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What matters to a Medical Sales Representative? A look at job satisfaction

Posted on: 16 Aug
Working in Sales can be hard, but it comes with its own set of benefits that are attracting people to the role in ever-larger numbers. This counts doubly for the Pharmaceuticals industry: in a sector that’s growing rapidly, both across the UK and worldwide, Medical Sales Representatives are in more demand than ever. 

However, the sector is also changing. With new trends in customer behaviour, new sources of competition, and changing laws and regulations, the role of the Medical Sales Representative is in a state of great flux. With revenue at Medical Device companies expected to grow between 4-5% over the next few years, and the Pharmaceutical industry expanding rapidly, what do Medical Sales Representatives think of their jobs?

The site MedReps recently released their 2018 Job Satisfaction Report for people within Medical Sales, and the results- along with wider industry trends- make for interesting reading.


Despite new challenges within the Medical Sales industry, the most surprising thing might be that there’s more job satisfaction among its employees than ever before. There’s been an almost 50% decrease in the number of Medical Sales Reps looking for a new job, and, correspondingly, 76% of those representatives are very satisfied with their jobs. Given that the UK has one of the lowest levels of workplace satisfaction in the world, that’s quite a surprising result. 

What’s behind it? High salaries have long been a driver of popularity within Medical Sales, of course- and though base salaries can be relatively low, you can supplement and more than double your pay rate with performance-related bonuses and pay. However, the chance to sell products that they believe in also plays a large part in driving happiness: after all, in Medical Sales, you have the chance to sell medical products to people it can really benefit, and the survey respondents found this to be one of their key motivating factors.


However, what seems to be equally as important as pay for many Sales Reps is actually their desire for a work-life balance and a strong team ethic. In fact, 76% of them cite work-life balance as the most important thing an employer can have when applying for new jobs, alongside the benefits that come with the job. Next a high salary and bonuses, many reps also cite things like a company car, reduced membership for gyms and stock shares as one of the main reasons that they enjoy their job. This seems to be following a trend: with more and more millennials making their way into the workforce, encouraging a healthier working lifestyle and perks to attract star hires has moved to the forefront of employer’s minds.

However, the survey also threw up some interesting results concerning team building. After all, having a strong team might not be the first thing you think of when it comes to Sales Reps, especially as many of them spend the majority of their job on the road. However, being given the opportunity to develop and grow, and to collaborate with employees, features highly on many of their lists- and with 74% of employees of the opinion that they’re not reaching their full potential, employers would do well to provide those opportunities for their staff.

What’s changing?

While this report may be painting a rosy picture of the worldwide Medical Sales industry, there are also changes that need to be addressed. The sector is becoming much more digitised, and this rapid increase in information is leading to a change in the role of the Medical Sales Rep. Today, they’re more likely to be an advisor to their clients than an outright Salesperson- especially as many of these clients now have the knowledge at their fingertips to inform themselves about many of these products via the Internet. This, combined with changing legislation and regulations about the status of the Pharmaceutical industry in the UK, is causing unease about the future, which may well linger until well into the 2020s. 

Gender equality in healthcare still remains a big issue, too. There is a massive disparity between the salaries that women and men are paid, some still in places like the NHS and Pharmaceutical companies, and women are absent from many of these firms’ boards. With eight to ten UK firms paying men more, even in sales, it’s about time for a change. Though some women have ascended to Pharma boards, such as Emma Walmsley for GSK, increasing awareness of this gap will hopefully lead to more change in the future.

Looking to the future

As we head into the second half of 2018, it’s clear to see that the future is bright for Medical Sales Representatives. With work-life balance moving to the forefront of their priorities- alongside training and team bonding- it’s clear that employers need to work on their company culture if they want to keep attracting the best talent in the market. At IQVIA CSMS, we do just that, connecting the best candidates in the market to the best jobs.

Discover more insights in our articles, or start your job search here.