There’s no doubt that the Salesforce job market is changing. Faced with socio-economic challenges such as the pandemic and its aftermath, as well as financial insecurity and the threat of recession, the availability and variety of jobs has seen a monumental shift. Layoffs have come in the thousands. Experienced professionals have been pushed out of their line of work. Every day, hundreds of thousands of Salesforce job applications are sent off – many to no avail.
It might seem like a scary situation, especially if you’re stuck in it, feeling its effects. However, learning to navigate this new job environment will be your greatest skill, and once you understand where you stand within it, you can start on your path of moving forward.
More Supply, Less Demand
When it comes to the Salesforce job market, it’s important to assess the entire situation. According to the 2023 Salesforce Talent Ecosystem Report, global supply rose by 28% this year, “rebounding from a flat growth in 2022”. More and more professionals are choosing to enter the ecosystem, and normally that would be a good thing… right?
However, it’s important to note that although supply grew by 28%, there was also a significant drop of 46% in demand across the industry. For the first time in many years, Salesforce supply outweighs the demand.
On one hand, it’s great to see that despite an array of challenges, people are still entering the ecosystem. And they’re getting certified too! 2023 saw over a 100% increase in certified professionals, from just over 82,000 to nearly 173,000. Salesforce’s well-marketed, easy-to-learn approach to getting certified is evidently paying off, but it now poses a question: what do you do with all these certified people? We’ll get back to this later.
The Biggest Roles
Although there has been a notable drop in overall Salesforce demand, some roles have definitely felt this more than others. The Salesforce Administrator role has actually returned to a healthy growth rate of 28% YoY. Interestingly, the Salesforce Developer role exceeds that with the highest supply growth across established markets, at 31% YoY.
On the other side, Salesforce Business Analyst supply growth was the lowest among all roles this year at 18% YoY. This may come as a surprise to some as in 2022, the business analyst role was the highest growing at 31% YoY.
Despite this, the pressure on the ground is being felt by many, in a number of different roles. An undeniable sense of competition is prevalent amongst applicants – especially entry-level applicants. It doesn’t diminish the positive data, but signifies that there are much larger issues at play.
The Job Hunt
“If you are trying to break in and aren’t ready to spend 6+ months searching for a job after getting certified, Salesforce isn’t the path for you.”– Reddit User
There are so many exasperated comments on a Reddit thread dedicated to finding a job as an entry-level Salesforce Admin.
“Not gonna lie to you, it’s tough out here. I’m still looking for my first admin role for almost a year now, doing all of the same things you’ve done and I probably put in 5x or more applications than you have.” Another comment. But isn’t the demand for Salesforce Admins experiencing a healthy growth?
The number of hopeless and disheartened professionals trying to break into the Salesforce ecosystem is astounding. They have amassed in droves on online forums, LinkedIn, and beyond, expressing how they’ve submitted hundreds of applications, obtained the certifications, and have tirelessly worked on their CVs. All thinking the same thing: what am I doing wrong?
Unfortunately, it isn’t just entry-level applicants facing challenges; existing professionals are coming across their own problems. Darrell Gallegos, USMC Veteran and seasoned Salesforce Architect, has been trying to find the right job after his contract ended in January 2023. Since then, he has struggled to find jobs with matching salaries, or anything that comes close. With seven years of Salesforce experience and one year of Vetforce training under his belt, he’s found it difficult to find the right kind of pay for his experience as more and more companies tighten their budgets.
It becomes even more confusing when you look at the disparity in entry-level salaries and more senior salaries. There appears to be confusion surrounding what skilled employees are worth, and when companies do not pay their employees what they are worth, it can have a cascading effect on their ability to attract, engage, and retain talent.
It can also give entry-level applicants an inflated perception of what is and isn’t widely available in the industry. Although a job advert may offer a high salary and be listed as entry-level, you might often find yourself out of your depth once the company begins asking for ‘hidden requirements’ like specializations and transferable soft skills. Without them, you run the risk of failing to stand out amongst all the other applicants.
It’s also important not to forget about all the laid off workers from the beginning of this year. As we know, Salesforce laid off 10% of the workforce in January, which means that entry-level applicants are now likely competing with these experienced professionals too.
Not only that, but as more jobs become remote, you’re no longer only competing with applicants in your local area. Remote positions allow employers to be choosier about who they employ, because the range of their talent they can sift through is much larger.
This confusion over salaries and expectations is causing problems on either side of the ecosystem, and a financial squeeze is just the tip of the iceberg.
Something’s Changed, But What?
Alongside this, the technology industry (and therefore the Salesforce ecosystem) has grown in extraordinary ways. Bolstered by the boom of generative AI, Salesforce professionals have a lot more expected of them – a whole new skill set.
AI is fairly new though, so it’s not easy to tell how it will impact the job market just yet. But Salesforce is still so much more complicated than it was five or ten years ago. Cheri Julian, the Director of Very Serious Consulting, says that jobs now definitely require more, and that learning only Salesforce products “isn’t enough anymore”.
