What are the highest paying sales jobs?

4 mins

highest paying sales jobs

As sales professionals are directly responsible for improving a company’s profits, sales job wages are often higher than average - especially as many popular sales jobs also offer commission.

The highest paying sales jobs are often grown and nurtured rather than earned from day one, as sales professionals build relationships with customers and learn more about the art of making a sale.

This sector has excellent earning potential, with sales jobs in demand across varied industries.

What is a good base salary for sales jobs?

According to Glassdoor, the national average salary for a Sales Professional is £23,686 per year in the United Kingdom as of March 2022. However, Indeed has a slightly higher figure at £26,167 per year, a difference of around £208 per month.

Both of these examples can be considered a good sales salary, as current research from Save the Student estimates the average salary of a Marketing graduate at £23,000.

The base salary for the highest paying sales jobs can vary widely depending on your experience and specialisation. Not surprisingly, a Sales Director can earn on average £72,083 per year in the UK, with Sales Managers at £38,447 per year or more. Typically, these roles require a Bachelor’s or equivalent qualification plus three to five years’ experience in sales.

The highest paying sales jobs can often be found in specialist areas. For example, a manufacturer's sales representative works directly for the manufacturer of the product they sell. They make new connections via existing clients, cold emailing, exploring business directories or attending trade shows and conventions representing the manufacturer. 

As they are required to know everything about the product and be able to answer questions on the fly, they need to be somewhat of a subject matter expert and compensated accordingly. According to Indeed, the base rate for a manufacturer’s sales representative - one of the highest paying sales jobs - is £36,649 per year, significantly higher than other base salaries.

Similarly, pharmaceutical sales representatives sell pharmaceutical products to doctors and other health care professionals. They are required to have specialist knowledge about general health and the products they sell. Because of this, they earn a similar wage to manufacturers’ sales representatives.

Other industries which pay a high base salary for sales jobs include utilities, cars and other vehicles, and financial products.

Do sales jobs pay well?

Yes. Comparatively, sales jobs pay well compared to other jobs at similar levels (entry-level and managerial). This is because the highest paying sales jobs present unique challenges and opportunities other roles do not.

Generally, sales jobs are high-pressure in nature. Many people thrive in this fast-moving, high-stakes environment, and many others hate it. On the other hand, some industries are more high-pressure than others, so don’t give up if your first sales job isn’t for you: you may thrive in a more laid-back sector or more winner-takes-all.

Sales jobs are high-pressure because they are directly responsible for company profits. But, the sales job pay scale starts to climb when you factor in the commissions you earn. A percentage of each sale you make which is paid on top of your base salary, commissions are where the highest sales wages can be found.

A typical commission rate for popular sales jobs starts at about 5%, which usually applies to roles with a generous base salary. The average commission split is 85% base salary and 15% bonus commission in the UK. In the United States, sales jobs are more aggressive, with a typical 60:40 split.

In general, you’ll find companies that offer a higher rate of commission are typically in industries that require in-depth technical skills, and these roles may come with a lower base rate of pay. The highest paying sales jobs are the ones where you work extra hard to earn a commission.

What sales jobs are in demand?

Sales is a sector that is always hiring, so it is nearly always possible to start a career in sales, even with no prior experience or qualifications. Entry-level sales jobs include retail assistants, call centres, and door-to-door sales, and working a few years in one of these could put you on the path to the highest paying sales jobs.

Sales jobs account for 10-20% of the UK’s total employment, a significant portion of the workforce. Leading employers who regularly hire for sales roles include:

  • Amazon
  • BT
  • Coca-Cola
  • EE
  • Mars UK
  • Microsoft
  • Mondelēz International
  • Samsung
  • Virgin Media

As you progress, you may find that the more advanced and highest paying sales jobs require higher education. If this is something you feel you would like to do for your career, it may be worth investing in a training course or two.

Financial sales is a specialism that is always in demand. Beginners’ salaries may start at £30,000 with the potential to fetch upwards of £200,000 commission, making this a very lucrative career and one of the highest paying sales jobs, but one which requires a lot of expert knowledge.

Estate agents and property sales are also an active sector, with growth projected to result in 4% more estate agent roles by 2026.

Currently, there is a shortage of skilled candidates in the UK due to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and the recession. In fact, an MP-led inquiry warns that Britain is suffering from a shortage of salespeople, representing a massive risk to the country’s recovery.

With this, of course, comes a massive opportunity for anyone who wants to enter the sales industry. There has never been a better time to acquaint yourself with sales skills and consider a career path in this exciting field.

Earning the highest paying sales jobs requires dedication, commitment, and a talent for problem-solving. If you enjoy performance-based feedback, a career in sales is right for you.


Looking to grow and enhance your sales team?
Download our latest insight '10 steps to building a successful sales team' to find out how to recruit and enhance the best in sales. 

Looking to strengthen your Business?

Let's Talk