Career / Admins

The End of an Era for “Easy” Salesforce Jobs?

By Ben McCarthy

There has been a message perpetuated in the ecosystem that landing a Salesforce role is easy; just get your admin cert and the doors will open! This notion has been spread by Salesforce through their Trailblazer movement, community leaders, MVPs, and yes, even by yours truly! 

In reality, whilst this ‘message’ was somewhat true for many years, Salesforce was a relatively unknown career option, with surging demand and a trickling talent pool of supply. Today’s status quo couldn’t be more different. In fact, an increasingly complex platform combined with an oversaturation of talent is a signal that the age of “easy Salesforce careers” could be over. 

I landed my first Salesforce Admin role at a 120-user org using Sales and Service Cloud. I had three months of experience on the Salesforce platform as part of a graduate training program I had just completed, and had recently landed my Salesforce Admin certification. At the time, I was paid £30,000. 

I was nervous on my first day of work – I felt severely underqualified and had been thrust into this professional role where I was responsible for an entire org. However, I had just passed my Salesforce Admin cert which gave me the confidence that I should know what I was doing.

I was mainly required to work out of a ticketing system, fielding questions and requests from users, and making sure the general health of the system was optimal. I would occasionally engage with stakeholders from across the business to tackle more complex issues, such as solutioning and building a new business process on Salesforce. Using my limited knowledge and building directly in production, I got by using Page Layouts, Record Types, Custom Objects, Workflow Rules & Reports & Dashboards to field requirements from the business.

Since I landed that job in early 2013, the landscape of Salesforce, its products, and the overall ecosystem have changed so much. Salesforce’s plan for their customers has always been to drive massive digital transformation. Workflow rules, some custom fields, and a page layout isn’t enough to achieve this. Customers need integration, they need marketing automation, specialist products such as Field Service Lighting or CPQ, and deployment processes such as DevOps. In other words, they need complexity

What Has Led to This Point?

The last thing I want to do is diminish the accomplishments of anyone who has landed a Salesforce role in recent years by passing an admin certification and perhaps working on a portfolio to showcase their experience. However, it’s kind of too good to be true, isn’t it? Revise for a few months and then land a $70K job in which you can climb rapidly after just a few years? It’s often the case that if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. However, in the Salesforce ecosystem, this wasn’t true for many years.

As a company, Salesforce is unique in that it has grown from $2B in revenue in 2012 (when I started my career) to over $30B in 2023, whilst also managing to stay relatively under the radar as a viable career choice. As you can see from the growth in the keyword “Salesforce Admin Jobs” (via Google Trends), the search term has recently hit an all-time high, although has been slowly building over many years.

Salesforce announced the launch of Trailhead at Dreamforce ‘14, which kickstarted the Trailblazer movement and made Salesforce education accessible to anyone, regardless of background and education level. Noble mission aside, I think it’s safe to say that the Salesforce ecosystem needed talent more than ever at that time, and Trailhead was that answer. 

From 2014 onwards, you can see a measurable impact in the search for “Salesforce Admin Jobs”; Trailhead is, and continues to be, a huge driving force in democratizing technology education. 

Peak Salesforce Job Inflation

To many candidates and recruiters that I speak to, they regard 2021/2022 as the year that the Salesforce job market really peaked. The COVID-19 pandemic drove a wave of digital transformation projects, and as the world opened back up, technology projects were the highest priority projects for businesses. 

Luckily for many candidates waiting on the sidelines (having skilling up on Trailhead and landed their admin certification), this surge in demand drove a hiring spree. It was also a time when companies were willing to pay whatever it took to secure candidates. I heard a few stories about large consultancies paying packages worth £100,000+ to candidates with two years of experience or less. Whilst this must have been amazing for the candidates and I applaud them for securing the job, these kinds of salaries just aren’t sustainable.

The years of peak Salesforce job inflation also gave rise to Salesforce Bootcamps – essentially, training programs that cost thousands of dollars, seducing participants with the allure of a six-figure salary in tech and a tempting shortcut with their program. These types of programs rely on creating the impression that it’s easy to land a tech job. 

Interest Rates, Layoffs, and Slowing Growth

I won’t spend too much time dwelling on the global economy, as we don’t need a reminder of everything that’s happened during the past couple of years. To summarize, it’s been the first major rough patch for the technology industry since the dot-com era.

COVID-19 proved to the world that it was technology’s ‘way or the highway’, and if you hadn’t started your digital transformation, you’d better get on with it! So, the tech companies doubled down; they hired like crazy, VC money went into overdrive, and everyone thought this boom would carry on forever.

The reality, however, was very different. War broke out, inflation rose, interest rates were hiked, and growth slowed right down. For the first time in nearly a decade, Salesforce’s growth slowed from 20-35% each quarter, down to nearly single digits. This led to layoffs and a tightening of budgets across the board. TechCrunch and totaled 262,000 layoffs in the technology industry across 2023, with 2024 not kicking off much better.

