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Published:  23 July, 2008

By Christian Davis

There is a shortage of good-quality sales and marketing people in the drinks trade, according to David Pilkington, managing director of recruitment consultants Pilkington Webster. Where the hell are all the good people?' Pilkington asked Harpers. The trade needs shaking out of its lethargy. I had somebody in yesterday who had been for 25 to 30 years in the trade, but he was virtually unemployable.' Pilkington, whose clients include Mot Hennessy, Constellation Wines Europe, Hatch Mansfield and Percy Fox, said he is trying to recruit buyers with knowledge/expertise of the Burgundy and the Rhne regions. The jobs are in the 40,000 to 60,000-a-year bracket. The ideal person is an experienced, French-speaking buyer - who is commercial. But some I see cannot add two and two together,' said Pilkington. We test candidates for numeracy and the level is appalling. Its no wonder some of them end up giving it away.' People need to get up off their backsides. The cream isn't rising to the top. It's a tough market and it's contracting. Everyone from managing director and sales director level is going to find it tough, particularly if they don't have an established reputation and good contacts,' said Pilkington.