Travel salary index – 2019 overview

The 2019 Travel Salary Index from C&M Travel Recruitment

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  • Travel wages increase at fastest annual rate since 2012
  • Senior travel salaries rise for fourth year in a row
  • Pay for standard travel jobs only increases marginally
  • North-south travel wage gap widens to 21 per cent
  • Candidate and vacancy numbers both see annual falls

Travel wages rise again in 2019

Salaries for the average new job in travel increased by 4.99 per cent in 2019 to reach £28,196, according to the 2019 Travel Salary Index from C&M Travel Recruitment which surveyed all new vacancies registered with the companies during the year.

This marks the fifth consecutive year of growth, with travel wages now rising in eight of the past nine years.

There was also a rise in salaries for standard travel jobs (those paying up to £40,000) which increased by 0.62 per cent annually to stand at £24,942 in 2019 and have now increased every year since 2015.

Meanwhile, salaries for senior travel jobs (those paying £40,000 and above) increased for the fourth consecutive year with 5.37 per cent annual growth to reach an average figure of £58,589.

North-south wage gap widens

After narrowing in 2018, the north-south wage gap increased last year with the average travel job in the south paying £28,746 compared to £23,233 in the north, meaning the average travel employee in the south earned 21.21 per cent more than a worker in the north in 2019.

The wage gap stood at 17.23 per cent in 2018, 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.

Recruitment activity falls

Activity levels fell in the travel recruitment sector with the number of new candidates decreasing by 16 per cent in 2019 after dipping by 14 per cent in 2018. However, last year’s total was still up by 2 per cent from 2016. Similarly, vacancy numbers fell by 9 per cent last year after also decreasing by 7 per cent in 2018, although 2019’s total was still 4 per cent ahead of 2016’s tally.

December sees salary boost

During the month of December, average salaries increased by 5.22 per cent to wipe out the 5.44 per cent fall seen in November and now stand at £29,131 – just £155 below the record high set in July 2019. Meanwhile, salaries for standard jobs in travel increased by 0.73 per cent during the month to reach £24,430.

Traditionally the quietest month of the year for recruitment, December 2019 saw a wide difference in activity levels, with new vacancies rising by 28 per cent from last December to reach their highest December total since 2015, while candidate registrations fell by 9 per cent from the same month in 2018 to their lowest December figure since 2013.

Speaking about the stats, Barbara Kolosinska, Director at C&M Travel Recruitment, said: "With their biggest annual growth since 2012, it was a very good year for new travel job salaries which have risen by an average of £1,342 over the 12 months.

"However, 2019 wasn't an easy year for the travel industry – both politically and economically it was a year of uncertainty and this undoubtedly contributed to the more muted activity levels that we saw over the past 12 months. With many of these issues now seemingly resolved, we're hopeful that 2020 will be a more positive year all round. Nevertheless, it is likely to remain a candidate driven market with the best applicants being high in demand, so we expect to see companies continuing to improve their recruitment packages in 2020 in an effort to entice the best talent to join their teams."


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 /