The sales function has traditionally experienced high turnover compared to other functions, with massive salary competition leading top talent to jump from role to role frequently. However, in line with the wider post-pandemic ‘Great Resignation’, talent mobility has skyrocketed in recent years. 

To investigate what was causing such high levels of workforce turnover, we carried out the largest ever study of white-collar workers, surveying 70,000 individuals around the world. The results categorically show that workers have a new expectations of employers post-pandemic, and that high turnover will be a permanent fixture in the new world of work.

Download Talent Trends 2023: The Invisible Revolution

Here, we will be breaking down what this ‘Invisible Revolution’ means for the sales function, and how employers can move with the times to engage top sales talent.

How many salespeople are looking for new roles?

Globally, 90% of respondents working in sales reported they were open to new job opportunities. The uncertain economic landscape hasn’t dampened this appetite: indeed, 45% of salespeople were more likely to look for a new job when the economy is performing poorly. 

This willingness to move jobs applies across all age groups, at all levels of seniority, and no matter how long an employee has been in their position – in fact eight in 10 of all respondents who had started a new job in the past year said they were open to new opportunities. 

So how can hiring managers attract and retain top sales talent in an era when loyalty has lost its lustre?

The Work-Life Equation: Pay + flexibility + career progression

The big change we have seen is the elevation of work-life balance as a priority for workers. Our study shows that it is now the most significant influence on job satisfaction. In fact, 74% of people working in sales said that work-life balance was key to their job satisfaction, a higher proportion than in all but one other sector. 

As workers adopt a more transactional attitude towards work, three considerations have emerged as the top priorities:

  1. Competitive pay
  2. Flexibility
  3. Career progression

Together, these constitute what we call the Work-Life Equation – the most influential factors for talent when deciding on a new role. Below, we discuss each one and how employers should approach them.


Remuneration has always been of the utmost importance in sales. But with employees hyperaware of their value in this candidate short market, salary now ranks across all employees as the number one reason to accept a new role and is considered the most important item in a job advert.

A good salary was the second highest priority when it came to job satisfaction, being selected by 43% of respondents. This is also creating challenges for employers, with 63% of those we surveyed saying matching salary expectations was their biggest recruitment challenge.

Our recommendation: Keep your salaries competitive.

Salespeople are intentionally increasing the monetisation of their time – most employees won’t accept lower pay if they can earn more elsewhere. This makes it even more important to stay up to date with what the competition is paying and benchmark well.

Our 2023 Sales Salary Guide gives you low, medium, and high sales salaries across a massive range of job titles, sectors, and locations. This resource will help you carry out an effective benchmarking exercise and review your salaries as soon as possible. 

At the same time, we would encourage employers to ensure that they are publishing salary information in recruitment adverts and remember that additional benefits – while valuable – are no substitute for competitive salaries.


Conversely, flexibility is something some sales departments have been sceptical of, given the importance of team morale, networking, and in-person meetings to high performing sales teams. 

Yet with work-life balance being the top influencer of job satisfaction among all respondents, and hybrid working arrangements also making the top five, sales managers must find innovative ways to make this work. 

To underscore this point, consider the following finding: 57% of employees reported that they will reject a promotion if they believe it will have a negative effect on their wellbeing. 

Our recommendation: Give your salespeople flexible working options

To compete for top talent, sales departments must redefine what flexibility means, transform their mindsets, and build an outstanding employee experience that takes into account workers with diverse needs and lifestyles.

Trust is key when it comes to reaping the rewards of allowing flexibility in the workforce. Employees do not want rigid rules around their flexibility – instead, they want their employer to trust they’ll make the right decisions. One-size-fits-all rules should be avoided.

Career progression

Employees underestimate the importance of career growth to employees by 10%, our report revealed. Yet career progression can be a true differentiator in a sales employee value proposition

Our data also showed a rise in ‘job hopping’, where employees will intentionally move quickly from role to role in a bid to climb the ladder and increase their pay. Keeping your people motivated by the prospect of moving up a rung can help you minimise the impact of this trend on your retention. 

Our recommendation: Carve out appealing career progression pathways

Most salespeople want to grow in their roles – and career growth provides a huge opportunity for employers to stand out.

Hiring managers should consider a candidate’s potential value to the company not just immediately, but in future too. Once hired, keep raising the stakes with targeted milestones, and ensure employees know how far they could go in your company from their first day.

Access the insights you need to attract and keep the best salespeople

Our 2023 Talent Trends report, The Invisible Revolution, provides a deep dive into the most profound shift in work culture since the arrival of the internet. 

Surveying almost 70,000 people globally, this is the world’s most robust and comprehensive study of skilled white-collar professionals. It investigates the impact of the Invisible Revolution on different sectors, on different generations, and at different levels of seniority. 

Find out how workers’ priorities have shifted, why, and how businesses can build talented teams in this challenging recruitment landscape. Get the data and inside information you need to not just survive this monumental cultural shift – but also to thrive in it.

Download 'Talent Trends: The Invisible Revolution