How much will I get paid?

3rd July 2020 |   Joanna Aitkens

Different industries have different pay scales for sales jobs. Research the industries you’re interested in to discover whether they’re a good match for your salary expectations.

In the UK, entry-level sales salaries start at between £18,000 and £21,000, and can rise to £28,000 plus commission. The average entry-level salary is around £24,000.

As you progress through your career, expect middle management and senior base salaries to start at around £45,000 to £100,000 plus £10,000 to £15,000 in commission and bonuses. Jobs at the very top can pay much more.

In the United States, the average entry-level salary for technical sales reps is over $60,000 per year, but sales jobs differ by sector. Overall, entry-level sales jobs range between $20,000 and $80,500 a year, with the average being $44,727 a year. The majority of entry-level jobs range between $32,500 and $50,000 a year.1

Sales representatives made a median salary of $58,510 in 2018. The best-paid 25 percent made $83,980 that year, while the lowest-paid 25 percent made $40,770.2


Be aware that many sales jobs are advertised with “OTE” salaries. “On-target earnings” or “opportunity to earn” may sound enticing but, in practice, mean that the basic salary could be quite low to start with and you’ll only reach the advertised figures by earning commission. Some employers leave commission uncapped so, if you’re successful, these can be lucrative and rewarding jobs.

Extra incentives can include a company car, travel/expense accounts, private health and dental care – and some companies even throw in a gym membership. However, don’t expect this to be an easy job where you can coast: companies expect to get their money back via impressive results from you.

Tech sales and medical reps

North America has seen explosive growth in its tech industries over recent decades and, as companies have grown and developed, the range of products and services being sold has also increased exponentially. Sales jobs in these sectors can often be some of the highest paid and most demanding. The tech sector has seen strong growth in SaaS, cybersecurity, mobility and automation sales. As companies have expanded so too have the places where they operate: while Silicon Valley is an important hub, many sales jobs in these sectors are now located in major US and European cities, in Middle East and African markets, and in Asia.

Another thriving sector is pharmaceuticals, especially with recent scientific advances in areas like gene therapy. With the rapid growth in pharmaceutical and medical markets, medical reps earn an average of £43,000 in the UK and approaching $80,000 in the United States, with significantly more at higher levels.


In contrast, retail jobs are relatively poorly paid. Retail sales associates are frequently hourly paid and typical receive on average around £18,500 a year in the UK. In the Unites States average full-time salary for retail sales staff is $26,992 as of June 2020, with the range typically being between $22,320 and $33,436. Note that salaries can vary widely depending on many factors, such as education, certifications, additional skills, and years of experience.3

1 ZipRecruiter.
2 US News & World Report,

Freelance Journalist at Aitkens Media Ltd | + posts

Joanna Aitkens is the founder of Aitkens Media Ltd., an international digital marketing agency based in the UK, specialising in the medical and technology sectors. She has over 25 years’ experience as a freelance writer and journalist and her work has appeared in a variety of journals, newspapers and websites around the world.

Previously, Aitkens worked as part of a national sales team in real estate and international property relocation. This was followed by field sales roles with software and medical companies, culminating in the role of Sales and Marketing Director for an IT hardware reseller. Her love of the sales process comes from an entrepreneurial spirit fostered from a young age.

As a photographic model in the 1980s and 1990s, Aitkens realised she could earn more if she didn’t have to pay 20% commission to her agent. Unusually for the time, she set herself up as a freelance model and cold-called every photographer and ad agency in London, Paris and New York (this was before the days of being able to Google everything!) sending out mail shots and attending numerous castings. Her hard work paid off and she landed modelling jobs with L’Oreal, Chanel, DeBeers, TV commercials, and also guested on chat shows.

Today, Aitkens works from the rural English countryside of Rutland and is also an accomplished portrait artist in her spare time.