The 4th Annual MedReps.com Salary Survey, conducted in April of 2014, collected data from 2,734 respondents regarding their average base salaries and commissions, as well as what type of products they represent, their level of experience, what type of company they work for, and more. Professionals in pharma and specialty pharmaceutical sales together made up 22% of respondents, the second largest group of professionals in any product category.
Based on MedReps survey results, the average annual salary for a pharmaceutical sales representative is $111,476, with an average base salary of $84,260. While it’s easy to group specialty pharma reps with pharma reps, there is a significant earnings gap between the two types. With an average total income of $127,656 (Median $125,000), specialty pharmaceutical sales salaries are approximately 13% higher than the average pharmaceutical sales salary ($111,476). So what’s the difference between these two types of sales professionals (other than income)?
Specialty pharma reps typically represent drugs that are used to treat less common diseases than those treated by traditional drug reps. Specialty reps usually call on specialist physicians, while traditional drug reps more frequently call on primary care physicians.
Of course, the highest pharmaceutical sales salary is earned by professionals working in sales management. Sales Managers, Sales Directors, and Sales VPs earn an average income of $168,141. Pharma and specialty pharma Field Reps, as well as those working on National Accounts and Business Development, earn an average total income of $116,973. The majority of survey respondents placed themselves in the “Field Sales” category (72%).
The more overnight travel required, the higher the average pharmaceutical sales salary seems to be. The survey indicates those travelling 75% or even 50% of the time earn more than those who spend less time travelling. However, the results also indicate that pharma and specialty pharma sales jobs do not typically require very much overnight travel. Nearly three-fourths of the respondents report that they travel just 10% of the time (48%) or not at all (25%).
Not surprisingly, pharma professionals with the most experience earn more than those who have less. However, if you assume that also means the oldest respondents earn the highest average salaries, you’d be wrong. Those in the 41-50 age group earn the highest average salaries in the pharma sales category at $130,255.
Women working in pharma and specialty pharma sales jobs earn 90% of what men in the profession earn. This is, in part, due to the fact that for every 1 woman working in sales management (including Director / VP titles), there are nearly 4 men with the same title. Because there are more men in the higher paying management positions, the average income for men is skewed higher.
At $119,053, the 2014 combined average sales salary for specialty pharma and pharmaceutical reps isn’t quite as high as it was in 2012, though it is up 4% over last year’s combined average. While pharma and specialty pharma sales jobs may not be the highest paying in medical sales, the numbers suggest these sales rep salaries are still impressive enough to attract solid talent to the profession.
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