Ben Duncombe

Analysis of the ANZ Salesforce market in Q3 2023

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Welcome back to Talent Hub Talk. Today I wanted to provide a quick review of the ANZ Salesforce market for Q3 2023. So if you’ve heard my previous quarter reviews, you’ll know what to expect here. 


Looking at hiring trends, over the last quarter, we have seen a continuation in companies preferring to make permanent hires rather than to hire contractors. We’ve also seen several companies looking to convert existing contractors to permanent positions. In some cases, this has been a move that contractors have welcomed, favouring the perceived security of permanent roles over the higher earning power of contract. It’ll be interesting to see what happens for the remainder of this year if we start to see more contract roles coming back to market. But right now, there definitely has been and is a preference for hiring permanent members of staff. And offering that security, maybe less of an outlay in terms of salary compared to rate, but companies have been preferring bringing people onto their payroll. 


Where has the demand been? So for permanent roles we’ve seen some of the partners being more active this quarter compared to previous quarters, and although still not to the levels we have seen in recent years, there’s definitely been more activity in the partner space than we’ve seen more recently. We’ve not seen as many requirements coming out of the big global SIs, the big global system integrators, but have seen some good levels of hiring activity from small and mid-tier Salesforce partners, which is great to see. Great to see some of the smaller partners, some of the mid-tier partners growing still, and we’ve had some really enjoyable experiences hiring for Salesforce partners over the last quarter. We’ve seen some good hiring activity with some of the banks and as well as pockets of hiring from other private sector end user companies. Typically these hires have been to supplement existing teams or to replace team members that may be leaving businesses rather than being driven by new projects specifically. So it’s not necessarily a case of we’re seeing a huge amount of new projects come to market but where we have seen hiring activity it’s you know for some extra workload with BAU, small enhancements, things like that, or to replace team members that might be leaving and going elsewhere. Where we have seen some contract hires, it’s mainly been in the government space, as well as Salesforce professional services themselves, hiring subcontractors. They often do this via partners or through the broader market. When they do hire via partners, sometimes those partners go out and hire contractors themselves, or like I said, Salesforce Professional Services go to market and hire contractors themselves. So government and Salesforce Professional Services is where we’ve seen a fair bit of activity for contractors over the last quarter or so. I know there has also been quite a bit of activity in the federal government space and I’m noticing more and more candidates popping up with baseline security clearance, which often means they’ve recently been engaged on a federal government project. When these projects really get going, they tend to suck up a lot of resources from the market and I have seen a number of the larger SIs that have had some team members on these projects. So I think that’s a really interesting space. Typically they do look for Australian citizens from my knowledge to go through that security clearance. So that’s a really good thing for people that are Australian citizens and potentially would want to go through that baseline security clearance process because once you have that, that can mean opportunities do open up for you. And the more and more resources that get sucked into these projects will obviously impact the broader market and will impact the availability of talent. So definitely an interesting one to watch because we are seeing more and more opportunity or more and more demand in that federal government space. 


Redundancies. So although there have been some redundancies this quarter that I’m aware of, I can’t remember hearing of too many. I am aware of some people being let go by a global SI. But whereas in previous quarters when I’ve discussed redundancies, I’ve had several companies in mind when discussing them. But this time around, I don’t remember hearing of too many this quarter, which is great. There are some people out there that have been affected and obviously we want to help those people as quickly as possible to find new roles. But the fact that I can’t remember as many this quarter is hopefully a sign that things are improving and hopefully there’ll be more positive quarters ahead when it comes to redundancies. And obviously people in the past that have been made redundant, we have seen lots of them go on to secure new roles again, which is great to see. Not everyone has, unfortunately, but hopefully a new opportunity is just around the corner for anyone that has been affected by redundancy over the last year or so. 


Remote working. So I feel most companies are looking for some sort of office presence, on average two to three days per week now. We did recently see a company in Brisbane who were looking for a Salesforce developer to be in the office five days a week. And it was no surprise to me that they really struggled to fill this role for a number of months. Most candidates are still preferring flexibility and definitely a preference for choice. So a choice of whether or not they go to the office or work from home. I think that is important though a lot of people do prefer to have the ability to go to an office rather than have to be fully remote. Whether that’s a choice they take up or not, it’s definitely something I’m seeing people prefer. And there are still some 100% remote roles out there, but I definitely, and I think this will stay, I think there will be companies out there that do continue to hire 100% remote, but it’s definitely not the norm now. I would say the norm is to have some sort of presence in the office, whether that’s two, three times a week, or I’ve seen one company hiring five times per fortnight. So mixing it up a bit, but definitely a preference for people that can get to an office as and when required. 


