In our world of recruiting we have noticed, this year, an increase in the demand for Sales Engineers, or Field Applications Engineers. Not surprising, after a general slowdown, for six years, manufacturing and production companies are eager to get back to full production, and then add to that.
One step involved in accomplishing this, of course, is increased sales. An integral step in increasing sales is, “knowing the market”. Enter the sales engineers. These individuals generally work together with a company’s manufacturing, engineering, sales, and customer service departments. They are, in part, data gatherers. They gather information about clients’ needs and work with managers to develop products. Successful Sales Engineers possess a rare combination of people skills, math skills, negotiating, research, communication, mechanical and technical skills along with customer service expertise! Sales engineers are a creative, innovative breed. Not only are they experts in accommodating current trends, they can create new trends amongst the end users, the buyers of the manufactured goods. This is achieved by new product development, or redesign, based on their proficiency in their particular sector. This “particular sector” can be any discipline amongst a vast array – whether it is in nuclear, chemical, agricultural, materials, defense, food and beverage, mining, software, apparel, medical, automotive, building and Construction, computers, and hundreds of other niches.
For the next few years, the outlook is positive for Sales Engineers, most dramatically for those in computer system design!! According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, “Employment of sales engineers is expected to grow by 14 percent from 2010 to 2020, as fast as the average for all occupations. As a wider range of technologically sophisticated products comes on the market, sales engineers will be in demand to help sell products or services related to these products. Growth is also likely to be strong for sales engineers selling computer software and hardware. Employment of sales engineers in computer systems design and related services is expected to grow by 43 percent from 2010 to 2020.”
Additionally, a recent article in Industry Week magazine states, “In the first quarter 2013 survey, the percentage of manufacturers who were either somewhat or very positive about their own company’s outlook rose from 51.8% to 70.1% (Figure 1). This essentially returns the level of optimism back to the third quarter 2012 levels from six months ago. Breaking it down further, 60.5% of respondents said they were somewhat positive in their outlook, with 28.2% answering somewhat negative. Each of these figures represents a change from the last survey, suggesting a gain in optimism in the past three months.

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