pretty much, someone’s going to want a haircut.
My name’s Cole, I’ve got a trade and I’ve got it made.
To become a hairdresser you need to complete an apprenticeship and gain a New Zealand Certificate in Hairdressing - Professional Stylist (Level 4).
To become a barber you need to complete an apprenticeship and gain a New Zealand Certificate in Commercial Barbering (Level 4).
- NZ Hair and Beauty Industry Training Organisation (HITO) website - information on hairdressing and barbering qualifications
NCEA Level 1 is recommended to start a hairdressing apprenticeship. Useful subjects include maths, science, English, art and design.
Gateway offers a pre-apprenticeship hairdressing or barbering programme for secondary school students. You can gain a range of unit standards, and it is a useful way to get background knowledge of hairdressing.
- NZ Hair and Beauty Industry Training Organisation (HITO) website - information on Gateway hairdressing, barbering and beauty programmes
Hairdressers/barbers need to be:
- good at communicating and listening
- friendly and polite
- able to follow instructions
- accurate, with an eye for detail
- able to do basic maths.
Experience in hairdressing or work as a hairdresser's/barber's assistant is useful, as is any work involving contact with people.
Hairdressers/barbers need to be reasonably fit and healthy, and able to stand for long periods. They also need to have good hand-eye co-ordination and steady hands.
They should not be allergic to chemicals, although gloves are used for protection.
Find out more about training
- NZ Association of Hairdressers Inc
- (04) 548 9818 - email@example.com - www.nzhairdressing.org.nz
- NZ Hair and Beauty Industry Training Organisation Inc (HITO)
- (04) 499 1180 - firstname.lastname@example.org - www.hito.org.nz
Check out related courses
What are the chances of getting a job?
Opportunities are best for hairdressers/barbers who are fully qualified and experienced.
Chances of finding work as a hairdresser/barber's apprentice are poor as apprenticeships are limited and highly competitive.
Your chances of getting an apprenticeship are best if you have:
- studied at a hairdressing/barber school
- been on a hairdressing course with Gateway
- previous customer service experience.
Types of employers varied
Hairdressers/barbers may work for:
- hair salons and barber shops
- beauty spas and health clubs
- large department stores
- luxury hotels and cruise ships
- nursing homes.
Hairdressers/barbers often choose to be self-employed or to run their own salons.
- Cumming, E, chief executive, NZ Hair and Beauty Industry Training Organisation, Careers New Zealand interview, April 2016, (www.hito.govt.nz).
- Devlin, C, 'Hairy Times for Wellington Barber Shops', 23 July 2015, (www.stuff.co.nz).
- Infometrics, research data prepared for NZ Hair and Beauty Industry Training Organisation, 2016, (www.hito.org.nz).
- Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, '2006-2013 Occupation Data' (prepared for Careers New Zealand), 2016. (www.mbie.govt.nz).
- Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, 'Occupation Outlook 2016', 2016, (www.mbie.govt.nz).
Progression and specialisations
Hairdressers/barbers may progress to own their own business or move into management, training or education roles.
Last updated 1 June 2017