As mentioned in the article above, these layoffs have directly impacted the Salesforce ecosystem, with Salesforce laying off 7,000 in 2023, and a slew of layoffs from AppExchange companies and consultancies that are continuing even now.

Unfortunately, end users have been affected too. One Salesforce Admin I spoke with in the US had just started his Salesforce career at a large software company when the budget cuts came into effect. Another Salesforce Product Manager with nearly a decade of experience was laid off along with two of her direct reports, leaving just one admin to run a highly complex Salesforce org. 

A golden hoodie recipient with five years’ experience also got in touch with me to say that his search for a new job has been a struggle. 

“I’ve been actively applying for a job since October 2023. I’ve sent off about 50 job applications, had 20 interviews, and 3 job offers, but it’s been very difficult to negotiate a good salary and benefits package compared to 2021/22.”

For the first time, possibly ever, Salesforce roles are being hit, and they are being hit hard.

Hunting for a Salesforce Role in 2024

If the golden years of the Salesforce job market boom are over, what is the reality of searching for a job in 2024? There are a few factors at play here that will make 2024, and possibly beyond, a little tricky. 

Firstly, we have the global economy, and budget restrictions on companies that hold the purse strings for these roles. Whilst everyone is feeling more positive at the start of 2024, this is yet to translate into actual growth.

Secondly, layoffs and saturation at an entry level have created an unprecedented amount of talent in the Salesforce ecosystem. 10K, a Salesforce advisory company reported that whilst demand was down by 46% in 2023, the supply of Salesforce professionals grew by 28%. This is why, when applying to many Salesforce roles, you will often be competing against hundreds of other candidates. In the words of Max Goodger, Recruitment Consultant at Investigo “When you have a huge injection of people entering the ecosystem, but the amount of opportunities halve, it makes for a hyper-competitive marketplace.”

Thirdly, and possibly most importantly, customer demands and expectations have shifted. This is a combination of the two factors above, as well as the increasing complexity of the Salesforce platform. 

Customers no longer want, or need, a Ben McCarthy-style admin from 2013 (who might have landed a £50-60K job in the boom era of 2022); they need a multi-cloud admin who is a wizard using Flow, has integration experience, and preferably marketing automation and CPQ experience. And when customers are spoiled for choice with hundreds of applicants applying for the same role with varying breadths of experience, they will make sure they get the best bang for their buck, especially in this age of belt-tightening.

Even a Salesforce Certified Technical Architect reached out to me to explain that it’s been frustratingly hard to find a role that matched her salary expectations, citing an increase in offshoring, tightening of budgets, and a lack of projects. 

“I just didn’t see this coming, I’ve never seen the Salesforce job market like this in all my years of contracting, even going back to 2009.”

Another factor that is restricting candidates’ choice of roles is the fact that remote roles are harder and harder to come by. Whilst Salesforce was one of the first enterprise businesses to announce they would be fully remote after COVID-19 struck, they have since had a change of heart, amongst many other businesses. Salesforce now ensures that employees are  in the office for at least a few days a week. 

Ivan, an 11-year Salesforce ecosystem veteran, has seen the same trend in the Czech Republic for Salesforce consultancies: “Whilst the market has shrunk quite significantly with budget restrictions, buyers have become much more educated, and they want resources who are based in the local market, with specific expectations regarding experience. If you don’t specialize, you’re out of the game.” Ivan’s wife also had experience trying to get into the Salesforce market through a Salesforce-sponsored training program, but had to pivot to an adjacent IT market due to a lack of demand. 

However, it’s clear that your job search will depend on your experience and specialisms. The Salesforce Admin who was laid off from a large software company has just over a year of experience in total, but has struggled to land a job in over four months, despite many interviews where the number of applicants are in the hundreds. However, the Salesforce PM with nearly a decade of experience had relatively little stress in landing that next role. 

Overall, the market has changed both dramatically and rapidly in the past couple of years, and it’s hard to see a fast path back to prosperity. 

“Candidates’ experience hasn’t evolved at the same rate that client expectations has.” Max Goodger

What Does the Future Hold? 

Having promoting a career in Salesforce to my blog followers, friends, family, and girlfriend, I fear the glory days of landing a relatively easy Salesforce role are over. 

The narrative that there is huge demand and not enough supply, as well as the idea that anyone with an admin cert will get hired, just isn’t true anymore. As Salesforce (and many other technology companies) pivots from a grow-at-all-costs mentality to a focus on profitability, we may not see the hyper-competitive Salesforce job market level out with a large swing in growth anytime soon. 

