The competition for medical sales jobs continues to be tough, and one look at the average income of medical sales reps makes it easy to see why. According to the 4th Annual MedReps.com Salary Report, professionals working in medical sales jobs earn an average income of $141,218. With an earning potential like that, it’s no wonder so many sales professionals are eager to work in this industry.
About the Medical Sales Salary Survey
More than 3,000 members of the medical sales community participated in the 4th Annual MedReps.com Salary Survey. Only responses from those currently working in medical sales were considered, putting the total number of eligible respondents at 2,734. This group is largely made up of medical sales representatives or field reps (70%) and professionals working in medical and surgical device sales (42%). Manufacturing companies employ 70% of respondents.
The 2014 survey not only looks at average incomes (base salaries plus commissions and bonuses) but also median incomes. As you’ll see, the average values are typically higher due to the fact that a handful of extremely high earners can skew the average significantly higher than the majority earns. The survey looks at how the product segment affects earnings, as well as how income is affected by company type and size, job title, age, experience, amount of travel and more. Find all the details for the overall survey below, as well as links to the reports covering medical device sales salaries, pharmaceutical sales salaries, medical equipment sales salaries, and biotech sales salaries.
Perhaps the most important factor in predicting income is the type of product or service sold, but what exactly falls into the “medical sales” classification? Some products that come to mind may include medical and surgical devices, medical disposables and supplies, capital equipment and durable medical equipment, pharmaceuticals and specialty pharmaceuticals, biopharmaceuticals and other products made using biotechnology. The term “medical sales” can also include healthcare software and IT services, home healthcare services, lab or diagnostic services, and more.
So, who earns the most? Well, the 2014 results suggest the answer to that question is changing. In 2013, Biotech and Biopharma workers had the highest reported income, followed by Medical Device Professionals and Health IT professionals. This year’s results suggest those selling Health IT and Healthcare software are earning the highest average total income of $172,891 (Median $165,000). Medical and Surgical Device professionals come in a somewhat distant second with an average income of $158,411 (Median $145,000) and Biotech and Biopharma professionals are a close third at $154,348, but come in second based on a median reported income of $155,000.
Medical Sales Salaries by Job Title & Company
It’s no surprise that Sales Directors and Sales VPs earn the highest average incomes in medical sales (Avg. $205,265 and Med. $212,500). Sales managers aren’t far behind with an average income of $185,174 (Med. $185,000). While it can certainly pay well to climb the corporate ladder, in some cases, medical sales reps are better off in the field. In this year’s survey, field reps accounted for 58% of those reporting total annual incomes over $300,000. (Not bad for “just” a sales job!)
With an average total income of $150,911 (Median $135,000), those making the most money in medical sales are employed by manufacturers. Large manufacturers pay the most, though company size does not seem to significantly impact earnings. Distributors pay an average income of $115,452 (Median $105,000), and those employed by service providers earn $112,545 (Median $105,000). Those who prefer a bit more freedom don’t have to sacrifice income. Independent contractors report earning an average salary of $130,747 (Median $115,000).
Income by Age & Experience
Not surprisingly, industry experience strongly influences the amount medical sales professionals earn, with those with the most experience (20+ years) earning the most (Avg. $165,100, Med. $155,000). Age also appears to impact earnings, but if you assume older respondents (with presumably the most experience) would earn the highest incomes, you’d be wrong. The age group with the highest average earnings is the 41-50 year old group (Avg. $151,884, Med. $135,000). It’s interesting to note that when years of experience are equal, the younger age group often earns the most.
Men continue to dominate the medical sales profession (73% of respondents are male) and out earn women by 19%. Base salaries are more on par (men earn just 4% more), but when it comes to total income, men report earning $148,908 (Median $135,000) while women earn $120,879 (Median $115,000).
Reasons for this ongoing discrepancy (2013 numbers were similarly disproportionate) are debatable. However, one indisputable factor is the type of products most likely to be sold by women versus men. For example, just 1 in 4 professionals selling Health IT is a woman, and fewer than 1 in 5 professionals selling medical or surgical devices is a woman. Compare that to the 36% of women selling the lower paying pharmaceuticals or the 30% selling home health services. Women also account for just 14% of sales management and sales director positions. A closer look at the types of medical sales jobs women are most likely to hold starts to explain the income discrepancy. Now, why women are more likely to hold these types of jobs is another topic for debate altogether.
Despite changes and concerns brought on by the Affordable Care Act, the new healthcare law does not seem to have negatively impacted the earnings of medical sales professionals. In fact medical sales average salaries are higher than ever. The average total medical sales income in 2014 was up 5% from 2013.
Also encouraging, 54% of respondents reported receiving a pay increase during the prior 12 months. Of those who received a raise, 25% received it as a result of a job change or a promotion. For this group, the average increase was 10.8%. For those who received an increase that was unrelated to a job change or promotion, the average increase was 4.2%, bringing the average increase for all respondents to 5.9%.
Most medical sales jobs require some time on the road, but the amount of overnight travel required varies quite a bit. Do the medical sales jobs requiring the most overnight travel offer more compensation than those jobs that demand less? To some degree, yes. Medical sales professionals who spend half of their time traveling overnight earn more than those who spend less. Those who spend 50% of their time on the road earn an average total income of $162,268. However, the group spending the most amount of time traveling overnight (75% or more), actually earn less than the group traveling just 25% of the time.
Income by State
The 2014 survey garnered at least one response from every state though certainly some states had higher representation than others. The regions reporting the highest average incomes were Washington, D.C. ($195,833) and Kansas ($177,976). However, respondents from both DC and Kansas accounted for less than 1% of the survey respondents, so these figures may not be representative of the regions as a whole.
When looking at the states with the highest number of respondents, the average incomes are more in line with the national average. California, which had the highest number of respondents, reported an average income of $140,631. Based on these results, it appears Florida medical sales jobs and Texas medical sales jobs also align quite closely with the national average.
In addition to an impressive income, medical sales jobs typically come with a nice benefits package. Expense accounts (73%), company cars (42%), and 401ks (78%) are all popular benefits among medical sales reps.
To most outsiders, an average annual income of $141,218 is pretty impressive. But how satisfied are medical sales professionals with their incomes? This year’s survey asked that very question and found just 20% of respondents reported being “very satisfied” with their incomes. This “very satisfied” group earn an average of $173,803 annually. Another 46% said they were “somewhat satisfied” with their income. This group earns an average of $146,808.
Overall job satisfaction was slightly higher than income satisfaction. 75% of respondents said, overall, they are either “very satisfied” (29%) or “somewhat satisfied” (46%) with their jobs.
The 2014 Medical Sales Salary Survey confirms that medical sales jobs continue to be one of the more lucrative professions in healthcare. With an average total income of $141,218, the rewards of this profession continue to climb. However, the compensation associated with medical sales jobs can vary greatly depending on factors such as the types of products or services sold, the type of company one works for, job title, amount of travel, and more. Even factors such as sex and age can impact average medical sales salaries.
For those with the drive to succeed, medical sales jobs provide a both challenging and rewarding opportunity to shine. For more about medical sales salaries and the medical sales jobs that pay them, visit MedReps.com.