Salesforce Happiness Survey 2020 Results: Are Trailblazers Happy?

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The Salesforce ecosystem is unique – an industry where professionals play business-critical roles in their organisations and are empowered to upskill with free resources, like Trailhead. Most importantly, an inclusive, supportive community surrounds these ‘Trailblazers’, promoting well-being from all sides. This all stems from the company that has been named one of the best places to work for a decade.

Beyond the glowing headlines, have these values trickled down to all parts of the ecosystem?


We were curious to find out the attitudes towards well-being, and if happiness and other measures correlate to salary, responsibilities, and stressors among Salesforce professionals. We called upon the community to share their thoughts and observations as part of the annual Ecosystem Salary Survey.

How happy are you at work? Who is suffering from burnout? Are you satisfied with your career progression, and challenged enough in your role? We will share the answers to these questions, and more.

How happy are you at work?

A big question but a good place to set the scene.

Happiness is hard to quantify because it is relative to an individual’s experience, overall, and how they feel at that given moment. Nevertheless (up to the challenge) we categorised happiness into the following statements:

  • On-top-of-world happy
  • Generally happy
  • Neither happy nor unhappy
  • Somewhat unhappy
  • Unhappy (largely unsatisfied and frequently anxious)

What did we find? The good news is that the majority of Salesforce professionals sit on the happier side, with almost two-thirds (63%) telling us they are ‘generally happy’. When comparing the two extremes of the scale, the happiest people outweighed the most unhappy.

However, with 30% of respondents feeling unhappy, it does raise some questions: why are Salesforce professionals unhappy? Is it due to their job – or other external forces?

Which Salesforce role is the happiest?

We were able to dig deeper to find out which Salesforce roles were the happiest, and which are unhappy. The results need some explaining, though.

Occupying the extremes of the happiness scale ‘on-top-of-world happy’ and ‘Unhappy’ are the sales-related roles. They were twice as likely to be ‘on-top-of-world happy’ as any other role, but least likely to be ‘happy’. They Were by far the most unhappy cohort (9% of respondents) – the unhappiness rate among the other roles was 2% on average!

Taking sales-related roles out of the picture, we see much less variation. Consultants and developers are happier than admins and architects; admins are unhappy relative to consultants, architects, and developers.

The conclusion? Developers seem to be the happiest (and least unhappy) role out of them all!

Do you have a work-life balance?

Common knowledge is that working long hours is the fastest path to burnout, however, studies have shown that it’s not just the intensity of the work you’re doing, but the length of time you’re engaged in it – in other words, a lack of ‘downtime’ is a sure route with burnout as your destination!

We measured ‘downtime’ from work with the following definitions:

  • I do nothing but work and sleep
  • Once a week I catch up with friends/family or engage in a hobby
  • At least 2-3 times a week I catch up with friends/family or engage in a hobby
  • At least 4-5 times a week I catch up with friends/family or engage in a hobby
  • More than 5 times a week I catch up with friends/family or engage in a hobby

One survey recommends we get 4-5 hours of downtime every day, and found that: “people getting home after 6pm made them twice as likely to feel unhappy than arriving by 5pm.” (source: Ladders)

Another survey recommends “7 hours of downtime for the perfect work/life balance.” However in reality we normally get 4 hours and 14 minutes due to work and home life pressures. (source: Huffington Post)

What did we find? Worryingly, 8% of Salesforce professionals claim: “I do nothing but work and sleep”. Assuming that respondents weren’t trying to show bravado, this is an unsustainable way of working.

The overall work-life balance is…well, off-balance. The majority of professionals engage in a hobby or catch-up with friends and family less than 3 times a week, which suggests that work is encroaching on their lives.

Are you suffering from burnout?

“Burnout is defined by exhaustion, cynicism, and inefficacy, or the stress that’s generated being in a constant state of busyness, feeling that no amount of effort is ever good enough.”

We heard about burnout earlier in the year from Paul Ginsberg, who has been on a mission to speak out about this phenomenon in high-intensity tech industries. Salesforce is no exception:

“While Salesforce, as a community, promotes well-being and a healthy work life balance, we are still working in a projects-based world, where deadlines, stress and overtime is sometimes part of the job”

– Paul Ginsberg, Are You Heading Towards Burnout? Advice From the Salesforce Ohana.

We asked respondents:
“Have you ever experienced burnout in your current role?”

What did we find? The call-out statistic: 60% of Salesforce professionals admit experiencing burnout, with 37% saying burnout was not a one-time suffering.

Which Salesforce role is the most burnt out?

Again, when we dived deeper into the burnout findings by role, we were surprised.

There was a distinct split between roles that have experienced burnout frequently versus those claiming to experience it on one occasion.

If you had to place your bets on which is the most burnout role which would you choose: admins, architects, consultants, developers, or those in sales?

My guess would be consultants and sales professionals. If you thought the same, you would be wrong too.

The roles experiencing burnout more than once are architects, admins and consultants (39%, 38%, 38% respectively), whereas developers and sales are much lower (26% and 22%).

When it comes to identifying one particular occasion of burnout, the tables turn. Sales professionals and developers recognise that one-time burnout (35% and 31%), versus other roles (where the average is 21%).

