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The author, Silvia Sanchez, graduated from the University of Alberta with a B.A. in Psychology and has over 15 years of experience in the career-consulting field.

alberta,alberta employment standards code,beauty industry,contractors,employees,employment,job vacancies,staff

Beauty Industry Staff: Employee vs. Contractor

ESG Beauty Industry Career and Employment

Employee vs Contractor in Alberta’s Beauty Industry: What’s the difference?

Beauty Industry Staff: Employee vs. Contractor

The beauty industry offers all types of work arrangements. This article is meant to help both employers and service providers understand what their roles and responsibilities are in their particular work arrangements.

Let’s start by defining the difference between an employee and a contractor:
  • An employee works under an employee/employer relationship
  • A contractor carries out her/his work under an independent business/contractor relationship. In our industry, contractors are commonly known as “freelancers”, “chair renters”, “room renters”…
Remember that employees and contractors are governed by different employment laws and regulations, so it’s important to know which you (or your staff) fall under! Contracts are highly recommended as they allow for written clarification of any agreements made in the employer-worker relationship.

To help you understand the difference, we have come up with 4 different categories where we will highlight the differences between an employee and contractor:
  • Working Conditions
  • Tools and Equipment
  • Canada Revenue Agency
  • Employment Standards

Working Conditions

Employees in the beauty industry are regularly paid either a wage, salary, commission, or a combination of wage + commission. Contractors on the other hand submit invoices and may receive payment at intervals agreed upon by them and the employer. In the beauty industry however, chair/room renters pay an agreed amount to the employer and do not disclose to the employer their earnings or expenses.

Employees’ additional training is paid for or reimbursed by the employer, as where contractors pay for their own training costs and must have the required training before providing services.

Employees’ hours of work are determined by the employer, as where contractors choose their own time of work. In the beauty industry however, chair/room renters may work during their hours of choosing, as long as it in accordance with the employer’s hours of operation.

Tools and Equipment

Employees in the beauty industry are provided all the tools and equipment necessary to perform services. These tools and equipment are maintained by the employer, however, a good service provider will extend the life of any tool or equipment by using it properly and sanitizing it after every client. Employees can choose to provide their own tools.
Contractors provide and maintain their own tools and equipment. Ultimately, the employer and worker agree on the terms and conditions of their arrangement, but generally, chair/room renters are provided with a space within a salon/spa to provide services. Often a chair is provided by the employer to chair renters.

Canada Revenue Agency

Employees are deducted personal federal and provincial income tax, Employment Insurance (EI) premiums, Canada Pension Plan (CPP) from their employment earnings by the employer who in turn submits the deducted tax to Canada Revenue Agency (CRA).

Contractors submit their own federal and provincial tax deductions to the CRA. Sole Proprietors declare their earnings as personal income and therefore do not pay federal or provincial corporate taxes. Incorporated contractors submit a federal corporate income tax return along with their annual return. In terms of EI premiums, it is always the employer’s responsibility to pay the employer and employee portions of the EI premium. This includes EI premiums of chair/room renters. Contact ESG to learn more on how to deduct EI premiums from chair/room renters. In regards to CPP, the contractor is responsible to contribute to CPP.

Employees do not collect GST from their clients; Contractors including chair/room renters, (Sole Proprietors or Incorporated) must register to collect, charge, and remit GST once their gross annual revenues reach over $30K.

Employment Standards

Employees are covered by Alberta’s Employment Standard Code which entitles employees to general holiday pay/overtime pay/minimum wage/termination pay/vacation pay and time off. Contractors are NOT entitled to many of the perks enjoyed by employees. As a contractor in the beauty industry, it is important to cover all these details in a written contract prior to commencing employment.

Contact us to learn more

Executive Spa Group (ESG)
(780) 604 2772

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Beauty Industry Employment Statistics by Province

Employment Statistics in Canada’s Beauty Industry


The National Occupation Classification (NOC) is a numeric system used to classify occupations in Canada. It is a nationally accepted reference on occupations in Canada.

The North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) on the other hand, is used by businesses and the governments of the United States, Mexico, and Canada to classify business establishments according their type of economic activity.

The Beauty Industry falls under:

  • 6271 for Hairstylists
  • 6482 for Estheticians and Nail Technicians
  • 5226 for Makeup Artists
  • 3235 for Massage Therapists

  • 8121- Personal Care Services

Personal Care Services

This industry group comprises businesses primarily engaged in providing personal care services, such as hair care and esthetic services, hair replacement and scalp treatment services, massage services, diet counseling services and ear piercing services.

The North American Industry Classification System further classifies these establishments into more specific services. Contact ESG to learn more.

