• Friday, December 01, 2023
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Demand for business developers spikes amid economic woes

Oxford professor says elite consensus, others key to Nigeria’s development

Nigerian firms are demanding for more professionals whose jobs are to help businesses ramp up revenues in a bid to stay afloat amid the country’s tough business environment, a new report has shown.

The report by MyJobMag, a recruitment agency in Nigeria which analysed 62,729 jobs advertised on its platform, showed that the demand for sales/marketing/business development roles rose to 15.9 percent in January-October 2023 from 13.4 percent in the same period of last year.

“Sales/marketing, finance, engineering, and ICT tops the chart for the fields with the most hiring in 2023, with sales/marketing having over 15 percent,” the report said.

It said the rising need for sales professionals may stem from organisations seeking to boost their revenue in response to the country’s current economic conditions.

“Additionally, the growth of new small and medium-scale enterprises requires sales professionals to help them establish and expand their businesses. While others like human resources, driving, media, and administration have experienced a decline from 2022 to 2023,” it added.

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According to the report, the decline in the demand for more tech professionals might indicate a change in how tech roles are being filled, possibly through internal recruitment, referrals, social media platforms, and reduced reliance on job boards.

Business developers are executives or high-level sales representatives whose primary goal is to help companies or clients increase revenue. They help to develop strategies to attract new customers and engage existing ones.

A breakdown of the report showed that sales executives, sales representatives, sales managers, medical sales representatives and sales officers were the most in-demand roles in sales. “These roles had the highest number of job listings in the sales sector for 2023.”

“Sales has always been a big deal, making it a highly demanded skill. The economy is very tight. And for businesses to stay afloat, they either need to increase revenue or reduce expenditure. Sales representatives are in the forefront of the first one,” Olamide Adeyeye, a Lagos-based human development researcher, said.

The Tinubu administration’s reforms including the removal of petrol subsidy and naira devaluation, implemented in the second quarter of the year, pushed the inflation rate to the highest level in 18 years.

Rising inflationary pressures have weakened the purchasing power of consumers, even as businesses grapple with higher operating costs.

The removal of the petrol subsidy tripled the petrol price to N617 from N184, causing public transportation providers such as buses, tricycles and motorcycles to raise transportation fares.

The latest monthly Purchasing Managers’ Index by Stanbic IBTC Bank showed that business activity contracted in October for the first time in seven months.

Read also: Manufacturers in N166bn loss as borrowing costs surge seven-fold

The headline index dropped to 49.1 from 51.1 in the previous month. Readings above 50.0 signal an improvement in business conditions, while those below show deterioration.

“It’s been very tough for our members as we are managing to survive. Some of them are closing shop while others are looking for new business opportunities,” said Abdulrasid Yarima, president/chairman of the governing council of the Nigerian Association of Small and Medium Enterprises.

Femi Egbesola, national president of the Association of Small Business Owners of Nigeria, said more than 20 percent of their 27,000 members have been affected by the mounting economic woes.

“This is necessitated by the business environment that is getting harsher and harsher by the day. The unfortunate thing is that the end is not near. We are totally confused and living in the fear of the unknown,” he said.

Authors of the MyJobMag report also revealed that despite the hype surrounding web3, the blockchain sector experienced a decrease, and so also did ICT/telecommunication, logistics/transportation, and manufacturing/production, which could be a result of the high foreign exchange rate in the country.

“However, industries like education, food service, and pharmaceuticals experienced positive growth. Also, the travel and tourism industry, although impacted by the enduring effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, has seen a gradual recovery over the year 2022,” they said.