It’s important to remember that the growth of Salesforce is made up of multiple products. Some of these products will grow at faster rates than others, and it’s the older, core products such as Sales and Service Cloud that are lagging behind that of Tableau, MuleSoft, and Data Cloud. 

This chart above further supports the recent argument that the only surefire way to stand out against the overcrowding in the Salesforce ecosystem is to specialize, either through products that are typically less accessible and harder to learn, or through industry knowledge.

For example, in a recent LinkedIn discussion, I asked my network what the hot topics in the industry are right now. The usual suspects popped up in the form of Revenue Cloud and CPQ, Marketing Cloud, Field Service Lightning, and MuleSoft. 

One individual did point out that he is still getting multiple jobs sent to his inbox each week which doesn’t signal a change in demand. However, he has over 10 years of experience on the Salesforce platform, supporting the notion that if you are experienced and/or specialized, your job search will be much easier. 

Matt Hafford, a specialist Salesforce recruiter and business owner focusing on niche markets, tells me that candidates who are experienced in products such as Revenue Cloud or MuleSoft probably have a 0% unemployment rate, simply due to the demand and the lack of skilled candidates in the market. 

“Whilst there was a significant drop in demand for Salesforce professionals in 2023, the general feeling is that we are on the brink of something. Since the beginning of the year, RFPs for MuleSoft, Commerce Cloud, Data Cloud, and CLM projects have increased, but it’s a little early to judge if that will translate into customer spend or whether it’s just enthusiasm to turn the tide.” – Matt Hafford

The generalists versus specialists argument is something that continues to develop both in the Salesforce ecosystem and in separate markets.

Andrew Rieser, CEO of Mountain Point, a Gold Salesforce Partner, goes on to say in his article: “As the ecosystem becomes oversaturated, generalist offerings begin to feel commoditized, losing their edge in a sea of similar solutions.” This could apply to candidates, consultancies, and AppExchange apps. 

We’re seeing similar trends happening in the media space; whilst generalist publications such as Sports Illustrated, Vice, and BuzzFeed are on the decline, niche/specialist online publications are thriving. 

Sam Joyce, CEO and Founder of Mint Consulting (founded just a few months ago in the UK), had the following to say:

“In nearly 11 years in this ecosystem, I’ve seen the projects grow in scope and complexity. I think this is largely driven by the fact that the Salesforce product suite has grown so significantly. As a business, we focus on HiTech and the Telco industries, ensuring our customers are receiving standardized and best practice solutions on the Salesforce platform. This makes us very relevant for the clients that we pitch to, and really helps us deliver successful outcomes for the businesses we work with, which is our No.1 goal at Mint.” – Sam Joyce

Strategizing Your Career in 2024

Some may accuse me of “gatekeeping” with this article – that is, protecting the ecosystem from new entrants to keep salaries and demand high, but that couldn’t be further from the truth; I’ve been a huge advocate for new entrants to the ecosystem for years. 

However, whilst it would be pretty easy to continue doing so, the mood has changed, and I feel that the content I produce needs to reflect this to better prepare people for the reality of the job market – or at least to make people question the current narrative by looking at the facts. 

So, if you are holding out for that elusive first role in the Salesforce ecosystem and have been trying for months (or maybe even years) to no avail, it may be time to switch tact. 

This may come in the form of applying to different types of roles, for example, switching from Salesforce Admin to Sales/RevOps, Business Analyst, or Customer Success roles at ISVs. 

It may also come in the form of switching to an adjacent technology. Salesforce isn’t the only technology around – there are plenty of declarative platforms out there that don’t require coding skills such as ZenDesk, HubSpot, Microsoft Dynamics, and Tableau. If you’ve built up core foundational knowledge about CRM and Business Processes working in a Salesforce role, much of this will be transferable to a – potentially – less saturated industry. 

Does your previous industry experience mean that you could look to specialize in a particular vertical, such as the nonprofit or financial services worlds? Could you even look to gain CRM experience in your current role, before going out to the Salesforce market to switch roles?

“Candidates need to focus on, not what companies can offer them, but what they can offer the company.”

As Jeff Sample, Founder and CEO of Clicked, a well respected Salesforce training partner goes on to say:

“Entry-level candidates are getting frustrated when they can’t even get a response to job applications. But, they’re competing with hundreds (sometimes thousands) of other candidates for these roles. It’s important to ask yourself ‘why do you think you are the best candidate for this role?’ when applying. Prior knowledge in an industry, a specific specialization, or with the change in attitudes towards remote work, a physical location, on top of a surplus of continued learning are all key differentiators in standing out among the crowd.”

As Max Goodger puts it: “Candidates should emphasize the measurable business outcomes they have delivered, as it allows a business to not only ascertain your suitability for a role, but the impact you will have as a solution for the ongoing challenges they are facing.”

