Recruitment in the travel sector is being hit by the fallout from the spread of coronavirus, new data has confirmed.

The virus had a “clear impact” on the number of new vacancies and candidates.

Totals in February suffered double digit falls from the previous month and against the same month last year, according to jobs specialist C&M Travel Recruitment and C&M Executive Recruitment.

Director Barbara Kolosinska said: “It was a strong few weeks for travel salaries which topped £29,000 to reach a near record high, however this is only half of the month’s story.

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“Towards the end of February, we began to notice a drop in activity as news about the coronavirus spread, and that impact is certainly more pronounced now.

“A large number of firms are putting their plans for business travel on hold and this is having a direct impact on many companies in our industry.”

And she warned: “As a result of these continued worries, we thoroughly expect March’s data to show a significant drop in recruitment activity but we must hope that any impact remains short-term.

“Although some companies are putting their permanent recruitment plans on hold for the time being, the industry is likely to experience a large degree of volatility over the next few weeks.

“Therefore, we would recommend they consider taking on temporary staff in order to accommodate any spikes in activity because this has proven to be an effective short-term remedy during previous global challenges.”

The average salary for a new travel job rose by 2.51% in February to £29,049, C&M reported.

The increase was mainly as a result of wages for travel jobs based in the north of the country rebounding to their highest level since last July, as well as an increase in the number of senior placements.

But salaries for standard jobs in travel dipped by 2.55% last month to £25,665. However, this was above the 2019 average of £24,942 and up by 5.74% from February 2019.