Salaries for jobs paying up to £40,000 increased 7.45% to £24,789 in 2018, the fourth successive year of annual growth.
It comes after rates of pay for comparable jobs increased 5.27% in 2015, 5.52% in 2016 and 5.41% in 2017.
Executive jobs paying more than £40,000 experienced a 1.87% increase to an average of £55,603, albeit still down on the £38,418 peak in 2014.
Overall, average salaries in travel increased 3.16% in 2018 to £26,854. This follows successive increases of 1.46% in 2015, 1.80% in 2016 and 1.58% in 2017.
The latest figures come from C&M Travel Recruitment and C&M Executive Recruitment’s 2018 Travel Salary Index.
Encouragingly, the index found the north-south wage gap narrowed significantly last year to its lowest rate since 2011.
Travel salaries in the north of the UK increased 6.93% to an average of £23,495 while wages in the south dropped slightly (0.26%) to £27,926, putting the pay divide between the average travel employee in the south versus the north at 17.23% in favour of the south.
This is down from 24.11% in 2017, 21.86% in 2016 and 19.19% in 2015.
Travel vacancies, though, after a sizeable 23% spike last year, fell 7% in 2018. The number of candidates also declined substantially, down 14% after a 40% increase last year.
And albeit a traditionally quiet month, candidate numbers fell to their lowest level in December since December 2015 while vacancies also declined to their lowest level since December 2016.
Barbara Kolosinska, director at C&M Travel Recruitment and C&M Executive Recruitment, said: “It was a good year for travel wages and, with a 3.2% annual increase, they rose well above the rate of inflation. But more impressive was the 7.5% 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%.
“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.”
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