Recruitment consultants believe the next 12 months will be a tough time for the mobile industry. Sales teams and growth areas like b2b are expected to struggle to find enough suitable candidates for an increasing number of vacancies, while it is thought that distributors will continue to only recruit when employees leave.
Kevin Treanor of Treanor Associates spoke to Mobile for our ‘Predictions of 2008’ feature. He said:
‘There’s far less recruitment in distribution than there used to be, it’s purely a replenishment market, replacing people when they move on. There are people who are identifying what the dealer base needs, they’re having to look at how they address the needs of the specialist dealer; they are finding that training is important, so there could be an interest in trainers. Good quality business sellers, those with the ability to open doors and get appointments are probably the ones in greatest demand.
‘I don’t see the ending of final salary pension schemes changing. And more and more candidates seem happy to take a car allowance than a company car. Share schemes will continue. It’s a good way of tying people in, it becomes a bit of a golden handcuff.
‘I think the one thing that has happened over the last couple of years is there’s been some realisation in the market. Four or five years ago salaries were unrealistic compared to other sectors. In sales I think there may be a move away from the trend of lower basics to higher basics, but lower total packages.’
Neil Bignall of Banana Recruitment disagreed with the suggestion that basic pay would increase. He said:
‘Why would a company increase its fixed cost? Retail is always in the spotlight on pay and employs approximately 25,000 people. If the market increased pay by £1k per annum, that would increase pay roll by £2.5m. In distribution we are seeing packages of less than they were a couple of years ago in field positions.
‘We believe base pay will be static and probably in line with inflation, however in the sales arena earning opportunity should increase as convergence grows and more product offerings are on offer, for example, broadband. This will be earned in commission and be performance related.
‘Commission opportunity, working environment and other benefits are key factors. One of our major clients gives its employees a day off for their birthday - what a fantastic gesture. Candidates value this type of thought.
‘In terms of areas in the industry that are struggling to find suitable candidates, across the country it would be retail and call centre as these represent the highest headcount and the highest churn. The b2b sector is struggling to find “suitable” candidates as the expectations are very high and companies look for candidates to pay for themselves straight away. Each week we have two or three new start up b2bs looking for new people but we are now turning down more than we take on because they are unlikely to be here for very long.‘Retail will by far be the most active part of the industry in terms of recruitment. Every new store that opens in the specialist market creates six to eight positions of full-time and part-time, for every 10-15 stores that open a new “area” is born, and for every new four or five areas a “division” is born and so on.’