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January - March 2016

In terms of the January to March quarter, we expect to see a greater focus on permanent Senior Sales Management roles as a result of restructures this year. Product knowledge is key for many employers.

A number of organisations will interview candidates without the desired level of sales or account management skills as long as they possess solid management experience plus a strong working knowledge of the core product they would be working with.

Employers expect such a candidate to develop the sales/account management skills once they are in the role suggesting that the key to selection is product knowledge. We are seeing a greater number of Key Account Management roles particularly in industrial sectors.

In the fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) sector local employers are starting to look to the United Kingdom for candidates as Australian companies align with British consumer trends.

Solution based sales roles are increasing from IT to managed services as opposed to tangible product sales roles.

In the ACT, many organisations are looking to grow their sales teams quickly but the preferred candidate should have worked in a similar field or industry. Previous relationships/networks are very important in the ACT especially for commercially focused roles where new hires are expected to prove their worth almost from day one.

In South Australia we are seeing increased hiring of sales professionals from interstate in some sectors while in Northern Tasmania exceptional, experienced senior sales professionals are in very short supply.

Skills in demand

In terms of skills in demand over the January to March quarter, Key Account Manager/Account Manager roles are on the rise as organisations look to consolidate market share through relationship building. Candidates willing to work in the tobacco market are in particular demand.

Sales Managers are highly sought to provide leadership to the team and create stronger sales environments.

Business Development Managers are also in demand in several sectors including hospitality. Many employers are looking for BDM's happy to take a lower base salary and higher commission. However, in logistics we are seeing an oversupply of BDMs with the effectiveness of the role being questioned in some quarters.

Pricing Analysts are in demand too but employers prefer candidates with a solid background and astute decision making abilities rather than those from a marketing background.

Store Managers and Assistant Store Managers are in demand in Western Australia due to a major chain planning to open a number of new stores.

Candidate trends

As roles are being centralised in Melbourne or Sydney we are seeing some candidates from other markets willing to take a step back in their careers to gain a foot hole in these cities. Employers remain wary of these candidates fearing that they will move on quickly once they have gained sufficient experience to secure another role.

Progression, training and development always top the list of things candidates look for in a new role. We have seen many candidates actively trying to develop transferable skills to stand out from the crowd.

As mentioned, Account Managers are in good demand but from the candidate side, job hunters are looking for roles without a high emphasis on new business, as it is a very tight and competitive market at the moment.

Video interviewing and social media are being increasingly used to attract sales candidates with job advertisements considered outdated.

We also note that the corporate ladder no longer applies to the careers of savvy sales professionals. Organisations are using a new lattice model where candidates are offered opportunities to develop skills outside their normal range and tap into new networks of expertise.

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