Average salaries fall for the first time in seven years

By Steve Jones
Home » Average salaries fall for the first time in seven years

Salaries in the travel industry tumbled in 2021 in a trend described as ‘concerning’ by recruitment experts.

Average wages fell to £27,451, a 3% decline on 2020 and down 2.6% on 2019, new data revealed.

It was the first annual decrease since 2014 and came despite a shortage of candidates, according to C&M Travel Recruitment’s 2021 Travel Salary index.

There was a sharper fall in pay for ‘standard’ travel roles – those which command salaries of up to £40,000 – with the average falling to £24,280, down 6% from 2020 and 2.7% on 2019.

Meanwhile, executive roles – salaries above $40,000 – average pay hit £55,474, down 2.8% and 5.3% on 2020 and 2019 respectively.

“Given that we are currently experiencing a candidate shortage in the travel industry, it is slightly concerning to also see that salaries have fallen annually for the first time in a number of years,” C&M Travel Recruitment Managing Director Barbara Kolosinska said. “As the year goes on, hopefully we will see more companies begin to improve their salaries and overall packages in an effort to attract great talent – both old and new – to work in travel.”

While vacancies increased 127% on the previous year, a reflection of the slightly improved trading environment, they remained 42% below 2019 levels.

But vacancies outstripped the number of people looking for work which climbed only 46%, suggesting companies struggled to fill some roles, C&M said.

Meanwhile, the number of job seekers successfully placed in roles grew 75% from 2020, but remained 55% below 2019, although that narrowed to 27% during the second half of the year.

Ms Kolosinska said: “It really did feel like a year of two halves [in 2021], with activity picking up swiftly and dramatically from early summer onwards – and, thankfully, that momentum is continuing into 2022.

“The health of the travel recruitment sector has improved immeasurably since the beginning of last year, and January 2022 is shaping up to be one of the best months for new vacancies that our industry has seen in a long time.”

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