Salary predictions: What travel agents will earn in 2009

Salary predictions: What travel agents will earn in 2009

The turmoil in the UK’s economy has had a significant impact on all facets of the ­travel industry – and salaries are no exception.

AA Appointments’ annual Salary Forecast predicts salaries for 2009 across retail, tour operations, business travel and back-up staff.

The study has revealed a transformation in the recruitment market. In recent years, a good candidate could have their pick of jobs and command a healthy salary.

But as the recession bites and companies are forced to make redundancies, large numbers of good quality staff are faced with a slim jobs market.

AA Appointments managing director John Tolmie said: “It used to be a candidate-driven market – now it’s client-driven. There is very little chance of salaries increasing in 2009.

"In fact, this is the first time I’ve not seen a single increase across all the regions. Employers don’t need to offer high salaries to ­attract the best people.”

“This is the first time I’ve not seen a single increase. Employers don’t need to offer high salaries to attract the best people”

Business travel was one of the first sectors to be affected by the trouble in the financial markets. Most travel management companies have imposed a recruitment freeze and some are not replacing staff.

For those who still have their jobs, the biggest falls will be seen in senior positions. Senior business travel consultants in London will earn an average of £26,000, which is 6% less than last year. (More detailed figures are available at the bottom of this article.)

“Business travel is more influenced by the economic situation, especially by the collapse of large banks who are often their biggest clients,” said Tolmie.

Travel agents in London looking to move from leisure into business travel may be deterred by the fact that the average salary for someone ­entering business travel will fall to £17,000 – a 10.5% drop.

“It will be very difficult to get into business travel now – travel management companies will be taking people who are already qualified,” said Tolmie.

Salaries in tour operations are holding steady, apart from call centre managers who are predicted to earn 7% less than last year. However, this could be attributed to the recent closure of several call centres.

In the north of England, salaries for reservations staff for long haul, Europe, car hire and hotels face drops of about 4%, while cruise agents are set to earn 5.8% less than last year.

“Cruise jobs are becoming more commission based so agents could be affected if there is a drop in sales,” added Tolmie.

On a positive note, those working in Scotland, Wales and the Midlands will see salaries holding much more steady than those in London or Manchester.

Contract and interim roles will be easier to come across as companies go through a period of treading water. As ever, candidates with niche skills have more chance of being snapped up.

There is also still a demand for top salespeople. “If you’re a talented salesperson who can generate business and prove your value, there are jobs about, but the salary will stay constant,” said Tolmie.

More on salaries and recruitment


Call centre manager, large team

Region 2009 average salary % increase 2008/09
London

£40,000

-7%
Scotland £30,000 0%
North/N Wales £35,000 0%
Midlands/S Wales £35,000 0%
South of England £32,000 -3%

Long-haul reservations specialist

Region 2009 average salary % increase 2008/09
London

£22,000

0%
Scotland £14,000 0%
North/N Wales £16,500 -5.7%
Midlands/S Wales £17,000 0%
South of England £20,000 0%

Cruise reservations specialist

Region 2009 average salary % increase 2008/09
London

£20,000

-4.5%
Scotland £15,500 0%
North/N Wales £16,000 5.8%
Midlands/S Wales £15,000 0%
South of England £18,000 0%

Travel accounts, groups, conferences and incentives sales manager

Region 2009 average salary % increase 2008/09
London

£43,000

0%
Scotland £27,000 0%
North/N Wales £32,000 0%
Midlands/S Wales £35,000 0%
South of England £37,000 0%

Junior business travel consultant

Region 2009 average salary % increase 2008/09
London

£21,000

-4.5%
Scotland £13,000 0%
North/N Wales £15,000 0%
Midlands/S Wales £15,000 0%
South of England £17,500 0%

Corporate sales manager

Region 2009 average salary % increase 2008/09
London

£43,000

0%
Scotland £25,000 0%
North/N Wales £35,000 0%
Midlands/S Wales £35,500 -2.7%
South of England £37,000 0%

Senior business travel consultant

Region 2009 average salary % increase 2008/09
London

£26,000

-6%
Scotland £19,000 0%
North/N Wales £18,000 -5.2%
Midlands/S Wales £18,500 0%
South of England £24,000 0%

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