Friday, June 13, 2014

Pharma Sales Pros See Salaries Climb

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This post was contributed by @MikeMadarasz 

It’s not a bad time to be in pharma or specialty pharma sales according to a recent survey conducted by  The survey, which collected responses from over 600 in the field, showed a 4.1% raise year over year for sales reps in pharma and specialty pharma.  This was fairly consistent with the medical sales industry as a whole, which saw about a 5.6% bump in overall salary.

While the pharma group saw a steady pay raise, there is still a significant gap in salary between sales reps in pharma and specialty pharma.  According to the survey, pharma sales reps pulled in an average of about $111K last year while specialty pharma earned about $127K.  Part of the discrepancy can be attributed to difference in commission.  While specialty pharma outperformed pharma by about 9% in base salary, the average yearly commission was almost 30% higher. 

Interestingly enough, the gender gap in salaries was much closer for pharma compared to medical sales as a whole.  For the entire medical sales industry, men out earned women by an average of $148,908 to $120,879.  When it comes to pharma specifically, that gap is much closer at about $124K to $111K.  Still, the contrast in salaries is significant and can largely be attributed to the difference in number of men in sales management positions.  According to the report, men make up almost 80% of those in sales management for pharma. 

Travel also appeared to be a solid indicator of salary.  Those that traveled 50% or 75% of the time tend to earn more than the rest of the field.  However, the field as whole doesn’t appear to spend much time on the road.  The average travel time among respondents was only 17% with almost three quarters indicating they travel less than 10% of the time.

Pharma Sales Income by Gender
Pharma sales: Income by gender
Pharma Sales Income Year over Year
Pharma sales: Year over year income 

The full survey from can be found here.

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