- Salespeople more focused on salaries and benefits than any other profession, with 68% saying this is a top consideration when moving jobs
- Despite lower average salaries, sales professionals value monetary rewards more highly than those working in the lucrative financial services sector
- Workers in sales also place more importance on opportunities for career progression than the typical UK employee
- But salespeople disregard “fluffier” aspects of the workplace – including CSR & workplace diversity
Sales professionals value a high salary more than other professions
Sales people are more single-minded when it comes to achieving their goals than any other profession, according to research conducted by specialist recruiter Randstad Sales, Marketing and Retail.
In a survey of 10,728 working Brits – including 630 sales professionals – conducted as part of the annual Randstad Award, almost seven in ten sales professionals (68.5%) say that it is important that the company they work for offers competitive salaries and employee benefits; placing this in their top five factors when deciding on job roles. This is more than any other profession across the country, and a higher proportion than finance workers (68.2%), business consultants (64.4%) and legal professionals (61.2%).
Table 1: "It is important that the company I work for offers competitive salary and employee benefit” – Proportion of respondents
With the average salary for sales professionals standing at £31,339 in the UK, sales workers earn more the typical UK employee (average salary of £28,186 across all industries). But counterintuitively, the sales profession is attracting more single-minded and financially-motivated workers than financial services, where the typical salary is currently 21% higher, at £37,866.
Across all UK workers as a whole, salaries and employee benefits are in the top five job considerations for 62.5% of employees.
Ruth Jacobs, managing director of Randstad Sales, Marketing and Retail, commented: “Sales people know what they want, and they aren’t afraid to pursue it. Financial considerations such as salaries and other monetary employee benefits always play a crucial part in career decisions, but for those working in sales, these cash rewards override all other considerations by a significant margin.
“It’s not the most highly paid profession across the UK – and you’d be forgiven for thinking that traditionally lucrative sectors such as financial services and banking would attract the most money-minded individuals. But sales is storming ahead as the preserve of the most ambitious and financially-motivated candidates.
“You can see why – as the economic recovery continues to look skyward, there are currently more than 230,000 vacancies for sales jobs in the UK . With such a red-hot jobs market, more and more candidates are turning their hands to sales as a way to earn the big bucks, and aspiring sales people can afford to stick to their market value and hold out for the salary they feel they deserve. It’s a target-driven industry, which attracts personalities who thrive on results and the subsequent rewards. Employers looking for the best sales employees need to be willing to put their money where their mouth is – salespeople are not going to be waylaid or tempted by perks that don’t benefit their bottom line.”
Looking beyond the short term
But this doesn’t mean the focus of sales professionals is concentrated purely on their immediate rewards. Salespeople are also among the most preoccupied with career progression and the potential for longer-term rewards.
Opportunities for career progression are a top factor for more than two-fifths (42%) of sales people – considerably above the UK average of 36%. Only workers in professional services rank higher on this score, with 44% of those polled placing this in their top five job considerations.
Similarly, international and global career opportunities are also ranked extremely highly in the sales profession – with 13.8% of workers in this sector rating this as a decisive factor in choosing future employment, compared to an average across all UK industries of just 10.8%.
Table 2: Proportion of employees ranking these factors as important in their company
Ruth Jacobs, commented: “Just because sales professionals stick to their guns and don’t let their judgement be swayed by other aspects of a role, this doesn’t meant to say they are short-termist in their outlook. Sales specialist keep a careful eye on the end prize too, and are motivated by the longer-term progression up through a company – and the pay scale. They realise more than most that secondment opportunities, and a clear promotional trajectory ultimately equates to a higher pay packet.”
Sales workers overlook the softer factors
In their strict focus on achieving their desired monetary rewards, sales professionals are willing to overlook many softer aspects of a job – including company values and ethos, corporate social responsibility, workplace diversity and training opportunities.
Less than one in ten (8.2%) sales workers believe that is important to work for a company which promotes diversity in the workplace, less than any other business function across the whole of the UK. In contrast, the average across the country is 12.0%, and nearly double the proportion of Human Resources workers state that this is a key factor in a job (at 16%).
Overall, sales professionals place least importance on working for an organisation that is concerned with the environment and society (CSR), with only 7% of workers in this industry listing it as important in their job decisions. On average, 10.6% of UK employees say this is a critical factor to them.
Not only are sales professionals less concerned about the values and the ethos of the organisation they work for, but they are also least swayed by aspects of a job that don’t have a bearing on financial goals.
For instance, sales professionals place less importance than the typical UK employee on good training, with only a quarter (25.5%) of sales workers polled saying this is a top five-factor in choosing a job. Sales professionals also show below-average consideration of long-term job security, interesting job content, flexible working and convenient commute.
Table: Proportion of employees ranking these factors as important in their company
Ruth Jacobs concluded: “Sales professionals are led by their head and not their hearts. When it comes to making important job decisions, they don’t let secondary factors cloud their vision – if the price is right, it’s the job for them.
“This bold, single-minded approach makes them easily the most focused workforce in the UK. But salary and the right working environment shouldn’t be mutually exclusive. This narrow focus on hard rewards ignores other important attributes of a career – and happiness in the workplace and job fulfilment certainly doesn’t come simply from achieving your financial goals.
“In the current jobs climate, there is plenty of scope for sales professionals to reap the monetary rewards they want, while also taking things like company atmosphere, job content and proximity to home into account. A worrying proportion of sales professionals are willing to overlook training opportunities, and long-term job security when considering their next career move – which is also counter-productive when it comes to financial security and progression.”