We are now dealing with complex orgs in technical debt, and knowing the basics is only the beginning. Specializations in certain areas of Salesforce used to be something that was simply nice to have, but now specializations in products such as CPQ, Marketing Cloud, or any of the Industry Clouds have become silent requirements. It’s not just product specializations either – knowing your way around challenging elements such as Flow or Apex is now standard. Basic knowledge of the platform is just the foundation needed to harness a job – “wearing multiple hats” forms the rest of those requirements.
It’s safe to say that expectations have changed. Cheri looks back to 10 years ago when Salesforce was still something that people were slowly learning, and something that companies were gradually getting used to. Thanks to the introduction of Trailhead in 2014 and other online resources, Salesforce has become easier and more accessible to learn, which has opened the door to many more potential professionals.
Now, the CRM market as a whole has developed, and all the companies that need Salesforce workers aren’t learning it anymore, so they need Salesforce workers that have a mature org, wherein some are integrated to other systems. They want professionals who can hit the ground running.
So with a whole new set of requirements and an increased influx of professionals, it definitely sounds like a competitive nightmare. Expectations have changed, but how well is that known?
It’s All in the Marketing
It’s no secret that entering the tech industry in any capacity can be fairly difficult, as it requires a specific set of skills and experiences with different software, use cases, and scenarios. However, you’ll find that what drew a lot of people to Salesforce is their message of how easy it is to learn Salesforce.
Salesforce proudly coins their main learning platform Trailhead as something accessible for everyone, to ensure a wide scope of inclusivity in the job market. In fact, one of the main taglines on the main Trailhead page is “whatever your background or interests, there’s a path for you”.
Inclusivity in the job market is a great thing to strive for, but it also runs the risk of quickly saturating the market. After all, if anybody can learn Salesforce for free and on a gamified platform designed to encourage quick learning, you’re eventually left with a large number of skilled-up professionals, which is great – if you have jobs waiting for them after they’re done.
As we’ve learnt, you need a lot more than basic Trailhead training to secure a job now, but surely this is something everyone knows… right? Well, not quite.
Lisa Bailey, a newbie Trailblazer, laughed when I asked her what skills she thinks are needed to secure a Salesforce job nowadays. “If I knew the answer to this, I’d be a millionaire billionaire.”
She explained how during her job hunt, she’d been noticing jobs that were labeled as entry-level, but in fact required two to four years of experience and a bunch of extra product knowledge. Like many others, the application process often felt disheartening, but also unclear, and she was left feeling lost and confused at almost every turn.
Evidently, marketing has a bigger effect than Salesforce may have realized. Branded as this ultra-inclusive job scene, it stings just that little bit more as many are now facing the exact opposite of this promised situation. In the words of Sohail Sikora, the CEO of December Technologies and Salesforce CTA: “Although Salesforce and the ecosystem markets itself as a big family anyone can join, it isn’t quite like that anymore.”
Bring on the Bootcamp
If you’re new to the ecosystem or have begun researching the best ways on how to get in, you’re probably familiar with Salesforce “bootcamps”. These are particular training packages (normally carried out online), designed to help break people into the Salesforce ecosystem and acquire a job. You’re normally learning alongside other people, and the training criteria will vary according to the specific aims of the bootcamp.
Salesforce have their own Trailblazer Virtual Bootcamp, which is aimed at helping individuals ‘get the fundamental knowledge and expert-led guidance you need to build Salesforce skills, fast’. Alongside this, other third-party companies have their own bootcamps available with similar goals. They’re a good way to learn Salesforce and stay motivated with continual support throughout your journey.
However, before you sign up to one of these, you’d probably want to know what they could do for you and how successful they could be. If you’re just looking to learn new skills, then you’ll probably have a good idea of what you could achieve by looking through the bootcamp outline, but if you’re a newbie to the world of Salesforce, you might want some solid data.
You’ll probably see bootcamps that promote training for six months and then landing a $100k job soon after and that might seem very exciting – especially if you’re looking for a new industry to break into. With this thought in mind, and as long as the cost of these bootcamps doesn’t hinder you, you could make your way through one, learn new skills, and eventually even come out with a job. Win-win.
But what if you don’t? What if you invested all that money and time, and you struggle to find a job?
These scenarios are very real, and different Salesforce professionals are experiencing both sides of this coin. If you end up landing a job, of course it would seem natural to credit the bootcamp that helped you for your success. If you don’t, it can be easy to blame the bootcamp and claim it isn’t helpful or relevant.
Much like the wider ecosystem, seeing past the marketing is key here. When it comes down to it, these bootcamps need to advertise appropriately in order to get applicants, and that does involve spotlighting best-case scenarios. As Lisa Bailey says, it’s important not to get too caught up in that, and be realistic about both what you can do, and what you can take away from the program. “[Don’t think] this bootcamp is going to land me a job – that’s not how it is.”
