The big burnout – How COVID-19 is accelerating the Salesforce skills gap : Nabila Salem

The big burnout – How COVID-19 is accelerating the Salesforce skills gap
by: Nabila Salem
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Nabila Salem is on the Board of Tenth Revolution Group, and as President of Revolent Group is responsible for leading on the creation of talent, specialising in Salesforce and AWS. With over 15 years of experience in professional services, tech recruitment and marketing in the UK and USA, Nabila was the first and youngest female to be appointed to VP at the FTSE 250 company she used to work for. She is passionate about creating talent and plays an active role in encouraging, supporting and promoting diversity in the workplace. Nabila was recognised in Management Today’s 35 Women Under 35 List 2019, and most recently in Computer Weekly’s Most Influential Women in UK Tech.

Recent research from the 2021 Mason Frank Salesforce Salary Survey shows that the acceleration of digital transformation triggered by COVID-19 is putting increased pressure on workers, creating the perfect conditions for employee burnout and mass exodus from the workforce. So what should organisations be doing to address this alarming trend, head on?

The data shows that, prior to the pandemic, only 27% of professionals regularly worked outside of their contracted hours. Post-pandemic, this number has rapidly grown to 42%.

It also shows how the number of employees who had never worked outside of their contracted hours is shrinking quickly, going from 10.5% prior to the pandemic, to just 7.28% post-pandemic.

The boom in demand for tech has seen many companies prosper (41% of companies were hiring new IT staff during the pandemic, with a further 62% planning to add more before 2022). But,  without intervention, the added pressure on existing employees may result in increased burnout and growing attrition rates.

Why the Salesforce skills gap matters

These new statistics should be of great concern for our sector, particularly for Salesforce stakeholders. As far back as 2018 tech already had the highest turnover rates of any industry, at a staggering 13.2%, so anything that looks to grow that number is a real problem.

As the tech skills gap grows, and experienced but overworked employees leave the sector, the war for talent will get much worse. Businesses of all sizes, not just the small ones, will struggle to afford the people they need to help them thrive.

Of course, the consequences of the skills gap going unfilled are already well documented. The Deloitte and the Manufacturing Institute’s Skills Gap Study cautioned of economic output losses in the US of up to $454 billion by 2028 if the skills gap is not closed. And, according to Airswift, the US talent crunch is currently at a 10 year high, which could cost up to $162 billion if unresolved.

How to close the Salesforce skills gap

As a talent creation organization that specializes in creating net new Salesforce and AWS talent, we believe there are measures that can be taken to help prevent the impact of the growing skills gap, and even start to close it.

The first thing you have to realize is no one company or organization can do this alone. It will take a concerted effort from individual organizations, software providers such Salesforce, and talent creation companies such as ourselves.

To do this, you have to work the problem from both ends. First and foremost, we need to shrink our attrition rates as a sector, which means reducing things like employee dissatisfaction, burnout, and start placing a high value on employee wellbeing.

At the same time, organizations need to rely less on traditional hiring methods and accept more candidates from non-traditional career paths. Not every employee needs to be an Ivy League grad!

Finally, we need to improve diversity within our sector, and allow more people from different backgrounds to enter, progress, and stay within tech, if we have any hope of bringing in new talent at the scale we need to solve the skills gap.

Closing the skills gap with strategic diversity initiatives  

Historically as a sector, we have employed a very narrow approach to our hiring. We’ve over-relied on traditional hiring positives like grades expected or universities attended. And it shows – our sector has the worst diversity stats of almost any industry.

Not every Salesforce candidate has to be a STEM graduate and, if we only look for these people, we’ll never close the gap. People who have self-taught, upskilled, or gained experience but not qualifications are just as valuable, professionally speaking, as the ‘more traditional’ applicant.

Especially when you consider how Salesforce in particular is highly accessible through non-traditional pathways (with Trailhead, anyone can learn Salesforce), only taking on STEM grads seems unnecessarily reductive.

Beyond this, we also need to look at our processes for acquisition. In particular, we need to examine the things that stop us bringing on a more diverse range of candidates. To do this, businesses need to rethink their workforce planning strategies. While traditional recruitment channels are great for some hires, they should not be relied on exclusively. Instead, look to work with suppliers who have a focus on diversity and inclusion and broaden the range of places you source talent from, be it returners programmes, apprenticeships, or talent creation companies like Revolent.

Ultimately, we cannot let burnout deplete our sector of the valuable employees that we already have. As a collective, we need to support our existing talent and focus on closing the skills gap, in order to relieve pressure and guarantee a healthy, future-proofed pipeline of skilled workers.


Revolent Group, a division of Tenth Revolution Group, specializes in creating talent that can thrive within niche technology markets, including Salesforce and AWS. We recruit, cross-train, place and develop talent for those ecosystems, fuelling the market with the next generation of certified professionals in cloud technology. With hubs in Australia, the US, UK, and Canada, Revolent offers a truly global solution to the lack of talent in the industry.

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September 15, 2021 at 02:13PM
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