Sales recruitment – Q3 market update

Sales recruitment is growing. Employers are beginning to feel more confident and looking to aggressively grow their top line rather than worry about maintaining the status quo.  
This provides a huge opportunity for high calibre sales candidates as the demand currently outweighs the amount of available people.  Companies are feeling the pressure to hold on to their top performers with counter offers increasing driving salaries/packages higher.

A candidate-driven market

There is currently a tangible shortage of high quality sales candidates. With the help of the improving economy, skilled sales candidates are hitting and exceeding targets and therefore are not actively looking for new roles. As a result, sales candidate attraction in the current market needs to be far more proactive. Attracting these candidates into new roles is challenging as they are now seeing their hard work pay off, both in career progression and higher OTEs. The effect on the market is that clients need to offer more in the initial stages of the recruitment process to secure the top talent. 

Top four tips for employers looking to attract candidates in a short-skilled market

  • Open up your key selection criteria when looking for candidates - seek competency as opposed to industry experience. Many clients focus on getting the exact product/route to market experience but why would a good sales candidate in a good market move to do exactly the same role unless they are offered a significantly better package?
  • Expect your chosen candidate to get multiple offers and a counter offer – consider this from the interview stage where you will need to ‘sell’ your opportunity. It should also be in mind when compiling an offer to ensure it is competitive.
  • When a candidate has multiple opportunities it is crucial that they engage with line managers/directors they feel they can learn from and develop under – this is important to take into consideration when planning the recruitment process, especially at interview stage.
  • Speed – good candidates are moving very quickly, the shortest amount of time in between interviews and offer stage is critical in this market place.
Recruitment processes are far more demanding than in the past, especially when employers are recruiting directly. Control of candidates in these processes is more challenging due to the high demand and resultant options candidates have to consider.
Recruitment processes will need to speed up to ensure good candidates are not lost due to interviews and offers dragging over a period of several weeks.
The short fall of high quality candidates means clients will need to widen their search criteria or alternatively look at an interim / temporary solution.



Placements per sector

An increase in placements made in the FMCG market puts it ahead of industrial. Financial services has also covered good ground in the last quarter however, FMCG and retail delivered the most growth.

Placements per company size

SMEs continue to drive the sales recruitment market, increasing again in Q2. However, there has also been an increase in placements into multinationals over the last quarter.

Placements per region

We have experienced an increase in placements in London and the Midlands. The North East fell back slightly against a strong Q1 but is still growing year on year.

Placements per salary level

The junior end of the market has delivered the most activity and growth. However, we are also seeing some confidence in the senior market. 

Looking ahead...sales recruitment in the near future 

With a stable government, we should continue to see positive economic growth and in turn, the creation of new jobs and career opportunities. 
As good candidates continue to become harder to come by, the market drive for temporary and interim sales options will continue in order to achieve aggressive short term targets while waiting for the right permanent option.
For more insight into the current market or to discuss you sales recruitment needs, contact Helen Carter, Operating Director at Michael Page Sales.
T: +44 121 2309418