Concern raised over first dip in travel pay in seven years

Average pay for new travel jobs in 2021 dipped for the first time in seven years, latest data reveals.

Last year’s average fell by 2.96% to £27,451 from 2020 and 2.64% from 2019, although it was up by 2.22 from 2018 levels.

There was a sharper drop in pay for standard new travel jobs – with salaries up to £40,000 – which averaged £24,280 in 2021. This represented a fall of 6.12% from 2020 and 2.65% from 2019.

 Salaries for executive travel roles paying above £40,000 also declined but at a slower rate.

Last year’s average figure of £55,474 was down by 2.79% from 2020 and by 5.32% from 2019.

The estimates come from a 2021 travel salary index by C&M Travel Recruitment and C&M Executive Recruitment based on a survey of all new vacancies registered with the companies during the year.

The number of new travel job vacancies more than doubled last year from 2020, but remained down by 42% compared to pre-pandemic 2019.

Much of this difference was due to a very slow first few months of 2021 when the country was still under lockdown.

When comparing the second half of the year, vacancies recorded between July and December 2021 fell by only three per cent compared to the same period in 2019.

Similarly, the number of new travel job placements increased by 75% in 2021 compared to the previous year, but dipped by 55% from 2019.

Looking at the last six months of the year, placements in 2021 were down by “a more respectable” 27% from the same period in 2019, according to C&M.

 A big increase in the number of people looking for travel jobs was recorded, with a 46% jump from 2020, although not rising at the same pace as vacancies.

However, candidate numbers were down by 14% compared to 2019 and by 28% from 2018.

C&M managing director Barbara Kolosinska said: “2021 really did feel like a year of two halves, 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.

“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.

“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.”

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