An establishment is placed into a NAICS category according to its primary business activity (the product or service whose revenues are the highest in terms of dollar value in that particular business).

If an establishment provides more than one product or service and these activities cross over NAICS boundaries any given year then an establishment could move from one NAICS code to another. For example, a spa that offers esthetics and massage therapy could cross over NAICS codes depending on which service sold more that year- facials or massages for example.

The above information was collected via
Alberta Learning Information Service (ALIS)
Industry Canada
Statistics Canada

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Marketing Yourself- Using your Appearance to Grow your Beauty Career


Increase your employability and your clientele by marketing your appearance

Using your Appearance to Grow your Beauty Career

Service providers have an advantage when looking for work in this industry. Unlike other industries, the beauty industry is very visual which means that every service provider has the ability to market their service simply by working on their own appearance.

This might sound unappealing and shallow, but let’s think about it for a minute…

Our industry is about beauty; Making people feel beautiful and giving them confidence by providing services that will enhance their natural beauty. If as a customer I am unhappy with my skin, is it realistic to think I would go to an Esthetician with bad skin? Or if I am interviewing Makeup Artists for my wedding to do our makeup, I will NOT be hiring the Makeup Artist with the bad makeup job!

Yes, it can be unfair that service providers get judged on their appearance. After all, the wedding photographer won’t be judged on the way she looks- she will be given the job based on her portfolio and credentials. As service providers in the beauty industry, we must learn to use these pre-judgments to our advantage!

With this in mind, let’s talk about HOW we will use prejudgments to our benefit. How do we market ourselves?

Before you begin using your appearance to market yourself, it’s important to
  • Be aware of your services’ strengths and weaknesses—where do you excel? Where can you improve in your service? It is important to know yourself and identify your skills and accomplishments, as well as areas of improvement in your services.
  • Identify your customers and potential employers. Which employers have a client-base that would be a good fit for your qualifications, appearance, and work preferences? Do your research before applying anywhere. The more comfortable you are in your own skin, the more confidence you will have which will be evident in your services. There is a place for everyone in this industry.
Now that you have considered your services and target market, the following step is to present your skills, experience and qualifications using your appearance to get your foot in the door. Once you have your potential employer’s attention, you can use other marketing tools (resume, cover letter, portfolio…) that show the employer you’re the best candidate for the job ☺

TIPS for ALL Beauty Industry Service Providers:
  • As service providers, we are ALWAYS looking for new customers. This includes our time off while we are socializing. While it is unrealistic for us to be on our best behavior at all times, our technical skills should always be evident in ourselves.
  • Always carry your business card. If you are a Nail Tech and someone compliments your nails, you can say, “I did them!” as you give them your business card, and there- you just got yourself a new client, who might get you another 5 clients, and so on…
  • Create a professional social media page. A public Instagram page is a perfect portfolio as you post before and after pictures of your work. It requires pictures only, so you do not have to worry about writing anything. Give yourself an easy user name for people to remember. Remember, the beauty industry is visual, people will judge your work based on what they see…
  • Always act confident and remember- anyone can become your client. Keep your posture in mind, and don’t forget to smile when you meet new people. Get into the habit of shaking hands when you meet new people
  • Always keep your conversations positive when you meet new people. A good service provider makes the service all about the client. Clients do not want a service provider who complains about life! Negative people take from one’s aura; positive people feed the soul 😉
Executive Spa Group
(780) 604 2772

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Career Laddering in the Beauty Industry

Career Laddering in the Beauty Industry

Career Laddering in the Beauty Industry

The beauty industry has so much to offer. As a Career and Employment Consultant for the beauty industry, I am often asked, “Can someone build a career in the beauty industry?” My answer is always, “Of course!”

But first, we must understand the difference between a career, a job, and an occupation.

Let’s begin by elaborating on what is considered an occupation.

An occupation is a group of similar jobs that require some type of training and the continuous development of your skills and knowledge in order to remain current in the field. An occupation is a specific category of work; examples of occupations in the beauty industry include Estheticians, Stylists, Nail Technicians, Makeup Artists, Massage Therapists, and Laser Technicians. People can have different kinds of jobs within the respective occupations; for example, Stylists can choose to specialize in specific skills within their position, such as cutting vs. colouring.

A job is a particular position you hold doing specific duties. In the beauty industry, if the occupation is Laser Tech, an example of a job is all the duties you would provide at any particular spa, for example, providing IPL/Laser treatments, product sales, customer service, sanitation duties, and any other duties you may agree to when you accept any given job.

A career is the sum of all work activities. You can think of it like a portfolio of all the efforts you make that are related to field you work in, in our case, the beauty industry. In addition to the work activities you achieve, also included are any activities that you do at home, at school, in your community, etc.

