Avon beautifies recession
By Pauline Askin
SYDNEY (Reuters Life!) - As the economy gets ugly, droves of out-of-work Australians, male and female, are finding a career in beauty really pays.
Avon, the largest direct selling beauty company in the world, has recruited more than 7,000 door-to-door saleswomen -- and men -- in February alone, as the global financial crisis deepens and Australia's economy and jobless rate take a turn for the worse.
The company, which has tens of thousands of representatives in Australia, said in addition to the usual stay-at-home mums looking for extra income, new recruits include female executives and financial professionals, as well as a few more men.
"The downturn in the economy has seen a huge increase in Avon representatives," Avon's Advertising and PR Manager Michaela Groves told Reuters.
"We have seen a rise in women who have been made redundant from professional and corporate finance type roles, and who now need to earn money. We are also seeing women who worked part-time and are joining up to supplement the household income because things are a little bit tough at the moment."
With the economy in recession, the number of unemployed in Australia is rising, with experts predicting the jobless rate to almost double to 15-year highs of 8.5 percent in the next financial year.
Currently, Groves said three percent of Avon representatives are men, mainly drawn to the prospect of having a job, even if it's in a field traditionally reserved for women.
Avon representatives earn a percentage of the price of each product they sell, which can be as high as 50 percent, and the company allows them work at their own pace. A 2008 survey shows that 4 out of 10 Australian women are Avon customers. Continued...