• “Same position in my company has better pay.”
• “For the amount of work and responsibility of the work
I do, it does not seem to be enough.”
• “The market shows higher compensation for those in
similar positions. Will begin looking for additional
opportunities within the next year.”
• “Every day comes more responsibilities and when raise
time comes the company’s cost have gone up, and
therefore can’t afford to give raises.”
The 2017 sales/sales management group was considerably
older than in 2016, bucking the stats that suggest Millennials
and Gen X employees are comprising a growing percentage of
distribution jobs. Only 17 percent of the 2018 sales
respondents are under the age of 40—the same number as
the 2017 survey. The number of 2018 respondents who are at
least 60 years old dropped nine percentage points year-over-year to almost 19 percent, while those aged 50-59 years old
moved up about five points to just over 38 percent. Eighty-nine percent of respondents are male this year—up two points
from the 2017 and 2016 surveys.
Some other demographic stats from our 2017 sales group:
• Nearly 19 percent of the sales respondents come from
the U.S. Northeast; 33 percent are from the Midwest;
around 21 percent are from the South; 16 percent are
from the West; and 11 percent are from outside the U.S.
• The largest chunk of respondents—37 percent—work
for companies with at least $500 million in annual sales
revenue; 21. 5 percent work for companies with
$100-500 million; 23. 5 percent are at companies with
$25-100 million; and 18 percent are at companies
achieving less than $25 million.
• The number of sales respondents who say they have no
college education has dropped from 11. 5 percent in
2017 to almost 10 percent in 2018. The sales group is
typically the least educated out of the three pools, and
this year’s results continue to validate that fact further.
Respondents with a college degree (just over 45 percent)
or graduate degree (almost 18 percent) sits at 63
percent, compared to 80 percent for executives and 67
percent for mid-level managers.
Travelling is synonymous with most salespeople, in almost
any industry. Our survey indicates this year’s sales group
travelled less often than last year. Fifty-one percent of this
year’s group say they spend at least 20 percent of their job
time travelling—down four points from the 2017 survey. Just
over 32 percent travel 20 to 50 percent of the time, and
almost 19 percent travel more than 50 percent of the time.
The amount who say they don’t travel at all has declined
steadily in recent years, from 17 percent in 2014 to less than
eight percent this year.
The amount of our sales respondents who work on
commission had increased steadily over the last four years,
from 49 percent in 2014 to 55 percent in 2017, but this year
that number has dropped to 47 percent. The sales group
respondents receiving a base salary in indicated an average of
just over $87,500, a drop from 2017’s average salary of
$90,000, but still up considerably from 2016’s $75,000.
Additional compensation, including bonuses, 401K
contributions, education reimbursement, and other additional
cash stays about the same as 2017 at nearly $19,500—which
is still a good bump from the $17,600 of the 2016 group.
The amount of this year’s sales respondents who say they
faced a salary or benefits cut—almost 19 percent—is just
over a one point drop from the year before, while the
amount who didn’t receive a raise in the past year also
dropped one point to 39 percent.
The amount of our sales group respondents who say their
job demands increased in the past year went up again this
year to just over 83 percent. This number is up nine points
from 2017 and up 17 points from 2016. This might be
concerning news as only 48.5 percent of this year’s group
feel they are faced with adequate job growth opportunities
with their company—down 3. 5 percent from 2016 and
down 12. 5 percent from 2017.
The percentage of the sales group that said they feel fairly
compensated has dropped eight percent to 58 percent in
2018. That number had been previously climbing from a low
24 INDUSTRIAL DISTRIBUTION / November/December 2018
“I AM NOW