The State of the Promotional Products Talent Market

The State of the Promotional Products Talent Market

Finding great people is always a challenge. However, your odds of finding and hiring great candidates are significantly increased if you have a firm understanding of the talent pool that’s available to you. In other words, knowledge is power.

Our team of sourcers and recruiters have hundreds of conversations with hiring managers and job candidates every week. To provide hiring managers and job candidates with a better understanding of the promotional product talent market, we’ve tracked these conversations over the past 12 months. The results of our analysis have provided the insights below.

If you’re planning to grow your firm and add to your team in 2017, here’s what the promotional products talent market has in store for you:

DISTRIBUTORS

Executive-Level

  • Within the distributor-side of our industry, executive-level job candidates are available in relative abundance. For many active job seekers, this is no doubt this is due to the large number of mergers and acquisitions that have taken place over the last several years. On the other hand, many passive job seekers are facing the challenges of ownership changes, stagnant career growth, and the increased role of millennials in many distributor-side firms.
  • Supply exceeds demand

Management

  • Unlike the executive-level, experienced managers are in high demand. Many growing mid-tier firms are facing the need to expand their management team in 2017. Sales managers and customer service managers are especially sought after. These positions are usually reserved for experienced distributor-side managers whom have held leadership positions before. Many smaller firms, most with an owner who is also the top sales producer, are seeking successful senior sales reps who can transition into a sales manager role.
  • Demand exceeds supply

Marketing

  • Both marketing managers and marketing support reps aren’t in high demand as they were in 2015 and 2016. Challenges in differentiating themselves from competitors has caused many firms to move spend from the marketing department to the customer service department. The thinking here is that they are better off keeping existing customers satisfied than trying to win new customers. While demand is low, supply is also low for marketers who know and understand our industry.
  • Equilibrium

Sales

  • The talent market for distributor-side sales reps contains two very different markets. Demand has been (and always will be) very strong among distributorships with a commission compensation structure. The reason for this is simple economics. However, demand for sales reps with firms using a salary plus bonus compensation structure is low. These firms have good people on their teams and there are many lower producing commission sales reps who would jump at the change to stabilize their income with a salary.
  • Commission compensation structure – Demand exceeds supply
  • Salary plus bonus compensation structure – Supply exceeds demand

Customer Service

  • Distributors large and small are having a difficult time fully staffing their customer service teams. An increased customer-focus within many distributorships has put these job candidates at a premium. The growth of many distributorships with a commission compensation structure also adds to the demand for these candidates. Experienced, knowledgeable customer service people are very valuable in today’s talent market.
  • Demand exceeds supply

Vendor Relations/Sourcing/Merchandising

  • Vendor relations, sourcing, and merchandising professionals are sought highly after on the distributor-side. There just aren’t a lot of job candidates who have strong experience in this area. Many firms facing stagnant growth and are looking to sourcing and merchandising professionals to increase profits.
  • Demand exceeds supply

SUPPLIERS

Executive-Level

  • Despite the high number of mergers and acquisitions on the supplier-side of our industry, executive-level candidates aren’t in high supply. Many of them are kept on board during mergers and acquisitions. Additionally, their backgrounds and experience make a transition outside of the industry far more likely than their distributor-side counterparts. Several firms are looking to expand or make changes to their executive team in 2017.
  • Demand exceeds supply

Management

  • At the management-level, there are few opportunities and fewer experienced candidates. Once supplier sales reps ascend to a management-level they tend to stay put. This is caused more due to comfort with the organization than a lack of opportunities. Though the opportunities are far from plentiful.
  • Demand just barely exceeds supply

Marketing

  • Marketing, long talked about as an important differentiator among suppliers, appears to be coming into its prime. Over the last 6 months, more and more suppliers are putting their money where their mouth is and investing in marketing talent. Hopefully, these investments and new hires pay off. Candidates who understand the promotional product industry and the tenets of modern marketing are very rare. Suppliers may soon find themselves having to reach outside of the industry to hire young, savvy marketing talent.
  • Demand will far exceed supply within the next 12 months

Sales

  • The traditional game of supplier sales rep musical chairs has slowed down over the last 12 months. In general, sales reps are staying put longer. Additionally, there’s a significant pool of experienced sales reps who are underserved by their current supplier.
  • Supply exceeds demand

Customer Service

  • While not suffering the same sharp shortage of distributors, suppliers are adding staff to their customer service teams. Again, it’s an increased customer-focus that has brought on these new positions. Distributor sales reps are placing more and more importance (as are end-users) on communication, responsiveness, and results from suppliers.
  • Demand exceeds supply

Sourcing/Merchandising/Purchasing

  • Sourcing, merchandising, and purchasing professionals are in even higher demand than they are on the distributor-side. The shortage of experienced job candidates is very sharp. It’s a real challenge for the suppliers looking to squeeze savings out of a more efficient supply chain.
  • Demand exceeds supply

If your firm is planning to grow in 2017, PromoPlacement has the insight, network, and placement expertise to ensure that your team is made up of the best our industry has to offer. Contact our team at info@promoplacement.com to discuss your talent needs and business goals.

0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *