Inaugural ISPA Spa Workforce Study Highlights an Industry Filled with Meaningful Careers to Pursue

April 19, 2018

The International SPA Association (ISPA) Foundation has released their findings from the inaugural ISPA Spa Workforce Study. The study had more than 1,200 participants working within all levels of the spa industry, offering insights on job satisfaction, workplace environment, employee benefits and more. PwC was commissioned by the ISPA Foundation to conduct the study.

“This research amplifies the many positive aspects of pursuing a career in the spa industry,” said ISPA President, Lynne McNees.  “The ISPA Spa Workforce Study will help spa industry leaders garner a better understanding of what motivates employees to accept a job, remain loyal and engaged.  With nearly 33,000 vacant position in the U.S. spa industry alone, expanding the workforce is a top priority for ISPA.”

Major findings from the ISPA Spa Workforce Study include a strong word-of-mouth culture in hiring, loyalty to employers being high and a positive culture and working environment is considered important to all roles surveyed.  Eighty-seven percent of management respondents indicated they would like a long-term career in the spa industry.

“The ISPA Spa Workforce Study was groundbreaking. It was designed to be inclusive and encourage participation across all types of roles and was a great success,” said PwC Global Research Director, Colin McIlheney. “Perhaps the highlight of the research was the very positive view so many staff had of working in the spa industry. This was amplified when they had an enabling work environment which encourages them to contribute to their maximum potential.”

A challenge faced by management is the training and education of high quality service providers including massage therapists, estheticians and nail technicians, due to the increasing demand for this group of employees. The most common terms found in responses when asked about their biggest issue for the spa of the future included, “qualified,” “quality,” “training” and “recruitment.” 

Service provider respondents are passionate about providing exceptional client service and the majority would like a long-term career in the industry. Flexible scheduling and the ability to balance work and home life are of high importance to service providers. There is a wealth of opportunities available for those looking to start a career in the spa industry. Those interested are encouraged to visit to learn more about grants and career opportunities. 

Overall, the spa workforce is loyal. Nearly half of all respondents, 49 percent, have worked in the spa industry for more than a decade. Meanwhile, more than three in four respondents, 76 percent, have worked for less than five employers in their careers.

The ISPA Foundation would like to thank its sponsors AccorHotels and ResortSuite. The research will be highlighted at the 2018 ISPA Conference & Expo September 24-26 in Phoenix, Arizona.  To learn more about the event, visit

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