Following a lull in hiring last year, recruitment activity for sales and marketing talent has picked up significantly in recent months. This is in line with rising business sentiment among local businesses and a continued downtrend of seasonally adjusted unemployment figures, which are spurring a gradual recovery of the labour market.
“Companies that adopted a ‘wait-and-see’ approach last year when the pandemic hit are now realising that they cannot afford to put off hiring any longer. With growth the key objective for businesses as we exit the pandemic, there is now an urgency to replace the headcounts that were lost to redundancies and hiring freezes,” says Kirsty Hulston, Regional Director at Hays Singapore.
This surge in demand for sales and marketing talent has been observed in the key growth sectors of Technology, FinTech, E-Commerce, and FMCG (fast-moving consumer goods). The fintech sector especially has seen an influx of investments over recent years in the cryptocurrency and digital payments segments. Companies in these sectors are expanding their marketing teams, doubling, or even tripling previous teams of two to three in order to hire for more specific functions.
“Generalist marketing roles are becoming a thing of the past,” notes Kirsty. “Now, companies are setting up larger marketing departments with different teams for functions like channel marketing, data marketing, community management, among others.” However, the demand is quickly outstripping the available candidate pool. “Top candidates would have secured a job offer earlier this year. Companies that have just decided to hire or which are just starting the process will need to be more competitive and decisive in order to find and attract candidates.” It is common for candidates to receive multiple comparable offers, says Kirsty.
This is especially true of marketing candidates. Digital marketers for instance could see a 15-20 per cent uplift in salary. The same goes for marketers with specialist skills in areas like SEO, e-commerce marketing, growth marketing and performance marketing.
Communications roles have also been increasing in number over the last few months.
Kirsty explains, “Communications roles were previously less of a priority for companies, but they’re becoming more important as businesses realise how critical the role is for employee engagement, crisis management, and executive communication.”
In the sales sector, there has also been a noticeable rise in demand for roles that revolve around relationship building, such as business development and key account managers. As companies focus more on delivering a 360-customer experience, some have been redesigning their revenue models to merge their sales, marketing, and service functions. As a result, combined roles like Digital Sales and Marketing Director will probably be highly sought after in the near future.
To stand out, both marketing and sales candidates will need specialised skillsets – in niche marketing areas or deep product or segment knowledge. Having a wide network of contacts would also be an advantage for sales candidates. At more senior positions, being able to plan and lead a team of separate functional specialists and leverage digital capabilities as part of a business plan is vital.
As for soft skills, Kirsty concludes, “Businesses are generally looking for resilience and an agile mindset, as well as digital adaptability.”
Hays projects hiring to continue increasing in the next six to twelve months. Given the fierce competition for strong candidates, businesses are advised to forecast their hiring pipeline early and to focus on building brand reputation to get ahead of other companies. At the same time, Kirsty also urges hiring managers and HR managers to adjust talent strategies to shifting candidate priorities. Learning and development opportunities, mentorship programmes, and work-life balance are some of the top considerations.
“In our new world of work, flexibility is no longer just a trendy buzzword but a fundamental part of a company’s strategy to attract, motivate, and retain skilled employees. By adapting your talent strategies to candidates’ new expectations, your business will be better prepared to meet current needs and seize future opportunities.”
Below is an overview of talent trends observed in Singapore’s Sales and Marketing sector:
  • Demand for sales and marketing talent has seen a spike and is projected to continue rising in the next six to twelve months. However, there is a limited supply of qualified candidates to meet this demand.
  • In the marketing sector, roles are becoming more specialised. Candidates with specialist skills like digital marketing, SEO, and e-commerce marketing are highly sought after and can expect a significant salary uplift.
  • In the sales sector, relationship building roles like business development and key account managers are in high demand. Aside from requisite product and segment knowledge, digital skills and adaptability will help candidates stand out.
  • Competition for talent is fierce. Businesses are advised to start hiring early and be attuned to candidates’ expectations and priorities in order to better attract and retain talent. 
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About Hays Singapore

Hays Specialist Recruitment Pte Ltd, Singapore ("Hays Singapore") is one of Singapore's leading recruitment companies in recruiting qualified, professional and skilled people across a wide range of industries and professions.

Hays has been in Singapore for over a decade and boasts a track record of success and growth. We operate across the private and public sector, dealing in permanenttemporary and contracting positions in more than 15 different specialisms, including Accountancy & Finance, Banking & Financial Services, Digital Technology, Engineering, Finance Technology, Human Resources, Information Technology, Legal, Life Sciences, Marketing & Digital, Office Professionals, Procurement, Supply Chain and Sales. Hays Singapore was named the “Best Small Workplace” in Singapore in 2019 and 2018, and was ranked fourth “Best Multinational Workplace” in Asia 2020 by Great Place to Work®.

About Hays 
Hays plc (the "Group") is a leading global professional recruiting group. The Group is the expert at recruiting qualified, professional and skilled people worldwide, being the market leader in the UK and Australia and one of the market leaders in Continental Europe, Latin America and Asia. The Group operates across the private and public sectors, dealing in permanent positions, contract roles and temporary assignments. As at 30 June 2021 the Group employed c.10,800 staff operating from 256 offices in 33 countries across 20 specialisms. For the year ended 30 June 2021:
– the Group reported net fees of £918.1 million and operating profit of £95.1 million;
– the Group placed around 60,000 candidates into permanent jobs and around 220,000 people into temporary roles;
– 17% of Group net fees were generated in Australia & New Zealand, 27% in Germany, 22% in United Kingdom & Ireland and 34% in Rest of World (RoW);
– the temporary placement business represented 61% of net fees and the permanent placement business represented 39% of net fees;
– Technology is the Group’s largest specialism, with 26% of net fees, while Accountancy & Finance (14%) and Construction & Property (12%), are the next largest
– Hays operates in the following countries: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Hungary, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, UAE, the UK and the USA