hiring trends in sales and marketing.

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They position and sell your company's products and services, and they're currently in high demand — but will there be enough sales and marketing talent to go around?

Here, we analyzed the latest trends currently impacting hiring throughout sales and marketing, the challenges they'll pose to you and what you can do to overcome them. 

the numbers you should know

There will be plenty of need for sales and marketing professionals in the years ahead, with multiple industry prognosticators anticipating steady growth in these segments. 

telescope illustrationjob opportunities for advertising, promotions and marketing managers are projected to grow 8% by 2028 — faster than the national average.

The outlook for sales is just as sunny. Multiple sales positions landed on Linkedin's 2018 Emerging Jobs Report for being on the ascent and in demand.

Data obtained from Burning Glass, a leading labor-insight provider, jibed with those forecasts. Over just this past year alone there were:

  • account managers: 196,133 job postings

  • marketing managers: 158,023 job postings

  • account executives: 145,042 job postings

  • marketing specialists: 108,281 job postings

  • graphic designers: 57,313 job postings

Demand is being driven in part by the increased need for technical sales positions. Unfortunately, with unemployment low and hiring cycles for these roles taking longer than expected, there may not be enough talent to satisfy demand.

it takes 41 days on average to fill a technical sales role, as opposed to 33 for jobs in other professions that require a similar skill set. 

One reason for this shortage is that millennials, the largest generational cohort in today's workforce, have shown to be wary of sales jobs. As a result, there's not a lot of new talent waiting in the wings. 

Marketing, for its part, is struggling with a deficit of skills rather than a lack of interest. Digital marketing and data analytics have risen in prominence so quickly that demand for these positions has surpassed the pace of training, creating a sizable skills gap in its wake.

38 percent pie chartonly 38% of employed digital marketers were found to have a competent skill level upon evaluation.

what this means for employers

Given how closely sales and marketing teams are tied to your business's bottom-line health, you can't afford to let good talent slip through the cracks. Unfortunately, with unemployment low and acute talent shortages in both the sales and marketing space, you'll have to change your hiring approach to stay competitive. 

trends arrow blue illustrationtrend:
record-low unemployment

how this affects you:
shortage of talent on the market

build up your employer brand

To attract top sales and marketing talent, you need to speak their language. Building and broadcasting your employer brand will help you sell your workplace to sellers and market it to marketers. It's the signal that cuts through the noise — the clearer it is, the better your chances are of reaching and connecting with candidates.  

55 percent pie chart-1a steep 55% of job seekers abandon the application process after reading a negative employer review online.

what to do:

Find out where you stand: Search your business online to get an idea of the current public sentiment surrounding your workplace. This will help you identify what problem areas you need to address.

Craft your new messaging: Reflect on what makes your company and its culture great, and broadcast that across social channels. This can take the form of snapshots of office events, employee testimonials or day-in-the-life snippets.  

Revamp your job postings: Once you've settled on the right brand messaging for your business, weave it into the language of your job postings to ensure that applicants get a clear picture of your workplace mission and culture. 

trends arrow turquoise illustrationtrend:
hiring cycles are too long

how this affects you:
decreases your chances of landing top talent

speed up your hiring process

It's a natural byproduct of a tight talent market: with fewer candidates available and more competing employers, finding the right talent is going to take time. Unfortunately, it also means that the best candidates won't stay available for long. 

With the odds stacked against you, streamlining your hiring process and reducing your time to hire can level the playing field and keep you in the running for top talent.

your chances of landing top talent decrease significantly if your hiring process takes more than 10 days.

what to do:

Forecast talent needs: Hiring cycles go awry when too much time is spent hiring reactively rather than proactively. Work with senior leadership to get an idea of any future headcount you'll need to support upcoming initiatives.

Build a talent pipeline: With your future hiring needs quantified, lay the groundwork on a talent pipeline so you'll have plenty of candidates to choose from when talent needs do arise. 

Finally, hire: Once the time is right to hire, engage candidates you built relationships with in your pipeline. This way, you won't have to waste time sourcing and can jump right in.

Of course, you can't plan everything. But now, when confronted with an unexpected vacancy, you won't be so caught off guard since you'll already have a healthy pipeline of candidates in place that you can pull from. 

trends arrow red illustrationtrend:
the marketing skills gap is widening

how this affects you:
makes finding talent with the right skills more challenging   

upskill your existing workforce

When you couple low unemployment with a widening skills gap, it can feel almost impossible to find all the talent that your business needs. And while it's true that addressing these areas from the outside may not be feasible right now, there are other methods that you can employ to address your talent gaps. Upskilling your existing workforce, for instance, can be just as effective as making a new specialized hire with none of the risks of taking on a new employee. 

58 percent pie chart-158% of employees agreed that their companies currently don't have enough growth opportunities for them to stay long-term.

what to do:

Narrow down your needs: Examine the candidate profiles for all the roles you were originally planning on addressing from the outside and narrow down the major areas of expertise. These will be the areas to prioritize through training.

Launch a skills assessment: Evaluate your staff and their current competencies to identify strengths and weaknesses. Find out what kind of training needs to be done to address the gaps and whether or not it's something you can conduct in-house. 

Chart the right course: Speak with employees to get a better understanding of the career paths they'd like to pursue, and pair them with training programs that fit their goals. 

key takeaways

While job opportunities abound for sales and marketing professionals, the shortage of talent means employers are going to have a hard time filling them. 

To keep yourself competitive for talent despite the current low unemployment rate, remember to:

  • Build and broadcast your employer brand to stand out among the competition. 
  • Speed up your hiring process to secure top candidates before they leave the market.
  • Upskill your existing employees to cover for any positions that you can't address from the external talent market. 

Following these guidelines will set you up well to find talent despite the shortage. However, if you operate in a particularly competitive market, or you just want to give your business an extra edge, consider adopting a more targeted approach to finding talent. 

Tailoring your hiring strategy differently for each position you're looking to fill will help you source and hire more effectively. Visit the page below to see how to best hire for today's in-demand sales and marketing roles.

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