Who earns the top medical sales salaries?
At first glance, it appears the top earners are Sales Directors and VPs working in biotech. After all, according to the 2016 Medical Sales Salary Report, Sales Director / VP is the highest paid job title (average total $209,082), and biotech is the highest paying product category (average total $165,028). But becoming a VP for a biotech company isn’t the only path to earning more than $200k. We took a closer look at the data to see who was most likely to earn over $200 thousand dollars working in medical sales jobs, and you may be surprised at what we learned.
Profile of the Highest Paid Medical Sales Professionals
The 2016 Salary Report had 3,285 respondents. Of those, 14% report earning between $200k and $300k, and 4% earn more than $300k. So, a total of 18% earn upwards of $200 thousand dollars annually.
Of those earning greater than $200 thousand dollars, a majority (60%) are working in field sales. While there are plenty of sales managers and directors and VPs of sales in the group of $200k+ earners, it’s clear that climbing the corporate ladder is not the only path to big money. In fact, the figures were similar for those earning more than $300k – 63% are in field sales, 15% are directors or VPs, and 10% are managers. So it seems an uncapped commission structure offers more earning potential than many upper-level sales management jobs.
When it comes to the highest paying products, 41% of these top earners are working in the OR, selling surgical devices. Another 13% are selling capital equipment, and 12% are selling biotech products.
On average, those earning more than $200k annually have 12.8 years of medical sales experience, and they travel 25% of the time. Their average age is 41, and they are more likely to be white and male (84% of $200k+ earners are men).
An MBA or other advanced education does not appear to be a must for exceeding the $200k mark. Only 16% of this group hold a Master’s degree or higher; 74% have not attained education beyond their 4-year college degree.
Do higher medical sales salaries buy happiness?
And of course the million dollar question is, does more money equal more job satisfaction? The answer is, slightly. Of those earning more than $200k, 38% said they are very satisfied with their jobs, compared to the 30% overall who said they are very satisfied. When it comes to income satisfaction, 46% of the top earners reported being very satisfied with their income while 26% of the overall respondents said they were very satisfied with their salaries. So while money can’t buy happiness, it might buy you a little more job satisfaction.
Bottom line, if you want to earn some of the highest medical sales salaries, you don’t have to climb the corporate ladder or find a job in biotech. Find a field sales job, ideally with a company selling surgical devices, capital equipment, or biotech products. Look for a competitive, uncapped commission structure, and be prepared to work hard. Medical and pharmaceutical sales jobs are very rewarding but the effort required is not to be taken lightly.
For more about medical sales salaries and the jobs that pay them, view the Medical Sales Salary Report.