Nail Files: A Study of Nail Salon Workers and Industry in the United States
Key issues, trends, and areas of oversight in the multibillion dollar nail salon industry are highlighted in Nail Files: A Study of Nail Salon Workers and Industry in the United States. This report is the first to examine the nail salon industry nationally with a focus on labor conditions.
Among other discoveries, the report finds:
- 78% of nail salon employees are low-wage workers. This is more than double the national rate of 33% for all industries.
- Nail salon workers experience challenging work conditions and labor enforcement issues. Misclassification as independent contractors is also a key concern.
- Nail salons are primarily owned and staffed by immigrants and refugees. The majority of salons are small mom-and-pop businesses with 68% having fewer than 5 employees. The labor force is predominantly Vietnamese, Korean, Chinese, Nepali, Tibetan, and Latinx, with 81% women and 79% foreign-born.
The nail salon industry is expected to grow at almost twice the rate of other U.S. industries in the next decade, and report authors make recommendations for key stakeholders: ensure quality jobs and labor protections for nail salon workers; guarantee workplace protections and their enforcement; support high-road businesses and good employers; and assure health and safety of nail salon workers.
This report was produced in partnership with the California Healthy Nail Salon Collaborative.