2017 Pharmaceutical Sales Salary Report


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Pharma and pharma specialty sales reps are knocking it out of the park, according to our 2017 Pharmaceutical Sales Salary Report. This year the average pharmaceutical sales salary is $128,489 (Median Total $125,500). While these are impressive numbers, specialty pharma reps continue earning significantly more. The average specialty pharma sales salary is  $147,318 (Median Total $145,500).pharma salary

Thanks to their diligence and hard work, pharmaceutical reps continue pushing their salaries up the chart. And due to a strong passion for the industry, pharma sales remains a highly sought after career.

Even though pharma reps earn the lowest average incomes compared to other product categories — with specialty reps in the bottom four — many pharma reps report having very successful, satisfying careers.

About the Survey

One-fourth of this year’s survey respondents (666) noted that they sold Pharmaceutical or Specialty Pharmaceutical products. The average total income for the overall group was $136,481.

In addition to income, the survey asked respondents about their job titles, target customer base, the type and size of their companies and more. Even factors such as gender, age, and ethnicity appear to have some correlation with pharma salaries.

pharma respondents

Average Pharma Sales by Job Title and Company Size

Climbing the pharma sales ladder will help you reach the highest available salaries. While income is important, remember to look at your final goal in relation to your skills and passions. Where do you want to go with your pharma sales career?

pharma - title

pharma employer size

Pharma Sales Salary by Age and Experience

Pharma sales is a challenging business, so it’s no surprise that salary increases come with both age and experience. The biggest jump we noticed this year is from age 30 to age 40, suggesting pharma reps must pay their dues and gain experience before earning top dollar.

pharma age and experience

Gender and Ethnicity in Pharma Sales

In a perfect world, we would no longer need to write about the roles of gender and ethnicity in the workplace. Unfortunately, they still have an effect on many industries — including pharma sales.

While the movies often portray pharma sales reps as beautiful women rolling a suitcase into doctors’ offices, the image is a large misrepresentation. In fact, only 31 percent of pharma sales reps are women.

pharma gender

What’s even more surprising is that, of our respondents, Black/African Americans only represent 7 percent of pharma sales employees, and Hispanics a mere 6 percent.

pharma ethnicity

Pharma Sales Travel and Location

Professionals who spend 50 percent or more of their time traveling for pharmaceutical sales jobs earn significantly more money than those who travel less or not at all. Professionals traveling 75 percent of the time earn the most.

pharma travel

However, where these respondents live also has an impact on earning potential. Take a look at your possibilities:

pharma state

Year Over Year Pharma Sales Income

While pharma sales isn’t the highest paid medical sales field, the future looks promising. Each year, successful, ambitious reps are driving the total compensation numbers up.

pharma year over year


When discovering your medical sales dreams and career goals, don’t be discouraged by the fact that pharma sales salaries are on the lower end of the spectrum. The figures remain impressive and are continually growing, so the future’s looking brighter than ever.

In addition to your salary, medical sales companies offer valuable perks. In our medical sales survey, 87 percent of reps reported having health benefits, 80 percent have 401k with employer matching, and 74 percent reap the rewards of an expense account.

With a solid income and plenty of perks, it’s easy to see why pharma sales jobs continue to be highly sought-after among medical sales jobs.


View Previous Pharmaceutical Sales Salary Reports

2016 Pharmaceutical Sales Salary Report

2015 Pharmaceutical Sales Salary Report

2014 Pharmaceutical Sales Salary Report

2013 Pharmaceutical Sales Salary Report

2012 Pharmaceutical Sales Salary Report

2011 Pharmaceutical Sales Salary Report