Medical Sales Rep Commission Plummets

June 7, 2017
Michelle Maskaly
Pharmaceutical Executive

Average total compensation, base salary for medical sales reps rise, according to study.

A new study shows that while the average total compensation and the base salary for a medical sales rep continues to rise, average commission is down about $10,000 from last year.’s 2017 Medical Sales Salary Survey shows that total compensation went from $145,147 in 2016 to $147,424 in 2017. Breaking that down, base salary went from $88,038 to $95,791 in the past year, while commission dropped from an average of $63,976 to $53,405.

The MedRep team told Pharm Exec they speculate the drop can be attributed to industry consolidation, and as that has happened, commission structures have likely changed

“When enticing a salesperson to leave a company to join another, perhaps they're offering a higher base salary which is more guaranteed of course than promising a bonus,” they said through a spokeswoman.

Digging deeper into the survey, sales directors/sales vice presidents made an average base of $151,769 and an average commission of $62,061, while sales management professionals made an average base of $122,342 and an average commission of $63,691. National Account Managers made an average base of $124,810 and an average commission of $58,039, according to the survey.

Taken by almost 3,000 employed medical sales professionals, the survey revealed that medical or surgical devices (35%), followed by pharmaceuticals (15%), were sold by most of the respondents. The highest average total compensation, however, was pulled in by those who sell health IT or software, biotechnology, followed by medical or surgical devices.

Interestingly, those who sold biotechnology accounted for 8% of the respondents, while health IT or software accounted for 2%.

The 2017 report also looked at how markets impacted earnings. The top market segments included surgery or operating room, pharmacy, and hospitals; and the lowest earners worked in nursing homes, home health, and rehabilitation.

When it comes to experience, it’s not surprising that those with over 20 years in the field make a lot more than those with a lesser number under their belt. Their average total compensation is $168,983, versus $101,175 for those with less than two years experience.

Broken down by gender, women make 83% of men’s average total compensation, $154,347 on average compared to $128,355, according to the survey. However, less than half of the respondents, 30%, were female.

The survey also found that, generally speaking, the more the professional traveled, the more they made.

In fact, those who didn’t travel earn $83,799, the lowest average base salary. However, their average total compensation was $129,876. 

That figure was far less than those who travel 10% of the time. They earn $142,717, and those who travel 50% of the time make $169,669.