Join the industry that offers inspiration, self-development, world travel and the chance to make a real difference in people’s lives! The recipe for jobs that Millennials crave is a blueprint for what the wellness industry can offer. But to overturn its staffing crisis, this fast-growing US$3.7 trillion industry needs a marketing and management makeover, and its leaders must make it happen.
There has never been a better time to be part of the worldwide wellness industry, worth USD3.7 trillion and growing. And yet the upcoming generations are reluctant to join the workforce of an industry that doesn’t showcase its leading lights and can’t shake a reputation for long, hard hours, little financial return and seediness.
“By 2025 Millennials will make up 50 percent of our workforce, we need to change our way of thinking,” warns Melinda Yon of Republic Polytechnic. “It is us versus F&B, hotels, airlines, retail – the competition is tough.”
The recent two-day Asia Pacific Spa & Wellness Coalition, the second annual gathering to discuss current industry issues, specifically staffing and personnel, took place at the Concord Hotel in Singapore. Brainstorming industry issues and possible solutions for a white paper, 40 industry leaders agreed that a marketing and education makeover was overdue for the industry. To overcome the staffing crisis, among others, they must own their industry, meaning the change must come from the inside.
Wellness education and marketing (encompassing fitness and nutrition, mental health, spiritual growth and lifestyle choices, rather than simply spas), needs to start in schools’ career fairs. Within government, ministries need to overturn harmful associations between spas and “entertainment” industries. Therapist job descriptions must speak to the market, while more positive work conditions, respectful remuneration, collaborations with quality partners and the advocacy of mentorships should be considered. The promoting of star staff within their spas and in the media, as already happens in the F&B industry, should be taken on, with clear career paths emphasized to help attract new staff while also fuelling ambition from within.
Country reports highlighted the proactivity of regions with spa associations, where private sector volunteers are working with government ministries to introduce standards, licensing, rating and regulations, create country signature treatments and promote wellness. Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore, and Japan are particularly proactive. Malaysia has launched its Urutan signature massage, Thailand will be rolling out its Health City promotion, the Philippines is reviving its spa association, Singapore is continuing to upgrade therapists’ skills and spa standards. In Japan, the success of the country’s annual Spa Week helps educate consumers and gain positive industry coverage in the media.
The gathering of wellness industry leaders at the event, many of whom have worked in the industry from the grassroots up for many decades, spoke volumes as to the potential this industry offers. With increasing global interest in health and wellbeing, the industry is poised to become even more interesting, influential and powerful. And it is actively looking for the next generation of leaders to help push Asia’s renowned wellness industry on to the next levels.
The white paper will address these most salient issues faced by the industry, serving as a call to action to all industry stakeholders and fuelling change between now and the next annual meeting on 14th and 15th March 2019 in Malaysia.
About the APSWC: The APSWC is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to highlighting solutions to the most pressing issues within Asia’s fast-growing wellness sector. For over a decade the organization has gathered the region’s leading professionals for annual meetings, outlining dynamic development strategies, creating call-to-action white papers and promoting the industry for the benefit of all. The current Board has members based in Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, Nepal, Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand.