Engineering companies are struggling to find sales and marketing staff with adequate technical knowledge, according to recruitment specialist Jonathan Lee.
`People are less willing to move, because employers are offering them more to stay,’ said John Spinks, a consultant at the company. `The result is that a lot of the available people are only mediocre in terms of their ability and experience.’
Sales engineers with the right experience have seen pay rises of up to 10% over the past 18 months. Most are engineers by training, attracted by salaries ranging from £20,000 to £35,000 – higher than comparable engineering salaries.
The shortage of skilled sales staff is hitting smaller companies harder, according to Spinks. `Companies with a turnover of less than £8m tend to be the most inflexible because they need new staff who can hit the ground running. But the larger ones, such as tier-one and tier-two automotive suppliers, can afford to spend time training new workers.’
Spinks also warned that companies would lose customers if they failed to invest in quality sales staff.