Hootsuite’s Ryan Holmes:
Mention “tech jobs” and thoughts typically turn to developers — the programmers and engineers who translate great ideas into working technology and keep the platforms we all use humming along.
But the reality is that it’s impossible to scale and sustain most software platforms today without a highly capable, highly trained sales team. Indeed, at many of the most successful cloud software companies, the sales squads are just as big as the technical teams.
I’ll repeat this for clarity: the current innovation boom hasn’t just created an outsized demand for IT pros; it’s created an equal — if not greater — demand for salespeople.
For Canadian-based companies like my own, this translates into tremendous challenges and tremendous potential. For all of the strengths that Canada’s burgeoning tech scene has — from great universities to growing investment and thriving regional hubs — senior sales talent is not one of them. According to a 2016 survey by Wilfrid Laurier University’s Lazaridis Institute, seven out of ten high-growth tech companies here struggle to obtain executive-level sales and marketing talent. A 2018 Randstad report shows that sales rep is the second most in-demand job in Canada, with extreme demand for B2B reps.
Nor is this just a Canadian problem. Worldwide, sales talent — from entry-level to senior-executive — ranks among the top three hardest skills to find, according to Manpower’s latest Talent Shortage Survey.
To me, this represents a classic bad news-good news situation. The bad news is that there’s a huge, unfilled demand for sales talent among Canadian tech companies. Hamstrung by a deficit of sales leadership — experienced people who have guided large teams at fast-growing startups — companies are forced to recruit from abroad, relocate or (worst-case scenario) sell to buyers in other places better equipped to scale their vision.
But the good news is also that there’s a huge, unfilled demand for sales talent among Canadian tech companies. These are high-growth, well-paying jobs in a sector that’s only poised to expand — and you don’t need an engineering degree to apply. It’s no exaggeration to say that for a generation of ambitious Canadians — fed up with gig work and facing downsizing from AI and automation — these could literally represent some of the jobs of the future.
But first, we need to find a way to connect the right candidates with the right roles.
Read the rest of Ryan’s piece.