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Global Spa and Wellness Summit

11 August 2012

The 2012 Global Spa and Wellness Summit


The executive summary of the 2012 Global Spa Summit concluded the following:


The services delivered by spas to their customers are fundamentally about the power of human touch and human interaction. People are at the heart of a spa. People are a spa’s greatest asset and are essential to its success, but people are also typically a spa’s greatest expense and greatest challenge.


The fundamental importance of human resources to the future of the spa industry was underscored by the delegate survey conducted at the previous years Global Spa & Wellness Summit in Bali, where delegates rated “training/education” as the greatest challenge facing the spa industry today, and also rated “lack of professional human resources” as the greatest obstacle to growth for their own businesses.


While staffing challenges occur across all levels and positions in today’s spas, these challenges are  especially important and  especially prevalent at the management level. As for any other business, talented leadership and strong management are critical to the success of a spa.


Spa businesses are facing a fundamental challenge in their management workforce – they are simply not able to find enough people with the right skills to fill management-level positions.


In the industry survey conducted for this study, 95% of spa industry leaders stated that they

currently face problems in hiring spa managers/directors with the right combination of

qualifications and experience; 52% stated that they believe these problems will stay the same or worsen over the next decade.


The root causes behind the spa industry’s management personnel challenges are complex. It is important to recognize that these challenges are not unique to the spa industry. Over the last 25 years, economists in the United States and globally have documented that:

1) the workforce is increasingly the most important factor for success in an increasingly

competitive global economy; and

2) skilled and talented workers are increasingly difficult to recruit and retain, especially at the managerial level.


McKinsey & Co. has dubbed this challenge the “War for Talent.” These trends are rooted in broad economic and societal shifts, including a decline in the supply of entry-level management-aged workers (35-44 years old) in developed countries; the increasingly high skills required for workers in knowledge, service and innovation-based jobs; and the increasing ease with which workers can change jobs and companies.


There are approximately 4,000 student’s worldwide currently enrolled in spa management-related degree programs. There are an estimated 130,000-180,000 spa managers and directors currentlyworking in spa businesses around the world, and this figure is continuing to grow. The number and size of spa management-related degree programs is clearly not meeting the spa industry’s hiring needs for well-trained management personnel.

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For more information contact the SA Spa Association on 011 447 9959 or e-mail: info@saspaassociation.co.za


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