- Average salaries up by 21 per cent since pre-pandemic
- Wages rising far quicker for those at top of industry
- Small movement for lower-paid roles
- Candidates rise, but vacancies and placements fall
Another record year for travel pay
Salaries for the average new job in the travel industry rose by 11.56 per cent in 2023 to reach £34,156, according to the 2023 Travel Salary Index from C&M Travel Recruitment which surveyed all new vacancies registered with the company during the year.
The big increase in wages follows a similar 11.53 per cent jump in 2022, with salaries having risen by an average of 21.14 per cent since the pre-pandemic year of 2019.
However, the size of wage increases was not consistent across the industry with much of the overall rise being caused by an increase in placements for those earning the most.
Wages for executive travel roles (those paying £40,000 and above) rose by 6.50 per cent (or £3,364) to reach an average of £55,085, while those in new travel jobs with salaries of £60,000 or above saw their wages increase by an average of 11.06 per cent (or £8,355) in 2023.
For standard travel roles (those paying below £40,000), pay rose by 4.23 per cent in 2023 to £29,701 and has risen by 19.08 per cent since 2019. But for mid-level travel jobs (those paying between £22,001 and £29,999), wages increased by just 0.92 per cent last year and by only 4.56 per cent (or £1,155) since 2019 – far below the rate of inflation.
Recruitment eases after bumper 2022
The number of new candidates searching for travel jobs rose by eight per cent last year following a 26 per cent increase in 2022. Last year's total number of new job seekers was the highest since 2018, but still remains 15 per cent behind the record year of 2017.
After record-setting figures in 2022, last year was a less impressive one for both vacancies and placements, with vacancies dipping by 30 per cent from the previous year and placements falling back by 50 per cent from 2022.
It was also a slower year for the business travel sector, with placements dipping by 66 per cent from 2022's record-breaking year, but down by just six per cent from 2019. However, salaries for the average new business travel job rose by 7.28 per cent (or £2,201) in 2023 to stand at £32,414, and have risen by 20.07 per cent (or £5,418) since 2019.
Speaking about the stats, Barbara Kolosinska, Managing Director at C&M Travel Recruitment, said: "Salaries in the travel industry have been too low for too long. And with the headline figure of an 11.6 per cent rise in 2023 following an 11.5 per cent rise in 2022, you could easily think that we're well on our way to fixing this problem and that wages are rising for everyone in travel. Unfortunately, it's not as simple as that.
"Those at the very top of our industry are indeed seeing these big increases in pay, but it isn't filtering down to the lower levels. For many people working in travel – particularly those earning less than £30,000 – salaries barely increased at all last year and have in fact fallen compared to the rate of inflation.
"There's a still a real talent shortage at the moment and we're simply not going to attract quality candidates into the travel industry if we continue with these very uncompetitive packages. There are some fantastic roles out there with many offering attractive salaries, but if we want to successfully add talented people to our teams, we need to make a real effort in 2024 to collectively increase wages for lower-level travel positions."
All figures are drawn from the salaries of the new vacancies advertised with C&M Travel Recruitment.
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 and Operations Manager - 0161 238 4497 / email@example.com) or Barbara Kolosinska (Managing Director - 07507 602 069 / firstname.lastname@example.org).