Beware of poachers

The current buzz around barbering, the rush to open shops and the lack of qualified barbers is leading to some pretty brazen tactics when it comes to staffing a shop. Poaching is on the rise. Mike Taylor, who has seven barbershops and a training school, recalls chatting to several barbers at Pro Hair Live in Manchester in February who were experiencing similar problems. “Big barbers can’t get out of the shop because of staffing issues after losing people. One of my staff was approached on Facebook on the drive home from the event!”

Sheriff Mehmet, owner of three Envy Barbershops in London, agrees. “They phone my staff at the shop and they even come in for a haircut, not knowing that I am the boss. These guys will practically stand outside the door offering more money.” The insult is even greater when staff have been trained and nurtured in-house, only to succumb to the highest bidder. “We train hairdressers and ground zero beginners but we are seeing a lifespan of six to 12 months before they are poached for silly money,” says Sheriff, who calls for the UK to be licensed and regulated in order to ease the problem of poaching.

Mike advises staff to carefully consider whether the grass is actually greener in these situations. “If a business has to resort to poaching for their recruitment, are they the kind of organisation that will lead you onto bigger and better things? If you go then there’s no way back. It gives you a bad name.” Despite the “razzmatazz,” as Mike puts it, surrounding the industry, he says that in many ways “it was almost better when it was all a bit more spit and sawdust. We should be enjoying this surge and making the most of it. You can’t do much about competition but you can have respect for each other.”