Travel salary index – 2018 overview

The 2018 Travel Salary Index from C&M Travel Recruitment

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  • Average travel wages rise for fourth successive year
  • North-south pay gap narrows to smallest point since at least 2011
  • Travel vacancies and candidates both fall in 2018 but remain historically high
  • December travel pay remained broadly flat month-on-month

Further annual rise for travel wages

Salaries for standard new travel jobs (those paying up to £40,000) jumped by 7.45 per cent last year to stand at £24,789, according to the 2018 Travel Salary Index from C&M Travel Recruitment which surveyed all new vacancies registered with the companies during the year.

This is the fourth successive year of impressive annual salary growth for standard travel jobs, which also rose by 5.41 per cent in 2017, 5.52 per cent in 2016 and by 5.27 per cent in 2015.

Overall, average travel salaries rose again in 2018 with a 3.16 per cent annual rise to stand at £26,854, following successive small increases of 1.58 per cent in 2017, 1.80 per cent in 2016 and 1.46 per cent in 2015.

Salaries for executive jobs in travel (those paying above £40,000) rose steadily by 1.87 per cent in 2018 to stand at an average of £55,603 after rising by 0.87 per cent in 2017 and 1.53 per cent in 2016. However, executive pay remains below the annual peak of £58,418 seen in 2014.

The north-south wage gap narrowed markedly last year to its smallest point in at least seven years with travel salaries in the north of the UK jumping by 6.93 per cent to reach an average of £23,495, while wages in the south dipped marginally by 0.26 per cent (or £72) to stand at £27,926.

This meant that the average travel employee in the south earned 17.23 per cent more than a worker in the north, while the wage gap stood at 24.11 per cent in 2017, 21.86 per cent in 2016, 19.19 per cent in 2015, 17.97 per cent in 2014, 20.14 per cent in 2013 and 22.99 per cent in 2012.

Travel activity falls in 2018 but remains solid

After a big rise of 23 per cent in 2017, the number of travel vacancies fell by 7 per cent in 2018, while there was also a 14 per cent fall in travel candidates last year after they rose by 40 per cent in 2017. However, both figures remain historically high, with candidate numbers standing at their second highest annual amount since the index began in 2012.

Salaries hold steady in December

The average new travel job came with an average salary of £27,161 in December 2018, which was marginally down on the previous month’s figure by 0.34 per cent (or £92) but was up by a huge 10.29 per cent from December 2017. Similarly, the standard new travel job offered £25,845 last month which was up a slight 0.22 per cent from November, but stood 18.53 per cent ahead of the figure from December 2017.

In terms of recruitment activity, the traditionally quiet month of December saw candidate numbers fall to their lowest level in three years (December 2015) with a 60 per cent dip from November 2018, while the number of vacancies fell to its lowest level since December 2016 following a 54 per cent monthly fall.

Speaking about the stats, Barbara Kolosinska, Director at C&M Travel Recruitment, said: “It was a good year for travel wages and, with a 3.2 per cent annual increase, they rose well above the rate of inflation. But more impressive was the 7.5 per cent jump in pay for standard new travel jobs, meaning this is the fourth straight year where we’ve seen an annual wage increase above 5 per cent!

“Activity levels fell from 2017’s record year, but candidate numbers are at the second highest level we’ve seen and the number of new travel jobs remains above 2016’s total, so it is still a very healthy and competitive market.

“However, there continues to be a shortage of experienced, quality candidates and this looks to remain the case well into 2019, so we expect many travel companies to look to improve their recruitment package where possible in a bid to attract the best.”


All figures are drawn from the salaries of the month’s 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 (Content Manager - 0161 238 4497 / or Barbara Kolosinska (Director - 07507 602 069 /