It’s no secret that salaries for entry-level roles in travel retail are low. So maybe it comes as no surprise that three high street travel agencies were among the 260
employers named and shamed last week for paying under the minimum wage.

To be fair to the three firms, it appears no premeditated or extensive contravening of the UK’s rules was uncovered.

But it is a lesson for all employers that there is increasingly no hiding place for those who fail to pay a fair day’s wage for a fair day’s work.

This is not only true for junior roles; firms are facing greater demands for transparency about salaries to ensure no discrimination on any grounds, including gender and race.

No one would argue against this, although for many travel agencies surviving on tight margins, the ever‑increasing costs of employing and retaining people
can be a challenge.

But it’s important that the sector as a whole rises to this challenge. It needs a regular fresh intake of new talent, but this will be harder to attract if a reputation for paying poorly sets in.

While for many young people the lure of an exciting career in travel may be strong, the sector cannot afford to exploit their youthful enthusiasm.

Either they will be lost to a competitor or to the industry completely, leaving firms with the additional cost of hiring someone new.

Agents are employed to make sales and create profit; those who get the support they need to do that pay for themselves.

Comment from Travel Weekly, 14 December