Why Two-Thirds of Professionals Will Seek New Sales Jobs

Nearly 70% of sales professionals plan to hunt for a new position in the coming year, according to the results of a new survey by career site Glassdoor. More than a thousand workers responded to the survey, including B2B and consumer/retail salespeople -- 68% of them said they'll be looking for a new gig in the next 12 months.


Searching for better salaries

What are they looking for? More money, mostly. Compensation spans a huge range within the world of sales. Retail cashiers make around $21,000 per year. Technical and scientific sales reps pull in an average of $85,000, while $100,000 a year is average for sales engineers and financial services pros. Overall, 72% of the sales people surveyed said salary and compensation was a factor that would cause them to leave their jobs, with 65% citing opportunities for career advancement. Slightly less than half mentioned company culture as a consideration.

As the economy goes, this may be the best time in a while for salespeople to make a move. Although U.S. retail sales fell short of expectations last month, conditions are still slowly improving. Citing the federal government's May jobs report, Justin Wolfers at the New York Times pointed out that more than six years after the last peak in employment, non-farm jobs have surpassed pre-recession totals. The market for sales people of all kinds is projected to grow 7.3% by 2022 -- about 566,000 jobs -- according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Opportunities for salespeople and for companies

This is good news for workers in the field and for companies looking to build up their sales staffs. "The fact that 68% of sales professionals say they plan to look for a new job in the next year means that there are a lot of options for great sales talent, and for employers, plenty of opportunity to recruit the best of the best," said Will Staney, Glassdoor's global head of recruiting. And companies that hire within the next year should see a good return on their recruiting efforts. More than half the survey respondents said they tend to stay at a company for three years or longer.


Besides better pay, what are all these sales folks looking for? It depends. Glassdoor broke out its results by gender and found some interesting differences. While base pay mattered most to both women and men, commission was the next biggest factor for men. For women, both health care benefits and company perks ranked higher than commission. And although 62% of workers overall said they'd consider working for less pay if it meant the chance to sell a compelling product or service, women were 6 percentage points less likely than men to consider that kind of deal.

Where the job hunters are

As with health care workers in Glassdoor's recent survey on their job-hunting plans, sales professionals by a large margin say they prefer to be recruited through social media. That's great news for companies that have smart and engaging Twitter feeds and YouTube channels -- and a wake-up call to enterprises that are behind the social media curve.

Companies that want to keep the sales staff they have now would be wise to review pay structure as well as benefits, perks, and commissions. Enterprises looking to bring top talent on board should do the same ... and make sure their social media outreach is pitch perfect.

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Casey Kelly-Barton

Casey is a writer and journalist who follows the consumer goods, travel, and tech industries for The Motley Fool.

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