At the start of every year I look at what I consider to be the 3 most credible sales hiring forecasters (2016 Reports – CareerBuilder, Linkedin and Manpower) to project the year ahead. As each company gets their data from slightly different sources, I trust the aggregate of their forecasts. From this aggregate, it’s clear that the 2016 Sales Hiring Forecast is very good news for sales professionals and challenging news for employers. As I did last year, I’ve summarized and tried to make sense of these reports for my followers.

My six 2016 sales hiring takeaways:

  1. Job creation in 2016 is projected to “hold steady” relative to 2015. Considering that the U.S. economy added an average of 200,000 jobs per month over the past two years this is excellent news. My summary of 2015’s forecast is here.
  2. Sales representatives are listed as the 4th most difficult role to hire for per Manpower and 3rd per CareerBuilder. Drilling deeper, white collar unemployment stands at 2.5% which is reflective of an intensely competitive talent market. As a reference point, 5% is considered full employment. We share 4 tips when recruiting in tough markets.
  3. 83% of employers are planning to increase salaries for their existing employees. This will make it even more difficult in 2016 to lure talent away. I’m advising our clients to revisit their current compensation plans to ensure that they can attract and hire the best and brightest.
  4. I saw more counter-offers in 2015 than at any other time in my 20 year sales recruiting career. Based on these hiring forecasts, I would expect to see a further rise in counter-offers in 2016. This aligns with Linkedin’s finding that employee retention has risen to be a top priority among HR Leaders.
  5. Globally, hiring optimism is mixed with the highest confidence being shown in India, Taiwan, Japan and the U.S. in that order.
  6. Although I’m not an economist, the slowdown in China’s economy could well be the first sign of a future global downturn.

In my 2015 sales hiring forecast summary I predicted an all-out war for A players. Based on what we experienced here at Sales Talent, that prediction came true. Given the 2016 sales hiring projections, we’re buckling up for another fast and crazy ride.