NHS 2016: Innovation and the Basics of Supply and Demand
Last week, members of the Schaffer Associates team traveled to Las Vegas to join more than 20,000 industry leaders and product exhibitors at the National Hardware Show (NHS). The Show was well-attended and showcased the momentum in our industry and the ingenuity behind new products. Every year at NHS, emerging trends on display allow us to keep our finger on the pulse of the industry. This year showed us very clearly that smart technology, multi-generational housing concepts, and Made In The USA products are trending upward. Shifts in design, paint, and lighting techniques were also a hot topic on the Show floor.
Beyond the new products and trends of the industry, our team heard one clear and consistent message from Show attendees: companies are hiring – particularly in Sales – at all levels. At almost every booth we visited, industry leaders were excited about the growth of their organization and their need for rapid expansion. But the lack of talented, available, and experienced individuals is becoming more and more pronounced as companies seek to take advantage of a resurgent industry.
There are generational reasons that are contributing to the shortage of qualified and available labor in the current market. For instance, baby boomers tend to be “locked in place” at this point in their lives, most likely due to their desire to remain close to their families. And millennials, contrary to popular belief, are hesitant to relocate. Also, a large portion of the sales force left the industry during the recession to enter other industries (such as pharmaceuticals) and have yet to return. Companies tended to “empty their benches” during the recession and are only now beginning to rebuild in a serious way. Consequently, companies are in major need of talented individuals in sales positions at all levels.
Because demand for these individuals is very high while supply is incredibly low, the competition for talent is on! In this full employment economy, companies need to be competitive in what they offer; they must think through a variety of factors when pursuing a candidate, including compensation, benefits, relocation help, etc. Companies should assume that whomever they are pursuing is being similarly pursued by other organizations. They should consider that an individual’s current employer will certainly not give that person up without a fight! As such, hiring companies should be prepared to negotiate counter-offers from a candidate’s current employer and do what it takes to be competitive in this market.
For many organizations in our industry today, including several who connected with our team at the Show, remaining successful in the hyper-competitive market that exists for talented sales workers requires partnering with an executive search firm who knows the industry and knows the process. That’s why NHS was so successful for our Schaffer Associates team: companies know they can count on our industry experts to help them HIRE SMART. We can do the same for you…call us today!
Schaffer Associates is an executive search firm specializing in talent acquisition for the hardware, home improvement, building materials, and consumer products industries. As premier executive recruiters with expert focus on your industry, we help you HIRE SMART. Contact us today for help with your officer-level or mid-management level search.