Q: How much money do pharmaceutical sales representatives earn? What about getting laid off?
A: As far as salary is concerned, my educated guess is that salaries start at the mid to upper 40's, topping off in the high 90's (not including bonus which can go as high as 50% of base salary).
Some super-stars have total earnings of as high as 140K but they are far and few between and likely to have lots of gray hairs (on their head, lol).
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After 10 years, top performers should realistically be making 100K or very close. (not including bonus)
District Managers start in the mid 70's or 80's and top off at about 150K or so depending on tenure and ability with a similar bonus structure to the sales representatives.
You also have to factor in perks such as:
- company car including insurance, tags, gasoline, repairs, tires, car washes, etc (a $5,000/year value).
- Company paid high speed internet access ($40 - $60 per month)
- Company paid garage space (where applicable; in NYC, LA or Boston this can easily be worth $5,000 per year.
- Cell Phone allowance.
- Company lap top, printer, PDA.
- Full benefits medical (usually including IVF), dental, eyeglasses, adoption, prescription benefits, life insurance, disability insurance, accidental death and dismemberment insurance, company matched 401K,
- Paid vacation and holidays (usually in the 4 - 8 week range depending on tenure).
- Incentive trips to places like the Caribbean, cruises, etc.
Most pharmaceutical sales representatives become wealthy from their 401K plans and their stock options rather than from their salaries.
I personally know several successful pharmaceutical representatives who have retired in their mid fifty's or early sixty's with multi-million dollar retirement nest-eggs due to their company's generous benefit packages.
As far as layoffs are concerned, the industry is somewhat cyclical. At the present time we are in the midst of a gold-rush of new product introductions.
If you are hard worker, you do not need to worry about getting laid off. Consider this -- the reps bring in the money -- the rest of the company spends the money. Good reps are always in demand.
See also: When the economy does a downturn, what is the job market like for pharmaceutical sales reps?
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