Travel's gender pay gap narrows in 2021

C&M's Travel Gender Pay Gap Index - 2021

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  • Men continue to earn more than women, but gap tightens to 6.5%
  • Female executives out-earn men for first time
  • Nearly three quarters of new travel jobs awarded to women

Gender pay split

Despite being awarded the majority of new jobs in travel, the average female in the industry once again earns less than their male counterparts, according to new research from C&M Travel Recruitment.

However, for the first time since the index began in 2014, the gender pay gap in the travel industry has reduced to a single digit difference.

The average male working in travel earned 6.5 per cent (or £1,805) more than a female in 2021, compared to a gap of 14.2 per cent in 2019, 18.4 per cent in 2018 and 12.8 per cent in 2017.

For the first time in the index's history, women in executive travel jobs (those paying £40,000 and above) out-earned men, with the typical female receiving 7.7 per cent (or £3,919) more than their male equivalents, with a salary of £52,703.

For senior travel jobs (those paying between £30,000 and £39,999), men earned 0.8 per cent more than the average woman with £32,650, or a difference of £268. Men also out-earned women in mid-level positions (those paying between £22,000 and £29,999) with an average of £25,542 and a difference of 2.1 per cent or £518.

However, the situation was reversed for junior roles (those paying below £22,000) with women out-earning men by 2.8 per cent, taking home an average wage of £20,178 (or a gap of £556).

Gender role split

In terms of the overall gender split in travel, women continued to be awarded the majority of new positions at all levels of the industry, with females accounting for 76.6 per cent of all new junior roles (up from 70.8 per cent in 2019 and up from 74.1 per cent in 2018), and 73.4 per cent of all mid-level positions (up from 72.9 per cent in 2019 and down from 75.0 per cent in 2018).

Women also took 74.4 per cent of all new senior jobs in travel last year (up from 69.9 per cent in 2019 and 62.3 per cent in 2018) and 61.0 per cent of all executive roles (up from 53.2 per cent in 2019 and 38.1 per cent in 2018.

Overall, women were placed in 73.3 per cent of all new travel jobs last year, compared to 68.7 per cent in 2019, 68.6 per cent in 2018 and 71.4 per cent in 2017.

Speaking about the findings, Barbara Kolosinska, Managing Director at C&M Travel Recruitment, said: "Any difference in salaries between men and women is too much, but it is still very pleasing to see the gender pay gap in the travel industry fall from 14.2 per cent before the pandemic to 6.5 per cent in 2021.

"There is still a long way to go to reach parity, but this report makes for encouraging reading. What's particularly promising is that for the first time since we began these surveys in 2014, men are no longer significantly out-earning women in higher-salaried executive travel roles. In fact, the situation was reversed last year, with female travel executives taking home an average of 7.7 per cent more than their male equivalents.

"Whether this is a blip caused by the pandemic or an indication of a more long-term trend is unknown at this point, but travel's gender pay gap appears to be reducing. With travel being such a wonderfully inclusive place to work, wouldn’t it be fantastic if we could lead the way by introducing true pay parity across our whole industry."


C&M Travel Recruitment was established in 1998 and is the largest and most successful specialist travel recruitment company in the UK.

For further information please contact: Owen Mckeon (Marketing Manager - 0161 238 4497 / or Barbara Kolosinska (Managing Director - 07507 602 069 /