Who doesn’t experience burnout will equally surprise you. More consultants and sales professionals said they haven’t experienced burnout versus admins, architects, and developers.

It does make you wonder why admins feel so burnt out, where some professionals are attracted to these roles because they are characteristically less stressful. Maybe there is something I don’t know!

Relationship with Technology

Following on smoothly from the topic of burnout, we then asked Salesforce professionals about their relationship with technology.

Our relationship with devices and apps we use has escalated into full-on dependency – at least for some professionals.

The beauty of working in a cloud-based industry like Salesforce is that you can work from anywhere; however, this can quite easily back-fire if you live in an ‘always-on’ mode, leaving you feeling inclined to respond to work comms instantly, even outside of work hours.

What did we find? The responses paint a shocking picture of technology dependency in the ecosystem, with more than a quarter of Salesforce professionals confessing they have an ‘always on’ relationship with technology (27%). Add in those that ‘somewhat agree’ with the statement, and we hit 70%!

It’s no surprise that burnout affects a significant portion of the ecosystem. I am no psychologist, but I would confidently draw a link between technology dependency and burnout.

Are you taking time away from your work?

The next survey question asked:

“Can you take time off without being disturbed or causing business disruption?”

These results were more positive, with 68% saying they can take time off without impacting the business negatively.

However, we can’t ignore that 18% feel their job an inescapable obligation.

When asked for the reasons behind their lack of vacationing, the top three answers circled around workload – too much work, the fear of catching up, and other’s dependency on them.

Career progression

One of the things that makes the Salesforce ecosystem unique is how individuals are empowered to upskill with free resources (like Trailhead) and a supportive community of like-minded ‘Trailblazers’.

Compare this to other, more traditional software industries that keep their training programs closed-off, or simply convoluted – and you will see that Salesforce has ‘levelled the playing field’ for those starting out with a career in Salesforce, no matter their background or available resources.

We predicted that the majority of Salesforce professionals are satisfied with their career progression. We asked the following question to check our assumptions:

Are you happy with your career progression?

Again, a more positive outlook, with three-quarters (76%) saying they are content with their career progression. Looking at these results, it seems Salesforce is a fulfilling career choice!

Aside from an individual’s own motivation, it seems that employers have an active role in encouraging career development. This circles back to the point I raised previously about Salesforce holding a business-critical status for many organizations, and increasingly employers are valuing the people behind the CRM. Reasons respondents gave to support this:

  • “My manager supports and encourages my education and development”
  • “I’ve been able to progress at regular intervals to get a higher level of responsibility and pay”

We will expand on the topic of career progression and share more reasons behind the numbers in a future post.

Does career satisfaction grow as you get promoted?

Yes, the proportion of satisfied professionals does increase in line with seniority, but not by a huge margin!

It’s great to report that a Salesforce career can offer the upward momentum that keeps Trailblazers satisfied.

Do you feel that your skills match your role and current responsibilities?

As we know, simply moving up the ‘career ladder’ is not the only factor that leads to a fulfilling career.

I outlined the Competency/Responsibilities gap in a previous article. We could plot the relationship between the two in a graph like this:

Do you feel that your skills match your role and current responsibilities?

We asked respondents the above question and which statements they matched closest. Here is how seniority influenced the results:

“I feel out of my depth”
Between 3-5% of the respondents agreed with the statement, with little variation by seniority.

“I’m challenged to excel”
41% of ‘experienced level’ (entry/mid-level) respondents agree, whereas this tails off at management level, to almost half the number feeling positively challenged.

“My skills match my role”
The majority of respondents chose this option. Those in the ‘experienced level’ were less likely to chose this option, instead opting for the option above, being challenged in a new, dynamic career path.

“I am bored and unengaged”
Again, there’s little variation between seniority levels, but we could conclude that
Senior-level professionals are in the sweet spot.

Is employee well-being a priority for organizations?

At first glance, well-being does seem to be promoted in the wider Salesforce community.

We have to remember that although Salesforce (the organisation) has been named one of the best places to work for over a decade, this positive ethos cannot spread to all corners of the Trailblazer Community. The community is made up of employees from consulting partners, ISV AppExchange vendors, end-user organisations (customers of Salesforce), and of course, many self-employed individuals – all governed by forces beyond the boundaries of the Salesforce ecosystem.


This has been a taster of what we found when we asked the Trailblazer community how they feel about their well-being. We were curious if happiness and other measures correlate to salary, responsibilities, and stressors among Salesforce professionals.

Discover these findings, and more, by getting your copy of the annual Ecosystem Salary Survey.

So, how happy are you at work? Do you agree with our findings? Are you passionate about one or more of these topics? Let us know!

2 thoughts on “Salesforce Happiness Survey 2020 Results: Are Trailblazers Happy?

  1. Congratulations for this article.

    2 points :
    1) a similar survey at corporate level about Sf partner / Salesforce relationship might be of high interest.

    2) Too bad this surveys does not ask for Salesforce specific issues but could be a General IT survey.
    For instance, questions like : “Are you specifically proud of deploying Salesforce products and do you feel like “salesforce specific values” (trust, etc.) are matching with your day-to-day feelings of your work”.

  2. Interesting findings! I am a Trailblazer from the #GhanaOhana and generally happy but not too Happy! I am learning to cope though.

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