I recently returned from the 2018 ISPA Conference & Expo in Phoenix, where I got the chance to talk about, and advocate on behalf of, our amazing members. My session was called “Recruiting, Hiring, and Supporting Massage Therapists,” and I can tell you there are plenty of people out there looking to do the first two of those three things.
One statistic I heard at the conference is that there are an estimated 38,000 open jobs for massage therapists in the spa industry. I’ve heard again and again from employers that they are struggling to find and employ massage therapists due to the “therapist shortage.” My message to them is always something along the lines of, “Figure out how to be an employer of choice, and hiring will move down your worry list.”
Thirty-eight thousand openings seem like a lot. In the world of economics, that would be a whole lot of demand for—but not a lot of supply from—massage therapists for those jobs. But remember, there are more than 325,000 massage therapists in the United States. Schools would like more students, and employers need therapists. But there are lots of therapists out there. The challenge is getting them to become employees.
We’re interested in hearing from you about this challenge. Is it the promise of an independent practice that keeps MTs from pursuing employment opportunities? Or are these positions lacking something else? Are there some “good” jobs but mostly “bad” jobs? And what’s the difference between the two? What are the attributes of a desirable job in the massage field? Put another way—if you’re not an employee now, what would it take for you to become one?
When I get the opportunity to speak to employers, I want them to know if they are truly supporting massage therapists, the recruiting and hiring will get easier. Easier, yes, but it won’t disappear—good employers should always be looking for good employees.
The challenge is to let those employers know just what it means for a massage therapist to feel supported. And who better to weigh in on that than the experts—you! What does it mean to you to be supported as a massage therapist, in the workplace? What are you looking for from an employer that would make you consistently enthusiastic about showing up to work? We look forward to hearing your thoughts—share by commenting on this blog, or filling out our brief questionnaire at www.surveymonkey.com/r/3RWSH88.
Les Sweeney, ABMP President