Income and benefits
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for sales representative in the United States was $62,070 in 2020. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $31,950 annum and the highest 10 percent earned more than $129,200. For those who can sell technical and scientific products, the median annual wage was $86,650 in 2020.
The top paying industries, for both technical and nontechnical sales representatives, includes: wholesale electronic markets and agents and brokers, manufacturing, merchant wholesales and durable goods.
Autonomy and Flexibility
Sales representatives will feel autonomy to a certain level. They will often be in charge of following leads, contacting clients and following up post-sale. However, they will always be responsible for meeting sales targets and must report to sales managers, as a result, their autonomy is limited.
Similarly, although sales representative will have some flexibility over their decisions and how they plan day, they will ultimately have to work as many hours as it takes to meet sales targets.
Locations and commute
According to Zippia, the best states to be a sales representative, based on average annual salary and the number of jobs available, are:
- Pennsylvania, where the average annual salary is $69,679
- New Jersey, where the average annual salary is $73,282
- Massachusetts, where the average annual salary is $74,534
- Rhode Island, where the average annual salary is $66,925
- New Hampshire, where the average annual salary is $71,264
The worst states to be a sales representative, according to Zippia, are Utah, West Virginia, Louisiana, New Mexico and Oklahoma.
Sales representative who cannot sell technical or scientific products held about 1.4 million jobs in the United States in 2019. The top paying industry was merchant wholesalers and durable goods, which employed 32% of nontechnical and nonscientific sales representatives. For technical and scientific sales representatives, they held around 321,000 jobs in 2019. Their largest employer was professional and commercial equipment and supplies merchant wholesales, which employed 19% of all technical and scientific sale representatives.
Some sales representatives will have large territories to cover and will travel a lot, this may mean that they are away from home a lot. Other sales representatives may spend a lot of time sat at their desk in an office or at their home, where they are on the phone selling goods or handling complaints. Whichever work environment a sales representative works in, they will find that they are under a considerable amount of stress. Their income and job security often depend on their ability to set goals and sell products, which is not suited to everyone.