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Hot Pepper Beauty Work: How Recruit’s Marketing Solutions Business Powers a Beauty Industry HR Matching Platform

Hot Pepper Beauty WorkTo an external site*1 is an HR matching platform that helps people who want to work in the beauty industry find jobs. Launched by Recruit in February 2023 in Japan, it is already used by nearly 30,000 salons*2. We spoke to Yu Shimamura, VP of Recruit's Beauty Product Management Unit, about why Hot Pepper BeautyTo an external site*1 — which connects users and salons as Japan's largest marketing matching platform in the beauty industry — has expanded to an HR matching business, and what we can expect from it.

The Beauty Industry’s Second Biggest Issue After Marketing: Hiring

According to a Recruit survey, the biggest challenge salon owners say they face in salon management is marketing (82%). Recruit has been working hard since the beginning of its beauty business to “bring beautiful smiles to towns all over Japan.” Starting with the launch of a free publication in 2000, it has expanded online as a marketing platform specializing in the beauty industry in the form of Hot Pepper Beauty. In 2007, it also became a marketing matching platform that allows online reservations.

Salon owners say the toughest challenge after marketing is hiring (42%). Staffing shortages and low retention rates have long been issues for the beauty industry.

“I’ve always thought that there are things that only Recruit can do, given our more than 20 years in the industry,” Yu says. “In fact, I've often heard that hairdressers looking for a job check Hot Pepper Beauty for salon users to see if a workplace suits them.”

This shows that Hot Pepper Beauty, a vertical matching platform, was already being employed to provide information useful for finding beauty industry jobs. This led to the creation of an HR matching platform specializing in the beauty industry.

Ensuring That Every Beauty Industry Worker Can Find Their Forever Salon

In February 2023, Recruit launched the beauty industry’s HR matching platform Hot Pepper Beauty Work.

A smartphone screenshot showing the Hot Pepper Beauty Work website

Salon staff, popular services, shop ratings, word of mouth, customer demographics and more are automatically linked from Hot Pepper Beauty to the Hot Pepper Beauty Work job page

Using Hot Pepper Beauty Work, job seekers can complete the entire process from job search to collecting salon information and applying for a position in one go. Yu emphasizes the convenience of the service: “We’ve added a function that delivers the key information job seekers want to know. Specifically, salon staff, popular services, shop ratings, reviews, customer demographics and so on are automatically linked from Hot Pepper Beauty and can be viewed on the job posting page. There is no longer any need to go back and forth between the job site and Hot Pepper Beauty.”

Speaking about the salon side, Yu notes: “You can create job ads on Salon Board, Recruit’s SaaS that salons use for day-to-day salon operations, so there is no need to enter information already posted on Hot Pepper Beauty. This greatly reduces the time and effort required to create job advertisements, so posting jobs is much faster and easier than before.”

A screenshot of Salon Board, Recruit’s SaaS solution for beauty salons, on a tablet

Salon owners and management staff can create and manage job postings on Hot Pepper Beauty Work from Salon Board, which has a number of functions necessary for salon management, such as 24/7 appointment booking, centralized appointment management, customer management, cash register functions, and sales aggregation and analysis.

Yu adds: “We believe that providing comprehensive, unbiased information that job seekers value when choosing a workplace will minimize hiring mismatches and boost employee retention rates.”

In May 2024, a scouting function was added that allows salons to send direct offers to candidates based on their registered resumes. This makes mismatches between the candidate’s skills and experience and the salon’s requirements for the position far less likely, increasing the likelihood of faster and more effective hiring.

Toward a Better Beauty Industry That Properly Evaluates Technical Skills

In addition to improving the speed and quality of talent matching, Hot Pepper Beauty Work is also addressing structural issues across the industry.

First of all, many people in Japan leave the beauty industry*3, and one big reason is poor pay*4. In other countries, including the US, treatment prices vary greatly depending on the practitioner’s skill. In Japan, however, the price range is very narrow, and the structure does not reflect the skill level in the price or salary.

In response, Yu had this to say: “We hope to create opportunities for the entire industry to evolve in ways that reward those who work hard to acquire skills, such as by visualizing the variations in treatments that users are seeking and evaluations of practitioners.”

Recruit is also seeking to expand the talent pool by encouraging people with the potential to succeed in the beauty industry to enter or make a comeback. Specifically, groups that have not received much attention before, such as those with no industry experience, those ready to return after working in another industry, those considering a comeback from another field within the industry, and those ready to return after a long break.

As Yu explains: “For example, an increasing number of beauty salons will hire and train people who have a national qualification as a hairdresser but have no industry experience, but this is not well known. We also want to promote the matching of such salons with inexperienced job seekers.

“If people who want to work can find the ideal salon and work there energetically for a long time, salon users will receive treatments with a higher level of satisfaction,” Yu concludes. “As a result, the salon’s repeat rate and profits will improve, creating a virtuous cycle that will stabilize its operations. That will enable a ‘win-win-win’ situation for employees, customers and the salon.”

Yu Shimamura of Recruit Co., Ltd.

Yu Shimamura of Recruit Co., Ltd.

*1 Japanese text only
*2 As of June 2024
*3 Source: National Tax Agency, “2020 Survey of Actual Private-Sector Salaries”
*4 Source: Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare, “Employment Status of New Graduates” (Graduated in March 2019)

Yu Shimamura of Recruit Co., Ltd.

Yu Shimamura

Recruit Co., Ltd. VP of Beauty Product Management Unit, Marketing Solutions Business (Travel, Dining, Beauty), Product Management Division

Yu started his career as an engineer, joining an IT company straight out of university. He joined Recruit in 2015. After gaining experience in planning products for clients in the beauty industry (Salon Board) and the dining industry (Restaurant Board), Yu was appointed as the manager of the Dining Client Solutions Group in April 2018. After that, he became the manager of the Dining Product Management Group. In April 2024 he returned to the beauty business and took up his current position.

June 25, 2024

This article is based on information available at the time of publication.