Pay Gap Less Prevalent in Cosmetology, Barbers Say

By Julie Castaneda

College may not necessarily be an advantage in closing the gender wage gap. A recent study shows young women earn 92 cents on a man’s dollar among high school graduates. Among college graduates, young women with a college degree earn only 79 percent of what is paid to similarly educated men

Desiree Mendez, who is currently attending cosmetology school at Lubbock Hair Academy, says she believes education and gender make a difference in pay.

Lubbock Hair

Lubbock Hair Academy trains male and female barbers in West Texas. Photo from Facebook.

“I know that by us having our license in cosmetology helps us a lot,” she said. “We price our services ourselves unless we go to a salon that does salary, and they base your pay based on your skills.”

Stylists who have taken specialty courses, such as in hair and eyelash extensions, will make more than those who have standard training in hair and makeup.

Cheyann Wortham, who didn’t go to college, said men have an advantage regardless of education.

“Girls have to have extra schooling to become something big or be paid more than minimum wage,” Wortham said. “Guys can work in the oil field, mechanic, drill, weld, they can do anything without having a degree and still make at the least $15 an hour.”

Michelle Welch, an administrator and instructor at Lubbock Hair Academy, says a degree can be useful but people without degrees often make just as much or more money than people who do have degrees in the field.

“It’s more of a trade,” she said, adding that men generally get paid more.

Phillip Vivial, the owner of Lubbock Hair Academy, said in this field a degree is only a certificate or a state license. He added that it is one’s individual skill rather than gender that determines one’s income.

“It’s all based on business you grow and the clientele you grow,” he said. “I would say just because of their sheer numbers, emales make more in this industry.”

James Cordero, a student at Lubbock Hair Academy, also said women have the “upper hand” in the barber world.

“A lot of men will go in and want a female to cut their hair,” he said. “It is all about personal preference but I don’t think there’s a gap between male and female in this area.”

Carlos Garcia, who is also a student at Lubbock Hair Academy, said pay and fame is pretty equal between male and female barbers, but having a license is helpful regardless of gender.

“There are plenty of people that try to be in this field without a license, and they can make some money off of it,” he said. “But really, to be a professional and put yourself out there, it really requires a license.”

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