London’s sales recruitment market has undergone significant changes in the past 5 years. With London’s growth as an international tech hub, both employers and candidates alike have been flooding the market. They are looking for sales recruiters who can help them capitalise on an uptick in demand; demand for rapid revenue growth and demand for employers who treat their sales teams as a source of competitive advantage. In this article we list 5 London sales recruiting trends and corresponding insights that both hiring managers and sales job seekers can leverage.

3 Sales Recruiting Trends in London:

1. Record Growth in Venture Capital Investment Leads to Growth in IT Sales Recruitment

Since the days when “Silicon Roundabout” was a self-deprecating joke among tech founders entrepreneurs, London’s tech scene has undergone a major transformation. According to the Financial Times, the UK has now created more unicorns, those tech companies valued at more than $1bn, than any other country, besides the US and China.

This rapid growth stems from deep pocketed investment firms that are capitalizing on a city with one of the deepest talent pools and networks in the world. According to global research firm, JLL, London has the highest concentration of talent in the world – stemming from its world-class universities and highly educated workforce. Nearly 59% of Londoners have a tertiary education, compared to the global average of just 34%. And thanks to massive investment in research and development over the past 5 years, more than 15% of London’s workforce is employed in the high-tech sector. This has translated into one of the hottest sales job markets on the planet – with employers in a race to outhire and outrecruit the competition.

2. Skyrocketing Demand for Sales Jobs & Reps

Since March of 2015, unemployment in the city and the United Kingdom has been plummeting.  Rates have fallen from an average of over 6% in 2015, down to 3% by the end of 2019. This has fuelled a surge in hiring requirements from growth focused scale-ups looking to stock their sales teams with fresh and proven talent.

Using Peak’s data from more than 2500 UK firms, sales development reps topped the list of most actively recruited positions in 2019 at 50%, followed by account executives (30%), and customer success managers (25%). Demand for these roles can be directly attributed to SaaS sales organizational design and the need for a robust outbound sales force and customer retention team. Growth in the senior director and VP level sales positions was also seen from 2015-2019 as start-ups matured and investors demanded larger revenues and streams. It wasn’t just employers who were flooding the market with job opportunities though.

Applications to Peak’s portal for sales jobs in London grew by more than 15%, with 7/10 applicants indicating that they were actively employed and “passively exploring sales opportunities”. Applicants were from a variety of industries, with the largest being Software & Services (65%), Telecommunications (20%), Industrial (15%), followed by Other (5%). The majority of applicants held positions at companies with <500 employees (75%), with the majority Headquartered in the United Kingdom.


3. Companies are Recruiting for Sales DNA

The growth of tech companies hiring larger segments of junior sales employees has changed the mix of desired candidate selling skills, experience, and DNA. Hiring managers have prioritized educational background – with more than 50% indicating they look for candidates coming from either Oxford University, the University of Cambridge, the Imperial College of London, UCL, and the London School of Economics and Political Science. Hiring managers have deprioritized industry experience, and instead given favour to the sales DNA possessed by applicants.

Sales DNA are innate traits possessed by great salespeople. It includes ambition, competitiveness, sense of urgency, confidence, perseverance, optimism, resilience, and the ability and desire to influence others. They are what allow top salespeople to make good judgements, create good luck for themselves and capitalize on opportunities that average salespeople miss. And they are what employers are looking more closely for when interviewing and assessing candidates. In fact, more than 75% of London sales recruiters stated that they are actively assessing candidates for these traits (read more on how to effectively uncover sales hunter DNA during an interview).

While growth in sales recruitment in London and the greater United Kingdom has been positive, the second quarter of 2020 and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and associated lockdown has slowed hiring. A study of COVID-19 mitigation measures by UK startups revealed that few startups have significantly cut headcount. However, 80% have stopped or slowed hiring, in view of a meaningful revenue drop and negative projections.

But with COVID-19 cases falling and the UK economy reopening, sales recruitment is expected to peak in early Q4 2020, in anticipation of a full market restart in Q1 2021. For more information on Peak’s hiring forecasts, industry trends, and how your company can capitalize on recent market changes and adapt to today’s new environment, please connect with our team and follow our insights on the Peak Sales Blog.


Eliot Burdett

CEO at Peak Sales Recruiting
Before Peak, Eliot spent more than 20 years building and leading companies, where he took the lead in recruiting and managing high performance sales teams. He co-founded Ventrada Systems (mobile applications) and GlobalX (e-commerce software). He was also Vice President of Sales for PointShot Wireless.

Eliot received his B. Comm. from Carleton University and has been honored as a Top 40 Under 40 Award winner.

He co-authored Sales Recruiting 2.0, How to Find Top Performing Sales People, Fast and provides regular insights on sales team management and hiring on the Peak Sales Recruiting Blog.

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