More than half of advertised IT roles in travel are based in London where the sector pays a premium for the best talent, exclusive research for Travel Weekly has found.

The average salary for an IT role in the travel industry in the capital is £46,624, compared with £41,287 in other sectors.

But the trend is reversed nationally, with the average travel IT job in the UK paying £41,101 compared with £45,286 in other industries, according to data from Innovantage, the analytics arm of jobs website Jobrapido.

The findings come as travel specialist C&M Recruitment launches a dedicated travel IT division to help clients compete in a market where there is a national skills shortage.

It is headed by Simon Woods, an experienced recruiter who has placed staff at the likes of British Airways, Amadeus, Tui, Thomas Cook, Monarch and Virgin Atlantic.

Woods said: “London is the hub for the travel technology industry and it is currently a dogfight among the top companies to get the best talent.

“Travel tech candidates who move from one airline to another or from one tour operator to another have a specialist skillset, so they are therefore paid more than generic IT candidates.

“The best travel companies want employees who can hit the ground running and, to do that, they are willing to pay a premium to get the best people.

“They need to have come from a competitor and be able to bring their expertise to the table immediately – and that comes at a price.

“London will remain the travel tech hub and I expect the sector to become even more London-centric over the next five to ten years.

“You will get the odd ad hoc company in another location and you will get airport authorities that will be hiring, but the actual technology companies are predominantly based in London.

“Also, even though many travel companies have branches all across the country, the majority of travel IT roles are based in their head offices which are often in the capital.”

Barbara Kolosinska, director at C&M Recruitment, said its new division would address a growing demand for IT roles.

“Today every company needs technology staff and if they are to move with the times they need to right tech and digital skills.

“We spotted an opportunity to grow and diversify while remaining a travel specialist,” she said.  “We have always had our eye on travel technology, but did not have the skill set internally. Now with Simon joining us, we do.

“Most travel companies currently have to seek the help of generic IT recruiters to fill their technology roles because these are essentially their only option, so we are extremely excited to launch this division and position ourselves ahead of the field.”

Richard Calvert, chief executive of tour operator Shearings which is undergoing a major technology transformation, welcomed C&M’s focus on technology.

He said: “Specialist IT recruitment covers a massive sector so if C&M can focus on travel expertise we will certainly look to work with them.

“Shearings has a lot of consumers who are either middle aged or senior citizens but who are moving to digital at a speed. As an industry we are struggling to cope.”