Print
Rate

Sales Hiring Outlook 2008

John Rossheim / Monster.com

November 05, 2007

The dollar’s down, and the offshoring of supply chains continues apace. The stock market is volatile, but has been trending up through most of 2007. The housing market and the mortgage industry have seemingly hit bottom. All in all, consumers aren’t sure what to think.

Given this mixed economic picture, what will 2008 hold for salespeople looking to change jobs or for business students considering a career in sales? With companies in all industries looking to boost revenues, prospects are good for the rainmakers and order takers — assuming no unforeseen recession.

In 2008 as always, salespeople in nearly any industry will find work, if they’ve got the contacts, the product knowledge and the street savvy. “Any successful salesperson in any industry is able to write their own ticket,” says Brandon Gutman, director of marketing and business development for recruiter Stephen-Bradford Search in New York.

Sales Opportunities — Cyclical and Otherwise

In some industries more than others, sales opportunities mirror the economic cycle. “Employment for transactional sales professionals – like those in retail, autos and mortgages – tends to be more volatile,” says David Hoffmeister, director of DePaul University’s sales leadership program.

Related Links

Conversely, financial sectors like banking and insurance offer steadier demand for salespeople, “and with the aging population, that demand will just continue to rise.”

In real estate, the mortgage meltdown of 2007 is undoubtedly bad news for many brokers, but there may be a silver lining. “If a mortgage company has a high percentage of nonperforming loans, they might be cutting back on sales,” says Hoffmeister. “But their rivals might be taking advantage and hiring.”

Hot Niches in Sales for 2008

Salespeople in hot information technology sectors can remain optimistic, despite the slow economy. “Even if there’s a sales downturn in IT, companies can look at it as an opportunity to bring in new talent,” says James McCoy, senior vice president of consulting services at staffing firm Veritude.

And there are a number of niches where demand for sales experts far outweighs supply. Gutman, whose firm specializes in placing marketing communications professionals, can attest to this. “In online advertising sales, there are more positions open than bodies to fill them,” he says. “Even when our clients aren’t being as picky as they want to be, they have a hard time finding people.”

Staff salespeople who are looking to move up in their organizations can get a leg up on the competition. “When executives are hiring to head up a new vertical, it’s almost always the case that they’ll be building a sales organization beneath them,” says Gutman.

Specialization and Education Are Key

From biotech to carbon credits to the robots that have replaced factory workers, 2008 will see the continued proliferation of complex products, creating a need for salespeople with high-level skills and special subject-matter expertise.

“The demand for educated, trained sales professionals is very high,” says Hoffmeister. About half of DePaul graduates with a major in business and a minor in sales have secured a job by commencement day; 90 percent are employed within three months, Hoffmeister says.

Still, with Baby Boomer salespeople beginning to retire in the second half of this decade, many companies will be forced to hire salespeople who have less than ideal educational qualifications, even for the higher ranking positions.

The Global Economy and the Declining Dollar

With the dollar dropping against other major currencies through most of 2007, US trade relationships – and the correlating sales opportunities – are changing.

“The declining dollar makes products manufactured in the United States much more competitive,” says McCoy. This can directly translate to job opportunities for salespeople. “US firms now have more opportunities to export to emerging market economies like Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan.”

Inevitably, some sales opportunities will decline as our economy globalizes. When the bulk of a US firms’ supply chain moves to other countries, wholesale selling jobs, for example, may go abroad as well.


Excelle School Finder

Save time in your search for a degree program. Use Excelle's School Finder to locate schools online and in your area.


* In the event that we cannot find a program from one of our partner schools that matches your specific area of interest, we may show schools with similar or unrelated programs.

Recent Activity

Photo_user_blank_big
Ldam222 received the quiz result of "ESTJ", about 2 years ago.
Photo_user_blank_big
mlzrvc received the quiz result of "ISTJ", about 2 years ago.
Photo_user_blank_big
schucb received the quiz result of "ESTJ", about 2 years ago.
Photo_user_blank_big
dkk_florida received the quiz result of "ESFJ", about 2 years ago.
Photo_user_blank_big
lexcelle received the quiz result of "Seattle", about 2 years ago.
Photo_user_blank_big
Burntnana received the quiz result of "You Kind of Love your job", about 2 years ago.
Photo_user_blank_big
Burntnana received the quiz result of "Healthy Person", about 2 years ago.
Photo_user_blank_big
Burntnana received the quiz result of "<b>You Just Need a Vacation</b>", about 2 years ago.
Apples-635240_1280_max30
Margaritta commented on: "Margaret Jefferson", about 2 years ago.