Most employers pay a combination of salaries, commissions, and bonuses. Commissions are usually based on the amount of sales, whereas bonuses may depend on individual performance, on the performance of all sales workers in the group or district, or on the company’s performance. For agents covering multiple areas or regions, commissions also may be based on the difficulty in making a sale in that particular area. Sales revenue is affected by the economic conditions and business expectations facing the industries that tend to advertise. Earnings from commissions are likely to be high when these industries are doing well, low when companies decide not to advertise as frequently. Median annual earnings of sales engineers, including commissions, were $70,620 in May 2004. The middle 50 percent earned between $53,270 and $91,500 a year. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $41,430, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $117,260 a year. Median annual earnings of those employed by firms in the computer systems design and related services industry were $86,980. Median annual earnings of sales representatives, wholesale and manufacturing, technical and scientific products, were $58,580, including commissions, in May 2004. The middle 50 percent earned between $41,660 and $84,480 a year. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $30,270, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $114,540 a year. Salaries of sales worker supervisors vary substantially, depending on the level of responsibility the individual has; the person’s length of service; and the type, size, and location of the firm.
In May 2004, median annual earnings of salaried supervisors of retail sales workers, including commissions, were $32,720. The middle 50 percent earned between $25,120 and $43,110 a year. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $20,110, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $58,400 a year. Median annual earnings of securities, commodities, and financial services sales agents were $69,200 in May 2004. The middle half earned between $40,750 and $131,290.
Facts at a glance
- Overall earnings are higher than average but can vary considerably because they are usually based on a salary plus performance-based commissions and bonuses.
- Pressure to meet monthly sales quotas can be stressful.
- A bachelor’s degree in engineering typically is required; many sales engineers have previous work experience in an engineering specialty.
- Projected employment growth stems from the increasing number and technical nature of products and services to be sold.
Summary of what this career entails
There are many genres on the sales field, which means there are many careers that an individual who wants to go into sales can get into. One example is an advertising sales agent and even that field has more than one duty to go around. An outside sales agent calls on clients and prospects at their place of business, usually their offices. The agent either has an appointment or does something known as cold calling, where they show up without an appointment. An inside sales agent works in the office of his/her employer and handle sales to walk-in customers or call a firm to ask about advertising.
Examples and or details of work
Someone in the field of sales often has to have a competitive attitude because often he/she is working on a commission. There is another reason for competitiveness being a good trait and that is often a sale is like a professional sporting event and the seller competing against the buyer to make a good deal and/or get someone to buy what he/she would otherwise take a pass on.
Degrees that lead to this career
Degrees that lead to a career in sales include engineering, chemistry (for someone looking at the sales engineering field), business and business administration.
Specific Career openings in this field
Specific openings in the sales field include advertising sales agent, sales engineer, sales representatives, and sales worker supervisors.
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2006-07 Edition, Sales Engineers, on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/oco/ocos123.htm
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2006-07 Edition, Advertising Sales Agents, on the Internet at