Sales representatives are one of the least happy careers in the United States.

At CareerExplorer, we conduct an ongoing survey with millions of people and ask them how satisfied they are with their careers. As it turns out, sales representatives rate their career happiness 2.5 out of 5 stars which puts them in the bottom 5% of careers.

To put this into perspective, we compared how happy sales representatives are to similar careers in the industry. Take a look at the results below:

Salaries and satisfaction ratings in similar careers

Career Satisfaction Avg Salary
Revenue agent
2.7
$57k
Investment banker
2.7
$73k
Credit counselor
2.6
$48k
Credit analyst
2.6
$77k
Retail manager
2.6
$39k
Sales representative
2.5
$62k
Loan officer
2.5
$63k
Car salesman
2.4
$35k
Retail salesperson
2.3
$29k
Insurance sales agent
2.3
$50k

So what does it mean to be happy in your career? Let’s break it down into different dimensions:

  • Salary: Are sales representatives happy with their salary?
  • Meaning: Do sales representatives find their jobs meaningful?
  • Personality fit: How well suited are people’s personalities to their everyday tasks as sales representatives?
  • Work environment: How enjoyable are sales representative’s work environments?
  • Skills utilization: Are sales representatives making the best use of their abilities?

Are sales representatives happy with their salary?

Sales representatives rated their satisfaction with their salaries 2.9/5. Sales representatives tend to be quite unhappy with their salary, with very few reporting satisfaction with their pay.

We asked sales representatives how fairly compensated they are for their work.
Their response was:

2.9 out of 5 stars

2827 sales representatives

5 Star
13%

13% of sales representatives rated their compensation 5 stars

4 Star
24%

24% of sales representatives rated their compensation 4 stars

3 Star
26%

26% of sales representatives rated their compensation 3 stars

2 Star
20%

20% of sales representatives rated their compensation 2 stars

1 Star
18%

18% of sales representatives rated their compensation 1 stars

Do sales representatives find their jobs meaningful?

On average, sales representatives rate the meaningfulness of their work a 2.2/5. The majority of sales representatives struggle to find any sort of meaning in their work, likely resulting in less satisfaction with the career overall.

We asked sales representatives how meaningful they found their work.
Their response was:

2.2 out of 5 stars

2829 sales representatives

5 Star
5%

5% of sales representatives rated how meaningful they found their career 5 stars

4 Star
9%

9% of sales representatives rated how meaningful they found their career 4 stars

3 Star
20%

20% of sales representatives rated how meaningful they found their career 3 stars

2 Star
29%

29% of sales representatives rated how meaningful they found their career 2 stars

1 Star
37%

37% of sales representatives rated how meaningful they found their career 1 stars

How well are people’s personalities suited to everyday tasks as sales representatives?

Sales representatives rated their personality fit with their work an average of 3.5/5. The majority of sales representatives find their personalities quite well suited to their work, with relatively few having complaints about their fit.

We asked sales representatives how well their personalities fit into their careers.
Their response was:

3.5 out of 5 stars

3171 sales representatives

5 Star
24%

24% of sales representatives rated their career fit 5 stars

4 Star
32%

32% of sales representatives rated their career fit 4 stars

3 Star
24%

24% of sales representatives rated their career fit 3 stars

2 Star
12%

12% of sales representatives rated their career fit 2 stars

1 Star
8%

8% of sales representatives rated their career fit 1 stars

How enjoyable is a sales representative’s work environment?

As a whole, sales representatives rated their enjoyment of their work environment 3.2/5. Most of them tend to enjoy, or at least not be actively bothered by, their work environment.

We asked sales representatives how much they enjoyed their work environment.
Their response was:

3.2 out of 5 stars

3160 sales representatives

5 Star
15%

15% of sales representatives rated their work environment 5 stars

4 Star
28%

28% of sales representatives rated their work environment 4 stars

3 Star
28%

28% of sales representatives rated their work environment 3 stars

2 Star
19%

19% of sales representatives rated their work environment 2 stars

1 Star
11%

11% of sales representatives rated their work environment 1 stars

Are sales representatives making the best use of their abilities?

Former sales representatives on CareerExplorer have rated their skills utilization 2.6/5. Sales representatives tend to feel that they don’t manage to use their abilities to their fullest, when compared to other careers.

We asked sales representatives how well their abilities were used in their careers.
Their response was:

2.6 out of 5 stars

3162 sales representatives

5 Star
8%

8% of sales representatives rated their how well their skills were utilized in their career 5 stars

4 Star
16%

16% of sales representatives rated their how well their skills were utilized in their career 4 stars

3 Star
26%

26% of sales representatives rated their how well their skills were utilized in their career 3 stars

2 Star
28%

28% of sales representatives rated their how well their skills were utilized in their career 2 stars

1 Star
22%

22% of sales representatives rated their how well their skills were utilized in their career 1 stars