The movement of talent through voluntary resignation and reorgs has hit every corner of the business world, and the pharma industry is no exception. Leaders across the BioPharma industry say they are struggling to find candidates before competition poaches them and this is particularly acute for biotech in talent havens like Boston or San Francisco – the land of startups.

Boston and Cambridge, MA are home to a large number of biotech firms, offering some of the highest average salaries for life sciences professionals in the country. California’s Bay Area, the biotech hub of San Diego, and the East Coast also offer high salaries to attract talent. Average salaries for full-time employees grew at a rate of 8% from 2021 to 2022, outpacing the 6% growth rate seen in the previous year.

BioPharma Sales Rep Executive Recruiter, Nancy Ragonese, says, “We are seeing even a broader range in 2022 and 2023 sales rep base salaries going from from $100k all the way up to $200k+.”

Why the Large Range for Sales Rep Base Salaries?

Sales rep base salaries depend on therapeutic area, primary vs. specialty vs. hospital and whether or not it is a drug treating orphan disease. The largest sales rep base salaries are being seen in oncology especially for the targeted therapies at startups and smaller biotech companies. Startups and smaller biotech companies are also offering the promise of a large equity payout.

Interestingly enough, the bonus structure has still remained fairly consistent over the years ranging from $30k to $55k for an annual target for sales reps. This variation is again based on therapeutic area, but the real shift has been in base salaries and the expectations of top talent.

HOT Jobs to Target in 2023

Market Access – These professionals are in demand if they have a mix of a marketing and sales background. Market access allows organizations to understand how stakeholders define value and where their portfolio is strong and weak around the world, helping companies to build commercial success by positioning their products in the right way. Strong knowledge of local and global markets is key to any successful market access strategy, as are economic modeling and pricing insights.

Key Account Managers (KAM) – In most pharma companies KAM’s are District Manager level roles, so sales reps can garner a promotion to a higher level role without having had previous people leadership experience usually required for the next step in a sales career.  What is a KAM?  They are generally responsible for creating plans specific to accounts with long-term goals for the entire portfoliio of products offered by a company versus just a single drug.  This is an expansion in breadth of responsibility for the sales rep role and their customer focus includes switching to IDN’s and key accounts.

Oncology Sales Representative –This continues to be one of the most coveted therapeutic areas to enter into within the pharma industry. With so many new and innovative therapies hitting the market and impacting the lives of so many patients it’s no wonder this is still the hottest areas for a sales rep to work in. Those who work in oncology sales are pharmaceutical sales representatives who specialize in selling cancer medications. Oncology sales reps call on physicians and surgeons in doctors’ offices, hospitals, clinics and nursing homes, introducing their drugs and generating orders.

Interested in talking about your compensation or your firm’s salary bands? Contact Smith Hanley Pharma Sales Executive Recruiter, Nancy Ragonese at


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