Of course, some bootcamps will promise you’ll be in with a pretty good chance of coming out with a job, and you have every right to believe that – especially if you pay for it. However, a lot of the time, you get what you put in, and prioritizing your own personal development outside of the bootcamp will be something that could make the difference between simply learning, and advancing. Bootcamps aren’t a yellow brick road to a Salesforce job, even if they seem to be; but they could be a good place to start.
So Do I Bother With Salesforce or Not?
After reading about the state of the market and the kinds of struggles that people are going through in the ecosystem, it can be easy to feel overwhelmed and want to ditch Salesforce for good. However, despite the challenges, you might be surprised to hear that Salesforce is still worth learning.
According to SF Ben’s very own Ben McCarthy, it’s important to be realistic about the state of the ecosystem, but also to know there’s still potential for growth. “Is Salesforce saturated? At the moment, probably, however that does not mean you should stop learning Salesforce,” he said. “If you have decent foundational knowledge of Salesforce, and you are the kind of candidate that is easy to work with and eager to progress your career; companies love to hire these kinds of candidates and will easily give them a chance in the right circumstances.”
J. Alexander Blackwood, a seasoned Salesforce Technical Architect, shares Ben’s thoughts. “If you’re considering a career in Salesforce, now is a great time to dive in. Just know that it is not an easy walk the way some folks might try to convince you. The job market is strong, the compensation is competitive, and the community is welcoming,” he said. “No bootcamp or practice project is going to give you the necessary experience. With the right skills and experience, you can build a rewarding and fulfilling career in this exciting and ever-growing industry.”
If you acknowledge the current state of the ecosystem and also plan your steps forward in the Salesforce world of work, then Salesforce will absolutely be a worthwhile industry to be in. If you’re a beginner, here’s what experts recommend:
- Find your niche: If you’re looking to try for a role in the Salesforce ecosystem, help yourself stand out with a niche, such as CPQ, alongside admin or developer skills. Or, if you’re super new to the ecosystem, try drawing on previous experience. If you worked in a call center, you could focus on Service Cloud as you likely already understand the needs of people using a customer support system.
- Develop your soft skills: Knowing your stuff on the technical side is obviously useful, but you won’t make it very far without soft skills like good communication, business analysis, and problem-solving.
- Make sure your skills are transferable: You’re going to become a lot more valuable as an employee if you’re able to demonstrate transferable skills that can be used across a selection of products or even different softwares.
- Understand data: Data is at the heart of Salesforce, and making sure you can accurately interpret data and use your data to your advantage in your job is key.
- Get stuck into AI: There’s no doubt that AI is a big part of Salesforce’s future, so developing your AI skills will provide you with a sought-after skillset, especially as Salesforce roles develop.
- Get a mentor: A Salesforce mentor will help guide you through your Salesforce learning journey, and can provide you with personal support and advice if you’re struggling.
- Don’t give up, but be realistic: Things are tough at the moment – that goes without saying. However, the more you understand what you can bring to the table and where you fit into the market, the better off you’ll be. Set boundaries for yourself. Knowing your tolerances will be key to avoiding burn out.
If you’ve been in the ecosystem for a number of years and are feeling stuck, don’t worry! The future isn’t dim for you either. Most of these points can be applied to your own career, but one of the most important things is continuing to advocate yourself and what you’re worth.
The ecosystem is in need of workers with specialized skills and experience, even if it may not seem like it sometimes. Advocating for your worth is crucial for employees because it ensures fair compensation, recognition of their skills, and job satisfaction. It helps maintain motivation, financial security, and a sense of value within the organization.
Ultimately, the ecosystem is still growing, and much faster than Salesforce itself – for every $1 Salesforce makes, the ecosystem makes $6. This means a plethora of job opportunities in SIs and ISVs, which is great for the influx of new professionals. In fact, according to IDC, Salesforce’s ecosystem of partners is on track to grow to nearly six times the size of Salesforce itself by 2026. This equates to 9.3 million new jobs.
“Whilst it’s hardest to land a job now, it might not be in the next one/two years and [Salesforce] will need a pool of talent to hire out of as soon as others become more senior. This cyclical nature is typical, and the economy will bounce back.”– Ben McCarthy, Founder of Salesforce Ben
So, now to answer the main question: is the Salesforce job market saturated?
According to the data and everybody that we’ve spoken to in the ecosystem, the answer is yes. Salesforce talent supply greatly outweighs the demand, and there has been an influx of certified professionals eager for jobs. Unfortunately, job expectations have also changed, meaning that this influx of new professionals are left confused as to why they’re not being hired, and competing with seasoned professionals to step, and remain, on the ladder.
There’s no doubt that Salesforce’s steadfast mission of inclusivity has provided itself and the market with a myriad of opportunities, but it unfortunately has led to saturation. However, this will not last forever. As the market continues to develop and change and people become more aware of this, we could see a far brighter future. Only time will tell when.