Examples of career-building activities in the beauty industry:
  • Training on a new skin care line for Estheticians
  • Trying out new makeup lines and experimenting with different colours on your friends and family for Makeup Artists
  • Doing independent studies or researching online new trends for Nail Art for Nail Technicians
A career is considered a collection of efforts made towards a category of activities that are similar or related to one another with the purpose of earning a living.

The beauty industry offers many channels to specialize in. Careers in the beauty industry are fun, exciting, and full of promise, however, like in every other industry, it is up to the individual to develop their career.

A platform artist is a service provider who wears several different hats. They are performing service providers that are part educator, part entertainer, and part salesperson. They are reputable, well-known ‘gurus’ who perform on stage at beauty shows, industry events and advanced education seminars in major cities throughout the country (and sometimes throughout the world) to train, educate and entertain other service providers, beauty industry students as well as their peers. This direction of career laddering is excellent for service providers who are outgoing, enjoy living life by the moment, are looking for a higher level of responsibility without having to be tied down.

A platform artist must gain and retain their audience’s attention and get them involved and thrilled about the latest styles, as they are the trendsetters who develop different methods of doing services, and often come up with new trends. Some performances are designed to promote certain product or techniques, while others are meant to motivate interested parties.

Platform artists need several years of proven success as a service provider, utmost confidence, an animated personality, strong sales skills, perfected technical ability, and the desire to educate as they stimulate their audience through their public speaking.

They are representatives of large corporations who market their products by demonstrating them on stage at beauty shows, industry events and advanced education seminars. Beauty shows are full of excitement and can be thought of as large fairs such as Klondike Days, specifically for the beauty industry!

Instructors teach students the practices of particular occupations in the beauty industry. This type of career laddering is great for service providers who like teaching people how to meet and exceed educational and professional standards while providing an exceptional educational environment. If you are an individual that has over time developed superior technical skills who likes mentoring and having a significant impact on people’s development and educational process, instructing might be your next career move.

A beauty industry instructor teaches the theory and practice of a particular occupation to those who wish to become certified service providers.

Instructors may work for a variety of cosmetology institutions, salons and spas or even advise state board of industry committees in regulated jurisdictions.

Instructors must have extensive, first-hand knowledge and experience in all practices required to successfully provide services. They must be able to design a well-understood curriculum and teach theory in addition to successfully demonstrate techniques on live models and volunteers.

Instructors have excellent organization and communication skills and are able to assess students’ progress and take the necessary steps to ensure their complete and effective education.

Their main responsibilities in addition to designing and delivering a curriculum, they supervise and evaluate student classroom, practical, and clinic floor work while maintaining accurate records of student attendance, class participation, and testing. They are also responsible for arranging guest speakers (such as Platform Artists) when appropriate, as well as job shadows for their students.

Instructors are responsible for classroom management; ensuring students compliance with school rules and regulations by enacting disciplinary actions in accordance with the schools outlined disciplinary procedures when necessary.

Spa/Salon managers are responsible for the day-to-day operations of the establishment they manage, including finances, employees and services. This type of career laddering is perfect for people who have developed leadership skills throughout their career and like to coach and motivate people and help people set and attain career goals. Management is a great next step for service providers that like leading through inspiration, praise, and support and can gain the trust of the pack they are leading. They identify, plan, communicate and delegate appropriate responsibilities and practices to the team to ensure efficient flow of operations. Management is an excellent way to exercise leadership skills without having to invest large amounts of money, time, and effort into one’s own small business.

Salons and spas differ greatly in size, from small privately owned boutiques to large health spas located in resorts and hotels around the world.

In smaller spas (0-49 employees), managers often perform business tasks, as well as providing customer service while providing services to clients. In larger spas, a manager’s duties are usually concentrated on the business itself doing behind the scenes work that ensures business activities flow smoothly as clients come in for services throughout the day. General Managers of larger salons and spas have a team of supervisors/ assistants that deal with employees and customers that report to them. Managers drive the implementation of salon/spa activities by developing action plans and directly motivating and instructing the team to implement them to meet operational and organizational objectives.

Duties of a salon/spa manager will vary according to the services provided by the particular establishment. Many of the job duties however are business-related including recordkeeping, tracking of all important information such as sales and inventory, monthly reporting, quarterly business review, cash management, conducting promotional campaigns meant to increase the volume of clientele, managing conflict resolution within the team and client complaints, employee work scheduling, employee training schedules, hiring and supervising employees, payroll management, and managing relationships with stakeholders. Financial responsibilities include conducting analyses of reports that identify and address trends and issues in the performance of the establishment.

