New travel job candidate numbers fell by 19% last month and by 13% annually to result in the weakest February since 2016, new figures reveal.

There was a similar picture for new travel jobs, with the number of vacancies falling by 15% in the month and 14% year-on-year to their lowest February total since 2013.

Barbara Kolosinska, director at C&M Travel Recruitment and C&M Executive Recruitment, which carried out the analysis, said: “January was an extremely busy month for us with candidates, vacancies and placements all way up, but activity certainly slowed in February.

“While we don’t expect this to develop into a long-term trend, the lack of quality, available candidates is impacting the market and creating issues for many travel companies when it comes to their recruitment.”

Meanwhile, average pay for new jobs in travel fell back by almost 4% last month after showing a rise of 1.45% in January, new figures reveal.

However, February’s figure of £26,481 was up by 7.44% from the same month in 2018, with the rolling 12-month average showing that wages have risen by 5.15% over the past year.

Standard travel salaries paying up to £40,000 a year dipped by 3.93% last month to £24,271. But this was up 6.47% from February 2018 while the rolling 12-month average increased by 8.36%.

Kolosinska added: “In terms of salaries, the 3.9% cent monthly dip is larger than we would like to see, but the overall picture remains very healthy with travel wages up by 5.15% or £1,326 over the past 12 months.”

The travel figures emerged a day after the government revealed the country’s 76.1% employment rate was the highest since record began in 1971.

The number of employed people in the UK rose to a new record of 32.7 million between November and January.

Unemployment fell by 35,000 to 1.34 million in the period, putting the rate below 4% for the first time since 1975.

The figure was 112,000 lower than a year earlier, giving a jobless rate of 3.9%, against the EU average of 6.5%.

Average weekly earnings, excluding bonuses, were estimated to have increased by 3.4%, before adjusting for inflation, down by 0.1% on the previous month but still outpacing inflation.

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