Salary Forecast 2010: Recession keeps travel industry pay static

Travel industry staff face a real terms pay cut this year as salaries stagnate while inflation hovers at about 3%.

AA Appointments’ annual Salary Forecast has indicated that 2010 is unlikely to bring a speedy recovery from the pay freezes and cuts implemented when the recession first hit at the end of 2008.

The annual report predicted salaries for 2010 across retail, operators, business travel and support staff. Figures look flat across the board, with wages across most roles staying stagnant, and just a small number falling up to 13%.

Employers are no longer facing the normal problems of attracting and retaining staff. They are able to take their pick of high-quality candidates for the same or less money.

The recruitment process has become more rigorous, with an increase in second, third and even fourth interviews.

This has made for fierce competition among candidates and a tough climate for trainees and graduates.

Business travel salaries have been hardest hit. In 2010, account managers’ salaries in London will drop 13% and senior business travel consultants with four years’ experience will take a hit of 7%.

AA Appointments operations manager Anna Chaundy said: “Many account managers have been made redundant because travel management companies have lost accounts, and they have had to take lower paid jobs in other companies. Some business travel specialists have gone into leisure travel, but there are still lots of business travel consultants looking for work.”

One position in great demand is financial controller, as travel companies seek to assess and control their costs. Senior qualified financial controllers in London will earn 8% more than last year.

AA Appointments has also seen an increase in temporary and maternity contracts as women seek to “escape the doom and gloom” by taking their full maternity allowance.

Meanwhile, staff who have not moved jobs are under more pressure to deliver. Tour operators’ reservations staff for cruise and long haul will see salaries slide 13% and 10% respectively. “Operators could be bringing basic salaries down to incentivise staff to hit their targets,” said Chaundy.

Many travel staff who have been made redundant took the opportunity to travel, and this could be positive for their careers in the long term.

“Our clients are looking for people who have visited the destinations, so this is definitely worth emphasising on their CVs,” said Chaundy.

Despite the lack of movement on salaries, AA Appointments has noticed positive signs in the jobs market. Corporate travel employers are now recruiting in sales and ticketing positions, while contract and temporary roles are also picking up.

AA Appointments chief executive Theresa Dempsey said: “In the last quarter of 2009, we saw slight improvement in employees’ confidence over job security.

“Employees felt able to leave their current employment to take a better position, without having to stay in an unsatisfactory role for fear of being ‘last in first out’ in their new company.”

New vacancies were up in November 2009 by 15% on the same period in 2008.

“Job losses have definitely stabilised and more than 50% of employers now plan to re-staff, albeit in modest numbers. This year shows all the signs of being the year we begin to recover – but it may be a few years before we enjoy the levels of business we had up to 2007/08,” said Dempsey.




Tour operator jobs

Cruise reservations specialist

Region 2010 average salary% increase 2009/10
North/North Wales£15,000-6.25%
Midlands/South Wales£15,0000%
South of England£16,000-13%


Call-centre manager (large team)

Region 2010 average salary% increase 2009/10
North/North Wales£35,0000%
Midlands/South Wales£35,0000%
South of England£32,0000%


Business travel jobs

Senior business travel consultant

Region 2010 average salary% increase 2009/10
North/North Wales£18,0000%
Midlands/South Wales£18,000-2.7%
South of England£23,000-4%


Junior business travel consultant

Region 2010 average salary% increase 2009/10
North/North Wales£15,0000%
Midlands/South Wales£15,0000%
South of England£18,000+2%


Retail jobs

Retail manager heading up shop

Region 2010 average salary% increase 2009/10
North/North Wales£22,0000%
Midlands/South Wales£22,0000%
South of England£21,000-13%


Retail with CRS

Region 2010 average salary% increase 2009/10
North/North Wales£14,5000%
Midlands/South Wales£13,5000%
South of England£16,0000%


Senior retail with CRS

Region 2010 average salary% increase 2009/10
North/North Wales£16,5000%
Midlands/South Wales£16,0000%
South of England£18,000-2%


Backup and auxiliary jobs


Region 2010 average salary% increase 2009/10
North/North Wales£15,0000%
Midlands/South Wales£16,0000%
South of England£19,0000%

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