An array of massage oils set against a backdrop of flowers

Ongoing Massage Therapist Shortage

Ongoing Massage Therapist Shortage

“Can you send us more graduates?”

This is a constant refrain coming from employers, and happily has been for many years. Large spas and all of the massage therapy franchises have not been able to find enough qualified massage therapists to meet the increasing demand. It has even been described as a “talent war” in the press. But it goes so much deeper than this.

Demand for Licensed Massage Therapists (LMT’s) is projected to continue to outpace supply for the foreseeable future, and the US Department of Labor and Statistics projects continued rapid job growth. In Florida, the need for massage therapists is projected to increase by 29 percent through 2024. The job placement website Indeed.com reports that massage therapist jobs often go unfilled for more than 30 days. This shortage has contributed to an increase in approximately 25% in average entry-level pay for an LMT, from less than $30,000 to nearly $40,000 in just the past two years.

Massage Envy-Sarasota employs 120 LMT’s between their 3 locations, and there has not been a moment in the past three years when they were not actively looking to fill open positions. Elements, Massage Heights, and Hand & Stone are all hiring right now. Physical Therapists, Chiropractors, Wellness Centers, 5 Star Hotels, Day Spas, and many small businesses are all hiring…right now.

More than 17 million Americans received massage last year for relaxation or stress reduction; more than 26 million Americans received massage for medical or health reasons. 89% of Americans agree that massage can be effective at reducing pain, and research is beginning to show that massage therapy is not only effective treatment for pain; it may compare favorably to other medical interventions for pain. This is really big news, given the damage wreaked by the opioid crisis. (We will explore the research on massage therapy and pain in a future post.)

A population more educated about massage therapy, a crisis of pain, an increasing need to disconnect and recover from a society that is moving at warp speeds, and an aging population, have all combined to create a demand for massage therapy that is outpacing the supply.

For the right person, massage therapy can be an incredibly fulfilling career. In another post we will examine what makes a great fit.

“Can you send us more graduates?”

We’d love to!

About Joe Lubow

Joe Lubow is the Owner/Director of SSMT.