As Talent Demands More, the Sales Industry Responds With Expanded Benefits

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Given the current state of the sales industry, newcomers have no reason to hesitate. Employers have proven they take care of their sales reps, particularly when it comes to the expansive benefits for parents being rolled out across companies.

For example, in MedReps’ annual salary survey from 2019, only 18 percent of respondents said their employers offered paternity leave. In our 2021 Medical Sales Salary Report , that number jumped to 42 percent.

As we know, the pandemic changed employees’ priorities. Today’s job seekers don’t just want great benefits — they want to work for companies that will adjust their offerings to keep up with real-life demands. MedReps’ data shows the sales industry is doing a stellar job of doing just that.

Still, job seekers entering the sales industry may be nervous about traveling too much, overworking, and missing out on time with their families. It’s up to you to demonstrate that your company prioritizes well-being and helps employees maintain a healthy work/life balance — especially when it comes to working parents, who had it particularly rough during the height of the pandemic.

Here are five benefits to highlight when attracting top talent today:

1. Family Benefits

One of your key selling points will be benefits for parents that relate specifically to children and pets (because furry friends often play a vital part in family life). In addition to paternity leave, consider offering things like adoption assistance, on-site daycare, backup care, pet insurance, and pet-friendly facilities. Leading with the ways your company supports parents will make a great first impression on talent.

According to our 2021 Medical Sales Salary Report, 19 percent of respondents receive pet insurance, and 5 percent have access to on-site daycare. Those numbers may seem small, but these kinds of benefits didn’t really make it into the mainstream until 2019. Previously, the benefits weren’t popular enough for us to ask about them or the number of respondents who received them wasn’t significant enough to report. So while the percentages as they stand now seem small, they actually represent significant growth over just two years.

Take adoption assistance, for example. In 2018, a minuscule portion of respondents indicated their companies provided it. Now, 28 percent of respondents have access!

2. Healthcare Benefits

Healthcare benefits have become standard in nearly every industry for full-time employees, so it’s no surprise that sales reps consistently report excellent coverage. This is pivotal for parents because it protects their wallets and, more importantly, their children. No one should be in a position where they hesitate to bring their child to the doctor because of the cost of care.

The medical sales world contains many contract sales reps who don’t receive such benefits packages from employers. Because we included their responses in our results, the data for healthcare coverage is a little skewed. However, respondents are still reporting better health coverage overall.

For example, we first assessed coverage for telehealth services in our 2019 report, when 15 percent of respondents had that benefit. In 2021, 31 percent of respondents have access to telehealth. Furthermore, there is an increase in companies offering healthy living credits and on-site healthcare.

3. Financial Benefits

According to a 2021 PwC survey, finances are the top stressor for employees in the United States. Given what so many American workers have faced since March 2020, that’s not much of a shock.

There’s a limit to how much financial relief companies can offer through base pay and commission rates, but many companies go the extra mile with perks like profit sharing, stocks, expense accounts, and 401(k)s with matching. These can really lighten the financial burdens of many caregivers.

The availability of profit sharing and stocks fluctuates year to year, which makes sense because these benefits reflect how well a company performs under current market conditions. Expense accounts have been reliable the past decade, consistently available to about 70-75 percent of respondents. 401(k)s are where we see the biggest change: They are currently more widely available than they have ever been in the 10 years we’ve asked about it!

Furthermore, 401(k)s are particularly reassuring benefits for candidates, as they protect their futures and those of their children. There is comfort in knowing one’s retirement is secure.

5. Professional Development Benefits

Granted, professional development is not usually considered one of the most prioritized benefits for parents — but those who commit to upskilling are likely to receive greater job security and raises.

And, in general, employees of all demographics in the labor market consider opportunities for growth critical to job satisfaction. In a 2020 study from ResumeLab, 70 percent of employees said professional development is important or very important. Employees who are supported in their growth and engaged at work will likely be happier and more energized when they return home every day.

Employers in the sales industry are taking the initiative when it comes to professional development. They’ve learned that they must invest in employee development to secure employee loyalty and improve engagement. Thus, benefits like tuition assistance and professional mentorship programs have gained momentum in the last three years. Indeed, the former perk used to be barely available to anyone; this year, 39 percent of our respondents said they had access to it.

It’s particularly heartening to see both tuition assistance and mentorship programs growing more widely available in tandem. It means that learning doesn’t have to occur in a classroom, so more employees will have access to learning opportunities. If an employee wishes to return to school, that can happen! But those who dislike traditional classrooms still have a pathway to development, too. All can participate in growth and learning.

5. Travel Benefits

In medical sales, reps who travel the most consistently earn the highest average total compensation. But that means nothing if it takes away from work/life balance and leads to significant wear and tear on one’s vehicle.

Luckily, travel requirements are decreasing. Our most recent survey found that, in several regions, most reps only travel overnight 10 percent of the time or less. There is a heightened need for travel in the Mountain States, but even then, only about 8 percent of sales reps spend 75 percent of their nights on the road.

In addition to reducing travel requirements, companies are offering more help paying for it. Companies today frequently reimburse reps for gas and mileage. Some provide gas cards and even company cars!

The sales industry is looking out for employees in a holistic way — and that may give sales organizations a leg up amid the ongoing Great Resignation. Employers looking to attract top talent today would do well to follow the industry’s example.

Karyn Mullins is president of Connect with Karyn on FacebookTwitter, and LinkedIn.

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By Karyn Mullins