respondents think they are mediocre or worse
at recruiting than above average.
On a positive turn, the upswing in the industrial economy apparently has distributors back
in staffing expansion mode. Nearly 32 percent
of our respondents say they anticipate a need
to add staff in the next 12 months — up eight
percentage points from last year’s survey.
Meanwhile, the amount who say 7they have
reduced staff in the last staff months dropped
four points to 18 percent. Only six percent anticipate a need to lower headcount over the
next year — down two points, while more than
44 percent have added staff in the past year.
Where are those staffing additions being
made? Sales expectedly takes the top spot
with 63 percent — down two points from last
year — while 39 percent of respondents chose
warehouse and customer support. The areas
making the biggest gains are clerical — up
nearly five points from our 2016 survey to 12
percent, with customer support up four points.
Meanwhile, administration is down four points
from a year ago to 15. 5 percent.
Overall, our respondents’ sales headcount
appears to be levelling off in recent years. This
year, 50 percent say their number of sales reps
stayed the same over the past year — up more
than three points from our 2016 survey and up
11 points from 2015. The amount who say they
have more reps is at 36.5 percent this year —
down more than one point from a year ago.
Retaining employees is arguably just as im-
portant as recruiting them. So how are distribu-
tors getting their employees to stay? Out of five
options, 69 percent of our respondents picked
higher pay — down 3. 5 points from last year’s
survey and down almost seven points from
2015. The option of training was unchanged
from last year at 55 percent, while 49 percent
chose improved benefits package – down al-
most 11 points from 2016. One respondent
wasn’t shy about commenting “Our company
is very poor at retaining quality people.”
Employee benefits can be a touchy subject
among employers, especially after the industri-
al recession forced some distributors to slash
employee benefits as a means just to get by.
Even with economic conditions more favorable
now, the amount of our respondents who say
they offer health insurance coverage dipped an-
other four points from last year’s survey to 84
percent — down from 93.5 percent in 2015.
Asked to pick any benefits they offer, 67 percent
picked bonus/compensation programs — down
five points from last year. Other options taking
a sizeable decline were employee recognition
programs — down eight points to 31 percent;
flexible hours — down eight points to 2 8 per-
cent; and profit sharing — down nearly four
points to 31 percent. Benefits seeing a rise
were 401k/pension — up four points to 75
percent; sales performance reviews — up 7. 5
points to 57 percent; and stock options — up
more than eight points to 20 percent.
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See more survey stats, charts and
commentary in our full survey
report, which will be made available
to download on inddist.com beginning
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