The Wall Street Journal reports that many companies find it difficult to fill positions in sales. Positions in scientific and technical fields pay well, but young people are uninterested.
Technical sales and sales-management positions play a critical role for U.S. businesses, but they are among the hardest to fill, according to a 2014 report from Harvard Business School’s U.S. Competitiveness Project. Employers spent an average of 41 days trying to fill technical sales jobs, compared with an average of 33 days for all jobs for the 12-month period ending in September 2014, according to Burning Glass, a labor-market analysis firm that worked with Harvard Business School on the report.
Many potential applicants are turned off by the stereotype that sales is a high-pressure, competitive environment (think Glengarry Glenn Ross). Others are wary of the financial risk. However, in many companies, the sales environment is changing.
As companies become savvier about the products they buy, wheeler-dealers are out, and problem-solvers are in. Sales organizations today are more commonly structured as teams, with lower-ranking members identifying prospects and developing early interest, someone else running through the specs or demos on highly technical products, and field reps negotiating and closing deals, employers say.