How Your Age Could Affect Your Income in Pharmaceutical Sales

While pharmaceutical sales jobs may not be among the highest paying jobs in the medical sales field, the average pharma sales rep salary is impressive by most standards. According to MedReps’ 2015 Medical Sales Salary Report, the average pharmaceutical sales salary is currently $116,334, and the average specialty pharmaceutical salary is $134,414, for a combined average of $124,622 per year.

MedReps’ salary report highlights some very important numbers and figures that expands upon much more than simply the average annual salaries for pharmaceutical sales reps. Among them include income by job title, income by company size, income by gender, and income by age. The latter, of which will be the focus of this particular article.

Pharmaceutical Sales Income: It’s An Aging Process

Most pharmaceutical sales reps have to pay their dues before earning a “big” salary. Those in their 20s and those with fewer than 2 years of experience report average earnings below $100k per year. Income gradually increases as professionals age and as they gain experience (see below), with the highest earners coming from the 60-and-over group as well as those with 20+ years of experience. Below is a comparison of average annual salaries as they relate to age:

Ages 20 – 30: $63,907 (average base salary) + $26,093 (average commission) = $90,000.

Ages 31 – 40: $85,042 (average base salary) + $34,852 (average commission) = $119,895.

Ages 41 – 50: $98,182 (average base salary) + $35,216 (average commission) = $133,397.

Ages 51 – 60: $99,398 (average base salary) + $33,694 (average commission) = $133,031.

Ages 60+: $99,091 (average base salary) + $43,409 (average commission) = $142,500.

Experience: A Key Factor

Generally speaking, most reps that happen to be of older age that are making higher salaries than younger reps are also seasoned sales reps. This basically means that while they may be older, they also have a longer resume and quite a bit more experience in the pharmaceutical sales field. That alone, not simply age, typically warrants a higher salary. Let’s take a look at the pharmaceutical sales report and how experience plays into the salary discussion:

Less than 2 years: $66,172 (average base salary) + $19,453 (average commission) = $85,625.

2 – 5 years: $73,568 (average base salary) + $31,463 (average commission) = $105,031.

6 – 10 years: $82,716 (average base salary) + $39,485 (average commission) = $122,201.

11 – 20 years: $98,845 (average base salary) + $33,680 (average commission) = $132,504.

20+ years: $110,397 (average base salary) + $41,144 (average commission) = $151,541.

Obviously, being older doesn’t necessarily translate into earning a higher salary as the “experience factor” proves. It also appears that equal parts of age and experience go hand in hand in helping pharmaceutical sales reps make high salaries.

The Big Picture

The good news is that the average income for those with pharmaceutical sales jobs continues to increase, no matter what age group they fall under. In fact, the average total pharmaceutical sales salaries for 2015 are up almost 5% over the 2014 average. After a dip in 2013, the average pharmaceutical rep salary appears to be coming back stronger than ever. Pharma sales jobs continue to be highly sought-after, not simply as a way to break into medical sales, but as a solid career opportunity with plenty of room for growth.

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