Recommendations from a Pricing Recruiter

A few observations and recommendations from a pricing professional & recruiter:

Consulting experience is the top requested skill
o    80-90% of the roles we’ve been working on lately are asking for consulting experience in some form.  They don’t necessarily require pricing consulting, but any consulting experience on the resume. So, don’t ignore this if you are early in your career or are looking to move up the ladder.  Consulting may not pay the highest but may do more for your career in the long run.

Analytical skills (SQL, R, Python, etc.) are becoming a requirement at higher levels
o    No longer are technical analytical skills (SQL, R, Python, etc.) being required just at the analyst level.  More and more are those skills becoming requirements for Managers and Senior Managers.  

There is a surprising lack of openness to move up a level or new jobs
o    While on the salary survey 69% of pricing professionals say they are actively looking or are open to looking for a new role, only around 5-10% of pricing professionals are actually willing to discuss a new role.
o    A lot of pricing professionals are happy where they are and have no interest in moving from Senior Manager to Director or Analyst to Senior Analyst.  

Don’t worry about money early in your career
o    A common mistake I see a lot of young professionals making is worrying about $2,500 in base salary.  Instead of thinking long term what a role can do they are only concerned by the immediate salary.  The money will come in pricing and if a role can get you a Manager position a year faster, then that role is making you $25k-$75K down the road.  The same goes for each level after as well.  So, a good role early in your career could net you $150K over your career in some cities.
Misconceptions about recruiters & how to use them
o    The chance any one recruiter has the right role at the right level at the right time in the right location are next to none. But if you are connected to enough of them and are nice to them, they can be an asset.  
o    Make sure you keep recruiters on your side because you never know at what point in your career they may have a great role for you.  You’d be shocked by what people say to me and essentially tell me to F off.  I’ve had roles months later for those people, but there is no way I’d ever risk presenting them.  So, no matter how bad you may think they are just be polite or keep your mouth shut.
o    Don’t be afraid to ask recruiters or other connections for introductions.  Most recruiters will try to get hired by the company looking to fill the role, so make sure they are more concerned about helping you than helping themselves right now.  I tell a lot of people I’m willing to help but have had less than 10 people ask me for introductions.

Think of your salary like you are pricing a product or service
o    I’m shocked sometimes by the low salaries or how bad some pricing professionals are at pricing themselves.  Negotiating a salary is like pricing a role and you have to have that mindset going in.  If you don’t look for competitive data and give them low data points then they are going to make you a low offer.  Know your rights, in some states like MA and CA companies, can’t ask what you are making, so don’t offer it up for them.  

Look at a company’s commitment to Pricing function
o    A big concern when considering pricing roles is the company and leaderships commitment to the pricing function.  Far too often a team is started and doesn’t have any authority, which makes it difficult to succeed or an expendable group should things not go well.  Or if the highest pricing person is at a low level it makes career advancement a challenge.   

Focus on skills early in your career
o    Early in your career skills are the most important thing.  Look to add different skills that will help make you more attractive to other pricing openings.  Things like presentation and leadership skills are big things companies look for at the manager level.  

Find a great mentor
o    Advancing your career is more about who you know than what you know.  Find someone that is at a high level or moving up and learn from them.  Impressing the right person can do more for your caree