Sales & Marketing - Market Update 2021

A big welcome back to everyone from the Sales & Marketing team. I think we are all happy to put last year behind us and are now starting to feel positive and optimistic about the job market and outlook for 2021. This year will be another challenge but with tight border restrictions and the containment of COVID-19 in New Zealand, we can function effectively on a domestic economy and business confidence and job creation should be on the rise. 


Here are our thoughts and numbers for quarter four of 2020 and what this means as we move through 2021. 

Stats from Tribe

  • Sales & Marketing team revenue Q4 2019 vs Q4 2020. As a team, we finished Q4 last year at 98% of revenue compared to Q4 2019. After losing 80% of our revenue in April 2020 during the lockdown, we were pretty much back to pre-COVID revenue levels by the end of the year 
  • Sales & Marketing job numbers increased by 145% between Q3 and Q4 in 2020 (July – Dec), which means businesses were feeling more confident about recruiting and adding additional headcount. It's been busy. 
  • Candidate applications decreased by 35% between Q3 and Q4 last year, which means fewer redundancies and more candidates looking for job security and wanting to see out the year with their existing employers after what was a very unsettled year

FMCG trends 

  • Increased shipping costs are causing massive supply chain challenges for NZ businesses. Such increases make exporting and importing activities completely uneconomic. Exactly the same issues and pressures as reported for New Zealand firms.
  • Businesses continue to promote flexibility and working from home with Unilever NZ leading the charge in this area by trialling the four-day working week for the next 12 months  
  • Recruitment freezes and recruitment bans have reduced 
  • Structural changes, particularly in COVID-affected channels such as food service & on-premise, have taken place and are actively starting to take shape 
  • We are seeing an increase in the number of Kiwi FMCG candidates based offshore (particularly in the UK) looking to come home but unfortunately, this volume isn't enough to keep up with the skill shortage in the industry 

Services trends 

  • Most services industries bounced back strongly in 2020 with only the travel sector continuing to face ongoing challenges. Industries like ICT, building & construction and transport & logistics showed the highest growth in terms of job ad numbers in Q4
  • The large professional services sector (of which one segment is marketing and communications) shows a decline of 14% YOY in terms of the number of job ads showing an overall delay in recruiting these types of roles given current market conditions.
  • We are seeing an increase in business development and sales manager positions in the sales area. Account management roles tend to have a stronger hunter requirement to them as well, as businesses look for growth in what is a competitive market 
  • More than half of our current roles are in the sales space versus the marketing space in the services sector, which is the opposite of the years leading up to COVID.
  • In marketing roles there is a strong preference for through-the-line marketing experience (with the usual digital requirement as well), ultimately looking for candidates who can show great ROI in marketing initiatives that are iterated and optimised - so a focus on acquisition, retention and trade, with less brand and comms types of roles for now
  • We are seeing a flux of parental leave cover contracts as well... just saying ;)


As a team, we saw a huge increase in job activity in Q4 last year but candidate numbers and applications decrease. If business confidence continues to increase in 2021, we should see candidate confidence increase and with the addition of the brain gain this can only be good for the employment market 


Cameron, Suzie & Josh


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