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Sales executive: Salary and conditions

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  • Salaries and commission rates vary considerably in sales, but as a guide, basic salaries start in the range of £20,000 to £30,000.
  • Mid-range salaries with approximately three to five years' experience are usually around £28,000 to £40,000.
  • At senior level, you can earn a basic salary of £30,000 to £60,000.
  • Commission or bonuses can add £2,000 to over £100,000 to a basic salary, depending on the industry and product and the location and level of individual success.
  • Salaries are usually a combination of a basic salary (a guaranteed amount, regardless of sales made) and a bonus or commission (an amount based on the quantity sold). The combined amount is often referred to as on-target earnings (OTE). The salary shown in a job advert is often the OTE.
  • Commission may be calculated as a percentage of or a flat rate for every sale. It can be capped or uncapped.
  • A bonus is usually a set cash amount paid only if a sales executive reaches a sales target within a defined period. As well as cash, a bonus may take the form of a prize, for example, cinema tickets or a holiday.
  • Commissions and bonuses may be calculated and paid on a monthly, quarterly or annual basis. Rates may differ depending on whether the sale was from a new or existing customer.
  • Working hours vary according to sector but are generally quite long, with the pressure to meet targets making late finishes a regular part of the job, especially at the end of the employer's financial quarter or year.
  • Conditions of work vary widely according to the field in which you operate. For example, if you work in export, you could be based in the UK or overseas and may often have to use your hotel as an office or base.
  • Many sales executives work from home, transmitting orders, reports and sales analyses to the office on a regular basis.
  • As considerable travel is often required, many employers provide a company car, petrol allowance or subsidised mileage in your own car.
  • Work on a commission-only basis is also available, which means working without a basic salary and having an income based entirely on sales.
  • Career breaks may be an option but can be difficult to arrange because of the need to maintain contacts. Part-time work may be possible.
  • Sales executives are generally expected to look professional and smart, particularly when liaising with clients.
  • Sales is a male-dominated industry.
  • Sales executives work in a range of markets, so jobs are quite widely available and there are employment opportunities in most areas of the country.
  • The requirement to meet and exceed targets makes this a demanding role and gives rise to frequent pressure.
  • Travel within a working day, overnight absence from home and overseas work are all common. The constant travel, sometimes with overnight stays or longer business trips, may affect your social and personal life.
  • The working culture created by management and colleagues can often be competitive.

Salary figures are intended as a guide only.

There are 51 jobs available in sales

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Written by AGCAS editors
July 2015

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