Salaries and rates – there hasn’t been too much change in terms of salaries and rates over the last quarter. We have seen some contractors dropping their rates or at least being more willing to negotiate to some degree. And if we look back over the last couple of years, people were definitely pushing their rates up or being quite firm on their expectation, whereas that has changed a little bit in some cases. Salaries have remained fairly flat. We aren’t necessarily seeing massive increases. We have seen people moving for the same money. We have seen people in some cases taking pay cuts on what they were previously earning to secure new roles. So definitely aren’t seeing a spike in salaries at all. They’ve been fairly consistent, fairly flat for the last year now. And we still see the odd person that’s expecting something that’s way above what they’re earning now and sometimes way above what the market’s paying but we’re not seeing as much of that as to what we saw over the last couple of years or the last year prior to the last. Now I’m getting a lot of questions around our salary survey and it will be out soon I promise. It’s been a major job. What we were looking to do with the salary survey is present some really insightful data and accurate data around what people are actually earning now and what they’re looking for when they next leave. Salary kind of market salary guides in my opinion aren’t truly that valuable because they’re based on opinion and they’re often written by a recruiter who drops down some notes around conversations they’ve had with people. You know, they’re not too data driven. They’re more kind of just looking at conversations trying to gauge what their feel is on what the average salary is in the market. And that’s really difficult to do because obviously there’s so many different variations. You can speak to a Developer working for a government agency and then compare them to a financial services agency and they can have the same amount of experience in terms of years, but the variation in pay can be so broad. So what we’re looking to do is find out the average salary, look at different industries that pay more or less, look at actually how people identify in terms of level of seniority because I’m not a fan of pigeonholing people based purely on years of experience. So we’re looking to actually see “well, what does a Senior Developer actually look like on average in terms of both years of experience certifications”, things like that. So hopefully this will be really valuable when it hits the market and it will be out soon I promise and hopefully you’ll find some real value in that. 


The hard to fill roles this quarter. I would say this quarter the most challenging roles to fill for me have actually been Salesforce Administrator roles. And specifically where there is an expectation that candidates will have strong flow experience. Flows aren’t going anywhere, but it’s very challenging to find candidates who have good experience in this space and people that follow best practice. The real unicorn candidate right now seems to be an admin that is adept with flows but also very comfortable in front of the business. So if you have experience in one of those areas but not the other, like you’re a good communicator but you’re not too technical in terms of building flows, or you have good flow experience but you’re not great in front of the business in terms of comfort level, communication style, those soft skills, then if you can work on the area that you don’t necessarily have the most experience in, then you’re really setting yourself up for success because there are very few people out there that tick both boxes. And I’ve seen a number of Salesforce Administrator roles being open long term just because the expectation from the client is high and unfortunately there just aren’t many people in the market that tick both boxes. Historically Developers have been hard to attract and secure, the Developer market has been crazy over the last few years and it’s been the market that I would say companies have really struggled the most in terms of attracting just because of the volume of Developer roles has been higher than Architect roles as well, which are obviously very hard to fill themselves. But we saw a huge spike in Developer requirements through the COVID years. But right now, we have been able to turn Developer roles around quite quickly. And over the last quarter, we are seeing some really strong Developers still on the market. So there’s been a bit of a shift in this space. And, you know, people, some will find roles very, very quickly. We’ve placed some really good Developers over the last three months, but there are still some really good Developers out in the market. So if you’re a hiring manager listening to this and you think you need a Developer in your team, then now is a good time to be hiring in this space. I also know clients that have been really struggling to attract some specialized Marketing Cloud skills, especially at the Architect level. So I know this has been an area that historically is hard to source candidates in, but right now it seems to be especially difficult to find senior level Marketing Cloud resources. Although I haven’t seen as much demand in this area as I had to kind of mention there may be in previous reviews or previews, I know we’re still very short across the market for Salesforce industry skills. So definitely an area that I feel if there was an uptick in requirements, we would struggle to fill with the current kind of candidate pool that exists. And I think it’s going to be an area that companies really need to upskill team members in because right now the experience just isn’t just around sat on the market. And I think that’s an area that, you know, consulting partners will be looking to upskill their employees in and really start to get some expertise across the board in Salesforce industries. 


Obviously, there were a number of announcements at Dreamforce this quarter as well, I’m not going to go into those because there’s already plenty of content out there around that, but things like obviously AI and data and there are areas that are going to kind of continue to grow and emerge in the market and right now I think the candidate pools in those areas are going to be very, very thin. So if you can identify ways to upskill and learn in those areas, then hopefully as the market evolves and we see the fallout of what comes from the period after Dreamforce, then hopefully you’ll be positioning yourself well for future demand in those areas. 


So overall it’s been a pretty positive quarter, I would say. We’ve seen more activity in terms of hiring, although a lot of that hiring has been in the permanent space. We are seeing some contract requirements. We’re still seeing companies that have been quite flexible with where they hire people, although obviously often looking for people to come to the office, and it’s not. In most cases, it’s not a hard and fast rule around being in the office full-time, which I don’t think will happen anytime soon, and I hope never happens again for most companies. There is opportunity out there for people, and there definitely are still several areas where talent is very hard to find. I guess my message to anyone listening to this is looking to hire. I really think being strategic with the way you approach the market is really important right now. just putting an advert on seek is going to definitely fill you with a lot of applicants but in my experience not necessarily the applicants that you’re looking for. You might get 100 responses to an advert and maybe two or three of those candidates may be suitable and but by the time you’ve gone through all of them and the good candidates may have secured other roles and if you are a candidate out there looking for work and struggling right now There is opportunity, I think not in all skill sets right now, the demand isn’t huge across the board, but there are opportunities out there. And I think it’s really important to understand where your gaps are, where you can upskill, where you can get ahead of the curve and look at things that are coming through potentially from Dreamforce announcements or just where there are gaps in the market like that Admin with flow and great communication skills. You know, what can you do to position yourself for the requirements that are out there and make yourself the strongest candidate possible for any role that you apply for. So hopefully we’re gonna see some continued activity, more demand coming through over the next couple of months. Definitely seeing the positive side of the market right now and hopefully that will continue. 


Always around for a chat if anyone wants to reach out and discuss the market or their career or. hiring trends or hiring needs. I’d love to hear from anyone that has any questions!



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