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Are travel agents approaching their use-by date?

February 8, 2018 Headline News No Comments Email Email

A survey of travel agents by a travel industry job board covering the US has revealed startling figures on the average ages of people working in the industry, raising questions about what the situation might be in Australia.

Over half of American travel agents are over the age of 55, according to the latest survey by Hot Travel Jobs. Preliminary results from the “Travel Industry in 2017” report show that 51% of American travel agents surveyed by the travel industry job board were 55 years of age or older.

Alarmingly, only 3% of the travel agent workforce surveyed were in the 20 to 35 age bracket.

The median age of the US population (the age at which half the population is older and half is younger) is 38 and US travel agents on average would seem to be much older than that. The Australian median age is 37 but no survey of agent ages is known to exist.

News of the survey was published by the US news outlet, which covers news and trends in travel.

Other stats from the American survey: 36% of respondents were between the ages of 45 and 54, while 13% were 18 to 45. More than one fifth (21%) of agents were unemployed at time of responding.

“This follows with our previous studies, showing an industry back-loaded with seasoned professionals, but with a lack of incoming talent,” Hot Travel Jobs wrote in a statement accompanying the results.

The 2016 survey, released last year, found that 89.9% of America’s corporate travel agents had over 17 years of experience in the travel industry – and only 2% of had six to 10 years experience.

For leisure travel the gap was smaller, with 71.2% of leisure travel agents having over 17 years of experience, and 9.9% having six to 10 years of experience. In another age-related trend, travel agents’ plans for retirement were up 19% in last year’s survey.

“The age bracket of the employees in the industry is a very important data set, as we benchmark this to understand the percentage of people retiring over the next few years and the staffing requirement to replace them,” Hot Travel Jobs said.

Written by Peter Needham

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