Working for yourself is the optimal promotion. It has great rewards but also comes with huge challenges. Small business owners invest and possibly risk their own money in pursuit of bringing their ideas to life. Initially, small business owners wear many different hats when managing the growth of their business but soon need to identify a team of trusted advisors whom they delegate certain tasks to.

Opening a salon or spa is a way to move up the career ladder for service providers who are creative, flexible, and crave a high degree of independence and mental freedom. However, becoming a small business owner has exclusive challenges and rewards that aren’t right for everyone. You MUST be driven, disciplined, patient and ever persistent in your self-employment journey.

Service providers who become small business owners must be able to identify a product or service that people need- in the beauty industry, our services and products are not primary and absolutely necessary. In fact, they are secondary necessities people buy for purposes of fulfilling the ego and self-esteem, which means business owners must be creative and exercise their business acumen when selecting and marketing their chosen services and products.

You have to develop marketing skills and be able to find your own work, because it won’t fall into your lap until after you’re well established. PERSEVERANCE IS KEY.

It is vital that business owners understand how to budget, keep records and handle small business taxes, as well as become familiar with employment laws if they want to hire staff. They need to evaluate strategic information and a fine focus on how to build the spa/salon’s revenue stream.

Owners of small businesses often participate heavily in the day-to-day operations of their companies, leaving them less time to provide actual services to clients. Though small business owners have the utmost level of authority within their businesses, they have to work very long hours and understand that ultimately their customers are their bosses. Small businesses can grow significantly in size over time. Every small business has the potential to become a large corporation with the right planning and support.

To learn more about career laddering in the beauty industry, contact Executive Spa Group, and remember, BIG THINGS HAVE SMALL BEGINNINGS!

Executive Spa Group
‘Cultivating the Beauty Industry’
(780) 604 2772

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Alberta’s Beauty Industry: Massage Therapy Careers

Students at MH Vicars School of Massage Therapy

Transition into a beauty industry career in Massage Therapy

A recent ALIS poll suggests that over half of the population is considering a return to school. Forty percent of poll participants voted that they were looking for a change in career, 10% stated they were in between jobs, while 21% said they wanted to return to school to advance their career.

This is not surprising information. I myself have experienced a career change and boy is it a breath of fresh air!

I used to have a conventional career. And while it paid well and offered great benefits, there was something missing. I didn’t look forward to going into work, it didn’t excite me, it didn’t fit me.

It was difficult to make the change. After all, I had gone to university, spent money and time on a degree, spent years building on a career that I thought I wanted when I was a teen, developed friendships at work, etc. On top of that, I had adult responsibilities- like paying rent, bills, student loans, and buying groceries and gas- you know what I’m talking about. I thought I was stuck.

But I realized, it’s true what they say- do what you love and love what you do, and then the money follows. If you are an individual who enjoys hands-on work, physical activity, learning about the body, kinesiology, muscle systems, and ways to augment physical function, a career in Massage Therapy may be for you!

Massage therapists administer massage therapy to relieve pain and symptoms of stress after assessing a client’s condition to rehabilitate the physical function of the body.

They work in many environments and can have flexible schedules. Massage therapists can be self-employed or work at spas, clinics, fitness centers, and alongside doctors, chiropractors, or other practitioners. They have the option to make their own schedule depending on the source of employment.

Massage therapy is an excellent career option with an easy transitional period thanks to MH Vicars School of Massage Therapy. MH Vicars offers a full time 2200-hr independent study program where you come in for 4 days/month! You can choose to come in during one weekend of the month from Thursday to Sunday 9-5 or every Tuesday 9-5 throughout your program. This school is designed for mature students who are already working and seeking a change in career.

Unlike other provinces, Massage therapy is a self-regulated industry in Alberta, meaning that Alberta has not regulated Massage Therapy and therefore schools are not required by law to include standard practices in their curriculums. It is professional associations that seem to dictate the future of massage therapy in Alberta for now, and currently, they are stating 2200 hours is the requirement for insurance billing.

When you get your diploma from MH Vicars, you can have peace of mind knowing that your education will be more easily transferrable to other provinces with professional regulation (British Columbia, Ontario, Newfoundland, and New Brunswick) by the Canadian Consortium of Massage Therapy Regulators (CCMTR), in addition to meeting the requirements of the professional associations in Alberta. Best of all, all students are eligible for student loans and grants.

So whether Massage Therapy is your Plan A or your Plan B, MH Vicars makes your massage therapy career attainable and affordable!

Contact ESG to learn more.
(780) 604 2772

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Executive Spa Group
(780) 604-2772
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