A sales agent in any industry is going to need to possess good customer service skills, a high degree of knowledge pertaining to the product being sold and the drive to work the long hours needed to close some sales. Although the work can be grueling wherever you go, sales jobs in different industries can vary greatly in salary and compensation. Specializing in one industry over another can be costing you thousands in salary if you don't do your homework first.
Types of Positions
The job sector referred to as "sales" covers a wide spectrum of positions, some of which are specific to an individual industry. Sales agents involved with securities, commodities or other financial services are projected to have the largest growth among all sales positions; by 2016, open positions for these types of sales agents are projected to grow 25 percent with a median salary of $68,500, according to CNN Living. Other types of positions where open positions are expected to increase include advertising sales agent, demonstrator or product promoter, counter and/or rental clerk as well as sales representative.
Although the responsibilities of a sales agent are fairly uniform from one industry to the next, the sales agent's salary is largely dependent on the overall profitability of the sector in which he works. The largest salaries for sales representatives are earned in the sectors of computer systems design, wholesale electronic markets, drug merchant wholesalers, professional equipment and supplies wholesaler and electrical/electronic goods wholesaler.
Sales jobs are generally better paying in metropolitan locations, which are home to large economic centers that experience large volume commerce. The cities of Dallas, San Antonio, Chicago, Columbus and Portland, are some of the larger job markets for sales jobs. International sales positions are few, but if you have an intimate knowledge of a foreign culture, you might find sales work with an American company that engages in international sales.
Evolution of Sales Jobs
The rise of the Internet and globalization has shifted the roles and responsibilities that a sales agent traditionally had. Sales representatives in any industry must increase their lines of communications among their clients for more responsiveness, and overall sales agents are expected to have more knowledge about their products than in previous years. Instead of simply selling a product, sales professionals focus more today on helping customers solve their business or personal problems in the way that the sales agent knows best.
2016 Salary Information for Wholesale and Manufacturing Sales Representatives
Wholesale and manufacturing sales representatives earned a median annual salary of $61,270 in 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. On the low end, wholesale and manufacturing sales representatives earned a 25th percentile salary of $42,360, meaning 75 percent earned more than this amount. The 75th percentile salary is $89,010, meaning 25 percent earn more. In 2016, 1,813,500 people were employed in the U.S. as wholesale and manufacturing sales representatives.