A Best Buy sales associate holds an iPad on the sales floor of a busy store.

A sales associate demonstrates an Apple iPad. Technology-related roles are a growing field within sales. Image from Wikimedia Commons.

More than 14 million Americans have sales jobs, including 1.5 million Californians. From retail outlets to B2B sales that power major corporations, salespeople are on the frontlines of the consumer-driven economy. Here’s a look at some high-paying careers in this field.

Think of sales jobs and you might picture the cashier at your local convenience store. Yet thousands of sales positions exist in such diverse industries as finance, construction, hospitality and manufacturing.

“Professional selling is among the most common types of jobs for graduating business students,” says Mark Mantey, co-director of Mihaylo’s Sales Leadership Center, which provides networking opportunities, sales competitions and career training for Cal State Fullerton students interested in developing sales skills. “Some research shows that as many as 60% of all business majors and 88% of all marketing majors start their career in a sales-related role.”

The Current Sales Landscape

According to Career Builder, 36% of employers reported that they would hire full-time salespeople in 2015, an increase from previous years. Yet the survey also found that employers were having difficulty filling positions, at least partly because many younger workers are hesitant to take sales jobs due to misconceptions about pay and the memory of the Great Recession.

However, Mantey notes that sales can be a lucrative career, even at the entry level, for young professionals. “Starting salaries for sales positions hired through the Sales Leadership Center average $52,000,” he says. “While employment rates remain flat for recent college graduates overall, many university sales programs report placement rates for their students above 95%, with some reporting 100% placement.”

Mark Mantey, the co-director of the Mihaylo College Sales Leadership Center.

Mihaylo Sales Leadership Center Co-director Mark Mantey notes that sales positions provide an entry to business careers for many students.

A Look at Eight High-Paying Sales Careers

According to Monster.com, the following are eight of the highest-paid sales careers.

Consulting Sales

Accounting knowledge is preferred for salespeople that will bring in the biggest contracts for consulting companies. High GPA university graduates are in demand for these roles.

Consumer Packaged Goods Sales

Sales roles are growing in this field, which includes products sold through grocery and ethnic markets.

Digital Media Sales

Everything digital is growing in today’s economy and sales is no different.

Medical Device Sales

As America’s population ages and medical technology powers a revolution in healthcare, medical device sales is a growing field and is an option for even entry-level workers.

Outsourced Services

It’s not just call centers any more – corporations are outsourcing roles such as maintenance, human resources and payroll. With this trend comes a sales opportunity for both entry-level and mid-career workers to sell these services to corporations.

Software Sales

Workers in this field generally need a university education, with IT and marketing majors most often considered. You’ll need some technical know-how, but the rewards are well worth it.

Startup Business Development

This is risky business – selling startups is far from a secure job, yet you can put your business education to work and possibly strike it rich with an unlimited income potential.

Telecommunications Sales

Careers in this field often begin by selling cable services to businesses, which can open doors to higher-paid roles selling security or network services to commercial clients.

Mihaylo’s Sales Leadership Center

Named one of the Top Universities for Professional Sales Education by the Sales Education Foundation, Mihaylo College’s Sales Leadership Center offers the Certificate of Professional Sales program for students of all majors. The four-course program includes participation in a sales competition and attendance at networking events. For more information, visit the center online or at SGMH 5357B.

Leave a Reply