human resources

Sales reps, secretaries in the firing line

SmartCompany /

Personal assistants and sales reps are the most likely staff members to be sacked, according to a SmartCompany/Roy Morgan Poll released today.

The survey of 375 business owners shows that in the past three months 15% sacked staff. Sounds like a lot? In the US, a similar survey by shows 20% of small and medium business had sacked staff in the past three months.

Interestingly, in both the US and Australia it is the personal assistants and sales reps who are most likely to be sacked.

In Australia, 21% of respondents had sacked an internal sales rep recently, followed by the PA (16%), and a field sales rep, 14%.

Next in line were marketing staff members at 12%. However, it appears that head of sales is a bit of a sacred cow: only 4% were sacked recently, and only 5% of general managers.

In the US survey, 12% said they had sacked their sales rep and 12% their PA. The next most likely to go were IT specialists and project managers. Few Australians fired IT staff and project managers, perhaps reflecting a shortage of skills in these areas and concerns about how to replace them.

So why are sales staff and PAs in the firing line? Perhaps because sales staff are clearly accountable for meeting set targets, while personal assistants work closely with the boss and it is more obvious if they are not doing their job.

What is clear is that bosses hate sacking staff: 47% say it is the worst part of their job.

See today’s Top story: New Poll: Business owners will hire less under Labor

See also Growth Resources: Managing People & How to Sack (legally)


SmartCompany is the leading online publication in Australia for free news, information and resources catering to Australia’s entrepreneurs, small and medium business owners and business managers.

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