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Do medical sales professionals love their jobs? Yes – and no. Like any career, the job has its pros and cons, and experienced medical sales professionals are well aware of both. In a recent survey, we asked the MedReps community to tell us what they love about their jobs – and what they don’t. Some of our findings were expected (Money is important!), but other aspects were a little surprising (It’s not the most important!). A mix of quantitative and qualitative data, the survey results paint a thorough picture of how medical sales professionals feel about their jobs in today’s unique economy. Keep reading for the details.
The survey was open to anyone currently or recently employed in medical sales. Of the over 250 qualified respondents, 70% are currently employed in medical sales. The other 30% are unemployed but said their last job was in medical sales. Two-thirds of all respondents have worked for 2 or 3 companies in the last 10 years. Those who are employed in medical sales have been with their current companies for an average of 3.4 years.
Although 43% of employed respondents say they are either extremely or somewhat satisfied in their jobs, over half report that they are actively looking for a new job – another third say they are casually looking. So what gives? Why are these medical sales professionals – many of them satisfied with their jobs – looking for a new gig?
The Everlasting Job Search
Industry uncertainties and unrealistic performance expectations are the driving force behind all the job search activity. One respondent explains, “It has become such that if you miss your numbers for a month or two you’re afraid you’re going to lose your job – with my company any way.” Another explained, “This industry is so volatile, it’s rare to meet reps that have been with the same company for 5 years, much less 10. I feel like I always have to have my resume updated, in case I’m once again a victim of layoffs.”
Layoffs are certainly on the minds of medical sales professionals. Of those who are employed, nearly half are very concerned (19%) or somewhat concerned (24%) about layoffs at their current company, and 71% of unemployed respondents are without a job due to layoffs. “These days, in pharma sales, it’s almost as if an employee is on a one year contract – every year there are reorganizations,” says one unemployed drug rep.
Performance concerns can also motivate a job search. Sales rankings often determine on which side a med rep falls when a company needs to reduce headcount. So it’s no wonder so many respondents cited concerns about hitting their numbers. One respondent explains, “There’s too much downsizing lately. It’s doesn’t matter how hard you work, if you’re not in the top 10% – your job is at risk.” Perhaps it’s for this reason one-third of employed respondents say they are very concerned (20%) or somewhat concerned (15%) about meeting performance expectations.
Despite industry uncertainties and increasing pressure and stress in medical sales jobs, medical sales professionals still overwhelmingly say they enjoy their jobs. So, it seems the benefits of working in medical sales outweigh the drawbacks, but for how long? Certainly new policies and regulations, managed care obstacles, and challenges with access are dramatically changing the job, but for now it seems there is still a lot to love about medical sales. Do you agree? Tell us what you love about medical sales jobs on our Facebook page.