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Project managers, tech sales pros are in high demand

Sharon Florentine | April 8, 2016
After engineers, IT companies are struggling to keep up with demand for two other hard-to-fill roles: technical salespeople and IT project managers.

What are the hardest jobs to fill in tech? Not surprisingly, developers and engineers top the list. According to Edward Flynn, senior enterprise technical recruiter at technology recruiting and staffing firm Mondo. DevOps engineers, mobile developers, front-end developers, security engineers and cloud architects continue to be in huge demand. But after engineers, IT companies also are struggling to fill open roles for technical sales jobs and IT project managers.

A hard sell

According to a recent survey from sales platform ToutApp, which polled 300 HR managers from U.S.-based technology companies with at least 200 employees, 80 percent of respondents say their company plans to invest more in sales talent recruitment and hiring this year. When asked to identify the positions that present the most challenges finding "high-quality, experienced candidates," 69 percent of respondents cited IT/engineers. The second most-challenging positions to fill were technical sales roles, with 17 percent saying filling these roles presented the most challenges.

"After IT and product engineering, sales has really become the key to competitive advantage within most technology companies today. From business development to deal closure, revenue is directly attributed to the success and effectiveness of your sales team. The more you invest in bringing in the best people, the better positioned you are against the competition," says Tahweed Kader, CEO and founder of ToutApp.

One of the major challenges in finding, recruiting and hiring sales people is that there's often no formal education and training programs for sales pros; it's something many people discover as a career by accident, says Kader. "No one goes to college and says, 'I want to be in sales,' -- they'll say, I want to be in marketing or communications or another field like that, but there's no core 'basic training' for these sales skills. That's part of what makes it so difficult to find talent, because those that have those skills naturally are hugely coveted and they have so many job options already," he says.

When asked to state how competitive it is within the technology industry to find, recruit and hire experienced sales talent, 70 percent of those polled called it "very competitive." Finding and hiring entry-level sales talent was also described as "very competitive" by 52 percent of respondents. It's not just finding talent, either, says Kader, it's keeping that talent. Like engineers and developers, successful sales talent often have multiple job offers and opportunities, so retention is a major challenge.

In fact, according to survey respondents, 26 percent say the average sales rep tenure in their technology organization is just two to three years; 28 percent say it's only three to four years. That number drops to 21 percent for tenures of four to five years.


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