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4 signs Salesforce skills demand outpaces talent pool

Survey points to four reasons the demand and salaries for Salesforce admins, developers and other professionals is high, but talent pool can't meet it.

The Salesforce universe keeps expanding, further propelling a demand for qualified professionals who understand its technical underpinnings and customer-facing services.

In fact, those with a deep technical grasp of Salesforce can pretty much "write their own ticket" when searching for an employer or seeking clients who use Salesforce products, according to 10K Advisors, a consultancy in Louisville, Ky., focusing solely on Salesforce. In its recent study of the cloud computing giant's admin and developer ecosystem that included certified and noncertified professionals, 10K Advisors found the Salesforce skills demand outpaces the number of available workers, leaving Salesforce customers scrambling for help.

IDC analysts estimated Salesforce's professional network will create more than 3 million jobs and generate more than $859 billion in new business revenues by 2022, but 10K Advisors went a step further to study what this growth means for those who make a living off Salesforce and the many companies that need help using the company's offerings.

From an innovation standpoint, Salesforce isn't slowing down, 10K Advisors CEO Nick Hamm said. "And that won't slow down the need for talent."

Reviewing more than 104,000 data points on sources such as LinkedIn, Glassdoor, Indeed, ZipRecruiter, PayScale, Salesforce AppExchange and Salesforce Trailhead -- as well as citing several other published studies -- 10K Advisors offered four key findings in its report.

1. Salesforce skills demand high

Workers with Salesforce developer skills and Salesforce architect skills will be able to work where they want and for high pay, the report said.

With Salesforce exploring the potential of AI, as well as adding new features to its products, 10K Advisors expects the high demand for jobs in the company's ecosystem to continue for several years. In particular, workers with Salesforce developer skills and Salesforce architect skills will be able to work where they want and for high pay, the report said.

For example, 10K Advisors found that people who claim to have an architect certification from Salesforce make up only 1.7% of the Salesforce-related profiles on LinkedIn. In emerging markets key to Salesforce's growth, they make up only 0.8% of the relevant profiles, the report said. According to Salesforce, the market for these skills has grown annually by 41% over the past four years. This means architects, who already fetch salaries higher than $150,000 in some markets, can all but name their price.

2. Few women in Salesforce architect roles

Women with certain Salesforce skills might fare better than those in other professions. According to a 10K Advisors analysis of LinkedIn profiles in North America, the gender breakdown of those in a Salesforce administrator position is, on average, 48% female and 52% male. In contrast, the Department of Labor reported that women hold 35.7% of computer systems analysts jobs in the U.S., while men hold 64.3% of those jobs.

But the Salesforce ecosystem is not immune to the gender gap seen in technical job markets. 10K Advisors said that 91% of Salesforce technical architect jobs, which are the highest paying of all Salesforce certified positions, are filled by males. Meanwhile, 80% of developers, the second-highest paying position, are male.

3. Plethora of open Salesforce developer positions

The low supply and high Salesforce skills demand among workers will be a challenge for Salesforce customers. 10K Advisors pointed to developer jobs in North America, where openings outpace available talent by a more than a 4-to-1 ratio. But that's not even the biggest disparity noted in the report: There are 10 job listings for every self-identified technical Salesforce architect.

For businesses using Salesforce technology, the struggle to find workers with the necessary skills could put Salesforce initiatives at risk. "Without the appropriate knowledge and guidance, Salesforce programs are more likely to accumulate technical debt, require future rework and never realize their full potential," the report said.

"It's not good to have that imbalance," Hamm said. "But Salesforce recognizes that."

Hamm said Salesforce is addressing the gap through Trailhead, its free education and training website for Salesforce career growth. Trailhead users numbered more than 1 million as of September 2018. This offering is different from Salesforce certification, an annual fee-based testing process. Several recent studies showed that, once professionals obtain a certification of expertise in at least one of eight technical and product categories to boost career growth, they're all but guaranteed to earn higher pay. It's not yet known whether companies will continue to prefer certified workers over those trained in Trailhead or if the talent shortage will lead them to hire more Trailhead graduates.

10K Advisors tweet on tech jobs and Salesforce growth

4. Salesforce freelancers becoming a go-to resource

In the meantime, companies don't necessarily have to turn to large consultancies to meet the Salesforce skills demand. The gig economy is providing skilled Salesforce freelancers who don't require full-time benefits and only charge half or two-thirds of what a Salesforce consulting partner charges, 10K Advisors said. Still, companies should proceed with caution when testing the freelance waters. While many freelancers are skilled, experienced workers, others are not as skilled and are unproven.

And perhaps in a nod to its own services, 10K Advisors also reviewed the benefits of hiring talent brokers. These middlemen connect companies of all sizes to a vetted roster of freelancers, in addition to providing project management and other services typically offered by consultancies. No matter which approach companies take, the 10K Advisors report emphasized that companies need to understand the Salesforce skill demand is high, and talent isn't growing on trees. So, they must plan accordingly.

This was last published in November 2018

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