Employers are being warned to ensure their salaries are competitive – or lower their expectations.

AA Appointments managing director John Tolmie issued the advice as the recruitment consultancy released the results of its 2007 salary survey, which predicted that salaries in the travel industry will rise this year.

Its findings show that the current market favours employees, meaning companies need to keep pace with the market to attract staff with the right experience.

“If you are not competitive, that’s a concern,” said Tolmie. “If you are not miles out, look at the package and whether you are an attractive employer.

“Salary is a contributory factor but there is a package: are you offering competitive benefits, career progression, diversity? Larger organisations often can.”

In the business travel sector employers are offering salaries of £24,000-£26,000 to attract staff currently on £25,000, but with expectations of £27,000-£28,000.

“Someone will be brave enough to pay £28,000, get a deluge of candidates and the market will get moving again,” Tolmie predicted. “We are telling our clients to get competitive on salaries.”

If companies cannot afford higher salaries, they should lower expectations and employ staff with less experience or from different industries.

“For some it would be commercial suicide to raise salaries,” added Tolmie.