Australia travel salaries stagnate in 2011

Australia travel salaries stagnate in 2011

Salaries in Australia’s travel and tourism industry have stagnated slightly in this year. The 2011 Australian Travel & Hospitality Industry Salary Report, conducted by recruitment giant TMS Asia-Pacific, found that while 54% of industry staffers had received a pay rise, this was in fact a drop on the 60% figure recorded last year.

This is in marked contrast to Asian travel industry employees, 75% of whom have enjoyed pay increases over the last 12 months.

In addition, TMS General Manager for Australia & NZ, Sally Matheson said another “worrying trend” was the fact that the number of employees who saw their salaries increase in excess of 6% over the last 12 months also decreased – from 14% in 2010 to 12% this year.

“The Australian findings are very different from the Asia region where 75% of all respondents participating in the 2011 TMS Asia-Pacific Survey indicated they had received a pay increase in the last 12 months,” Ms Matheson said.

“That figure represents a 7% increase over the 68% of Asia-based respondents receiving a pay rise and could be seen as a very strong indication that employers in Asia are attempting to retain their good staff with increased remuneration as the ‘war for talent’ continues to impact on a sector showing ongoing positive growth.

“Its the same with the level of increase with 27% of those respondents receiving a pay rise in excess of 6% or more – more than double the figure recorded in Australia,” she added.

Ms Matheson commented however, that while 2011 had not a period of huge plenty, it had nonetheless been positive for Australia.

“There can be no doubt we are currently back in a pre-GFC climate and one which in theory should see employees having the upper hand when it comes to  expecting and demanding better salaries from employers as the ‘war for talent’ continues to bite,” she said. “But judging from what the 2011 Report has unearthed it would appear that employers actually have the upper hand at the moment.”

Average salaries ranged from AU$40,000 (US$38,900) for a Documentation Consultant in New South Wales to AU$20,436 for a Personal Assistant in Victoria.

State-by-state, New South Wales recorded the highest average salary, at AU$81,760, followed by Victoria’s AU$80,531. These two states ranked considerably higher than any other, with Queensland (AU$58,579), ACT (AU$58,025), Western Australia (AU$55,219) and South Australia (AU$55,163) all left trailing.

The Corporate sector recorded the highest average salary by industry at an impressive AU$95,057. This was followed by the Cruise sector (AU$81,000) and Hospitality which averaged AU$79,122.

Ms Matheson said this proved that the sector is not as poorly rewarded as its reputation suggests, with several senior roles including Director of Sales, Training & Development Manager, Project Manager and Account Manager all commanding six-figure salaries.

While salary increases continued to dominate, Ms Matheson said the importance of career development on employee satisfaction, as in recent surveys, remains very high on the agenda. A total of 64% of respondents said that career progression was either ‘important’ or ‘very important, up 3% from 2010.

A total of 63% rated their career progression opportunities with current employers as ‘fair’, ‘poor’  or ‘none’, up from the 58% recorded in 2010.

Ms Matheson said this factor should be sounding alarm bells for employers given that employees in this post-GFC environment are now seeing a greater number of opportunities than ever before, both within the tourism sector and outside from competing sectors offering both higher salaries and stronger career path opportunities.

“We have to be mindful that the ‘war for talent’ continues unabated and employers face an uphill battle in retaining staff.

“This means employers need to be very much on their toes if they are to maintain headcount – and fill newly emerging job roles – and if they are to remain competitive in the employment stakes in this current environment,” she added.

Launched in late August, the survey attracted close on 800 respondents ranging from company CEOs, managing directors and general managers through to middle management and front line consultants.


Mark Elliott
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Mark Elliott
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