The 2015 sales hiring forecast points towards a great year for sales professionals looking for a new sales role and a frustrating one for companies trying to hire them.  Based on annual hiring surveys, both CareerBuilder and LinkedIn predict strong hiring demand with CareerBuilder reporting that 2015 has “the best outlook from the survey since 2006.”  CareerBuilder’s excellent 6 page report can be viewed here.  LinkedIn’s annual survey of recruiters can be found here, but be forewarned, LinkedIn is not subtle with their self-promotion.

My 5 big takeaways I gathered from these reports?

  1. Sales is the most in demand full-time position that employers are planning to add to their teams.  Of those employers looking to add headcount, 36% of them plan on adding sales staff.
  2. 36 seems to be a magic number as 36% of employers plan to add full-time, permanent staff in 2015.  This is a big jump from the 24% of employers that had planned to add full-time staff in 2014.
  3. LinkedIn shows that 63% of recruiters surveyed are expecting an increase in openings in 2015 vs only 46% expecting an increase at the start of 2014.
  4. Although CareerBuilder does not break this out by function, employers will be more strict with education requirements in 2015.
  5. Of great interest to sales reps is the commitment by employers to increase wages.  82% of employers will be increasing pay to their existing employees and 64% will be increasing their starting pay for new employees.  Both of these figures are up significantly from 2014.

Having been in the sales recruiting industry since 1996 I’d like to add my own thoughts to this news.  Unlike the insane hiring push that we saw from 1998-2000, where there was a mad grab for employees, this hiring uptick has some intelligence behind it. Employers have gotten a lot smarter and more selective with their sales hiring.  With that, there is an absolute war being waged to hire A players.  If you fall into that category, and you’re underpaid, you have much to get excited about in 2015.  A cautionary word from the wise; whatever you do, don’t job hop just to chase a few dollars.  With the economy heating up as it is, we’re probably only a few years away from a downturn.  Should you find yourself looking for a job when that happens, an unstable resume could be the kiss of death.  What’s unstable? 3 or more jobs in a 5 year period.  If you want a more complete answer you can read my previous blog on job hoppers.

If you’re an employer trying to hire A players in 2015 my advice is simple.  Keep your standards high but move candidates through your process quickly.  Don’t quibble over a few dollars if you have found an A player that also fits with your company.  Finally, treat the reps that you currently have right.  They’ll have options.