Or, based on the current saturation of the Salesforce market and the uncertainty of when things are going to bounce back, do you give yourself a break and free up your evenings and weekends to focus on something other than tech when the market is rife with layoffs?

Final Thoughts

I’ve written this article and spent time speaking to people in the Salesforce community to try and understand the reality of the ecosystem job market at the moment. 

Many content creators in the ecosystem continue to push the narrative that it’s easy to get a Salesforce role – simply get certified, volunteer a little, and the jobs will come. Whilst it’s great fun creating this type of content, and there’s a feel good factor in knowing that you are trying to help others, I don’t think it reflects what most people are seeing on the ground. 

It’s hard to know what the future holds for the Salesforce ecosystem job market, especially those who are just starting out in their careers. Could we see another boom market with artificial intelligence being the catalyst? Or will AI create even deeper specializations within the Salesforce market that make returning to the generalist days impossible?

If you have any questions after reading this article or simply want some advice, we’ve set up a new inbox to answer your questions and offer unbiased advice: 

The Author

Ben McCarthy

Ben is the Founder of Salesforce Ben. He also works as a Non-Exec Director & Advisor for various companies within the Salesforce Ecosystem.


    February 27, 2024 2:01 pm
    "training programs that cost thousands of dollars, seducing participants with the allure of a six-figure salary in tech and a tempting shortcut with their program. These types of programs rely on creating the impression that it’s easy to land a tech job. " When there's more jobs in training & recruitment, then in actually doing the work, that's called a MLM pyramid scam. Recall that in "Behind the Cloud" Benioff admits that he needs a large number of people sell the software or sell the training, so he required all staff to be certified in selling these products. Instead we need to learn how to sell our selves.
    February 27, 2024 10:22 pm
    pretty much yeah. The rep that you got if your company gets sales for us is literally just a sales person like they don't know anything about how to use the platform at all and getting someone that helps you with technical things is sometimes pretty hard like they don't really there's not very many of them. they're insanely overworked and The company puts a lot of barriers in between you and them and those barriers are third parties that have programs that cost like $10,000 where they'll teach you something. benioff basically got a bunch of capital. he bought a bunch of companies like a little ones and then a mask them into exodia. but what he's reliant on is the community writing things for the app marketplace to fill the gaps in between those apps that he bought because they don't always play very well together (which did not work out and they are realizing that because they're now just doing it themselves, or trying). I have asked several technical support questions that literally there is no solution to or they don't know that it's happening. Even if someone has been there for a long time which is rare, most of them are new nowadays, their experience doesn't serve them because there's always been new software being added which they then have to learn and they never fill in their knowledge. gaps about what's wrong with the old software and they don't have time to actually solve those issues and integrate the old software. a good example of this is maps, which was another app called map anything. it seems like all of Salesforce was going to pivot into this XYZ-anything at one point and then something went wrong. I think it was AI and when they decided that they needed to focus on Einstein instead.
    February 27, 2024 10:14 pm
    I started this job with no experience and we use consumer goods and sales and maps. I just think that certification is basically for show. maybe you have to get it to get a first job or something. But the people interviewing for this type of job Don't use CRM currently most likely and they don't know what they're talking about so you just have to like show then things that you set up and Salesforce and you don't need to do the certification to do that. just go in. set up a couple of the apps for a mock org, and get a sense of how convoluted certain things are to do, ie how much of it is redundant because they just mashed a bunch of apps together and hoped that the community would work that out in the out marketplace for them. Knowing Apex, I always have a feeling like I should know it and then I realized that usually there's a built-in way to achieve. essentially the exact same thing I would do. and the only difference is that Apex pages can visually be more customizable. But if somebody is trying to integrate another service with it, that's not what the admin does anyway. we're getting a database software in a warehouse management system and people from those companies already have worked with all the CRMs before and they set that up as part of the service automatically. so at this point Apex knowledge has been outsourced to India and it's become basically incomprehensible to try to learn it because there's no good resources for it. support will say it's much more complicated to do than it is and it's not. it's just JavaScript. it's of course as tedious as possible because It has to integrate with all these apps that they bought and obviously the apps don't like to play with each other. so yeah don't do a cert. spend like 2 weeks making an org, install some free packages and give licenses to fake users for those packages. Make the interface look nicer. Read up on the capabilities of the overall platform, and be very sure that whoever's interviewing you understands that when Salesforce says AI, that's the marketing version of AI and it's not an AI. it's an internal Wikipedia and a scientific calculator that you can talk to in English. the platform overall can basically can do anything because it's designed to be able to do everything. which means it's very good at nothing but it's decent and capable of doing anything.
    March 02, 2024 6:42 pm
    Hello. Thank you for your article. But you focused only on admin/consultant roles. What about market for Salesforce developers? Thanks in advance

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