Travel salary index – 2021 overview

The 2021 Travel Salary Index from C&M Travel Recruitment

Return to News & insights
  • Salaries for travel jobs fall annually for first time since 2014
  • Vacancies approach pre-pandemic levels…
  • …But candidate numbers not increasing at same pace
  • Job placements remain down on 2019, but big recovery in Q2 2021

Travel wages see annual dip

The average salary for a new job in travel has fallen annually for the first time in seven years, according to the 2021 Travel Salary Index from C&M Travel Recruitment which surveyed all new vacancies registered with the companies during the year.

With a figure of £27,451, last year's average fell by 2.96 per cent from 2020 and 2.64 per cent from 2019, although it was up by 2.22 per cent from 2018.

There was a sharper fall in pay for standard new travel jobs (those with salaries up to £40,000) which averaged £24,280 in 2021 – a fall of 6.12 per cent from 2020 and 2.65 per cent from 2019.

Salaries for executive travel roles (those paying above £40,000) also fell, but at a slower rate, Last year’s average figure of £55,474 was down by 2.79 per cent from 2020 and by 5.32 per cent from 2019.

Travel recruitment activity up strongly

The number of new travel job vacancies increased by 127 per cent last year from 2020, but remained down by 42 per cent compared to 2019. However, much of this difference is due to the very slow first few months of 2021 when the country was still under lockdown. When comparing the second half of the year, vacancies recorded between July and December 2021 fell by only three per cent compared to the same period in 2019.

Similarly, the number of new travel job placements increased by 75 per cent in 2021 compared to the previous year, but dipped by 55 per cent from 2019. Looking at the last six months of the year, placements in 2021 were down by a more respectable 27 per cent from the same months in 2019.

Although not rising at the same pace as vacancies, 2021 also saw a big increase in the number of people looking for travel jobs, with a 46 per cent jump from 2020. However, candidate numbers were down by 14 per cent compared to 2019 and by 28 per cent from 2018.

Speaking about the stats, Barbara Kolosinska, Managing Director at C&M Travel Recruitment, said: "2021 really did feel like a year of two halves, with activity picking up swiftly and dramatically from early summer onwards – and, thankfully, that momentum is continuing into 2022. The health of the travel recruitment sector has improved immeasurably since the beginning of last year, and January 2022 is shaping up to be one of the best months for new vacancies that our industry has seen in a long time.

"Given that we are currently experiencing a candidate shortage in the travel industry, it is slightly concerning to also see that salaries have fallen annually for the first time in a number of years. As the year goes on, hopefully we will see more companies begin to improve their salaries and overall packages in an effort to attract great talent – both old and new – to work in travel."


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 / or Barbara Kolosinska (Managing Director - 07507 602 069 /