2021 Pharmaceutical Sales Salary Report

Pharmaceutical Sales Salary Report

“How much money does a pharmaceutical sales rep make?”


Every year, MedReps conducts a survey to answer this question and more: 

“What size pharmaceutical company pays the highest salary?” 

“How much commission do pharmaceutical sales jobs pay?”

“How does travel impact pharmaceutical sales salaries?”

“How does location, age, and gender impact pharmaceutical sales earnings?” 

Last year, we asked pharmaceutical sales reps their predictions for how the global crisis would impact the future of medical sales. We were not surprised to find the majority of reps (75%) said they expected the pandemic to negatively impact their 2020 earnings.

This year, we have great news to report!

2021 Pharmaceutical Sales Salary Key Findings:

  • Small pharma companies are growing more competitive, paying out the highest commissions 
  • – Pharmaceutical field sales reps see a nearly $7,000 increase in average total compensation
  • – Women earn 95% of what men earn – closer to parity than most other product categories 

While 2020 presented unique challenges to meeting commissions goals, pharmaceutical companies rose to support pharma reps through the pandemic. Reps reported higher base salaries and more benefits than the previous year. While the majority of reps expected to earn less in 2020, only 14% of pharmaceutical sales respondents reported taking home less income.

The greatest impact on total average commission fell in the area of travel. However, pharmaceutical sales reps who travel 50% of the time (the highest-earning reps) reported base salary increases of nearly $16,000, well exceeding lost compensation in commissions.

Pharmaceutical sales also saw progress toward gender parity. Women report earning 95% of what men take home in the industry, nearly closing the gap in base salary and commission.

Job and income satisfaction are high and pharmaceutical sales reps are hopeful. Half feel the pandemic will not impact their income in 2021, and 8% say it will have a positive impact. 

Check out our full findings below to learn more about how you can develop a successful pharmaceutical sales career:

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