Sales Jobs Decline in SA, does online account for that?

When it comes to specific job titles, it’s hard to see growth potential going forward in a world where the constant evolution of technology and online business is what it comes down to

There is always competition in the world that we live in, and the same can be said for being able to find work.

Some competitive aspects include being able to stand out as the best from the other candidates, to beat your way to the top overcoming all odds.

Some competitive aspects include being able to stand out as the best from the other candidates, to beat your way to the top, overcoming all odds.

However, when it comes to specific job titles, it’s hard to see growth potential going forward in a world where the constant evolution of technology and online business is what it comes down to.

Research showing a decrease for sales staff

In a recent March update on the job market in South Africa, Adzuna’s research noted that sales employees saw the biggest loss in advertised salaries, down at least 10% across all sales business titles. Drops in the amount of vacancies for sales staff were also recorded, although not large, when compared to a year previously.

When it comes to online jobs and certain high demand niche job markets such as IT, for instance, or finance, one can see that something like sales may not stand out as important. Both IT and finance jobs and their relative salaries grew by between 20% and 30% from September 2016 to March 2017.

Not all is bad news for sales professionals, however. Adzuna did mention that since many salespeople earn higher salaries in reality due to commission or bonuses, these figures may not tell the entire story. One assumption is that firms are paying more on performance in an effort to tighten their belts in a tough economic climate.

Online versus people

Another factor at play in the sales world may be digital sales, which require less manpower or relationship building, taking over a good deal of the work that sales staff do. When it comes to using social media and other online means to make income and to showcase a business’s products, doing it online is often very effective, especially for generating leads.

Sure, in the old days using flyers and newspaper to advertise was sometimes effective, since mobile phones didn’t even feature, but needless to say, tangible advertisements are less effective nowadays because of the convenience one has to simply get something with the click of a button. We could also conclude that there is less need to drive sales on a personal level of face-to-face presentations as was a few years back.

All doom and gloom?

Over the years there have been predictions that the jobs of sales personnel will come to an end. A book published in 1962 called “The Vanishing Salesman” by E.B Weiss also predicted in light of the fact that these jobs would be in far less demand in future, however, not vanish altogether but rather take on a different role “evolve”.

Despite the fact that the roles of salespeople could decrease in years to come, their value is not diminished and will not be gone entirely because people rely on that personal sales approach. People relate to “real life” help that feels more familiar and real than having seen an online advertisement. Another observation is the fact that certain items sell better with a self-demonstration which is another job for sale persons.

Regardless of the role of online sales in a business, clients are people, and connecting with them is essential to building a loyal customer base. Adzuna comments that more self-dependant and innovative companies are going forward making use of clever resources to build and grow their businesses, but in the end, they will still require sales resources of some kind. Sales vacancies could become rarer, but the right professional for the job will thus be more qualified and sought after. An uptick in sales jobs is expected as 2017 continues and the results will be seen in the June version of the Adzuna job market update.

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