Seeing how well a career in corporate America has worked out for some folks, it's little surprise that the beauty and wellness industry is experience a major uptick in recruitment.
At Empire Beauty Schools, the country's biggest cosmetology educator, enrollment has increased by a whopping 33 percent since 2007. Bellus Academy and Paul Mitchell Schools are also experiencing growth, according to the New York Times.
So why this industry? Several reasons. Empire Beauty School's chief executive Frank Schoeneman suggests that some students attended college but didn't feel it prepared them for the current job market. Others sought out cosmetology as an ideal second career, which I've seen evolve into glorious and considerably more rewarding primary careers for many. (Check out this former teacher's fabulous story.)
Also, a career in beauty can be creative and stable. Can't say that about investment banking, can you?
There's a another big reason, too: Flexible hours (a godsend for working moms). The International Spa Association (iSPA) reports that -- brace yourself -- 44.5 percent of new employees are contract employees, meaning they're not on staff, but free agents. While that idea may have seemed scary to some a year ago, we've all seen where corporate loyalty can get you.
But I would worry that all of these new recruits would have a hard time finding work. After all, wouldn't the recession would put in-spa pampering way down on people's priority lists?
Not necessarily, says iSPA President Lynne McNees.
"Our members are telling us that people are still coming to the spa but reducing the amount of treatments they receive and opting for shorter treatments."
Speaking of, I need to book a mani-pedi STAT. Some may see it as indulgent. I just see it as doing my part to fueling one of the most promising -- and working-women-friendly -- sectors of our economy.