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Helping College Students Understand How Sales Jobs Are Paid

A recent Wall Street Journal article (“Why It’s Hard to Fill Sales Jobs”, by Lauren Weber, February 5, 2015) suggested five reasons why sales jobs are hard to fill with young workers, as follows:

  • They view Sales as risky and defined by competition
  • They are reluctant to enter a career where success depends on hitting a number
  • They don’t view Sales as a profession – it suffers from that age old stereotype in “Death of a Salesman”
  • They want stable pay; campus job fairs that tout opportunities for “tremendous variable compensation packages” for Sales jobs are not always attractive to potential applicants
  • They want a clear career path, one that provides a roadmap to work their way up in the business.

As the article suggests, companies have their work cut out for them when it comes to recruiting and hiring talented young workers who shy away from Sales. Many companies are rethinking their compensation strategies to appeal to young people who show interest in Sales and the article discusses some prevalent trends in that regard. While we agree that such rethinking is a good thing, we believe that college students interested in Sales must acquire a better understanding about how sales jobs are paid. By senior year, it may be too late; thus, we have encouraged educational institutions that offer sales programs to begin to acquaint students in their sophomore year with how sales compensation works particularly in B2B sales environments.

Originally prepared by Mary Fiss for the students at The Ralph & Luci Schey Sales Centre at Ohio University, “Sales Compensation Essentials for the New Sales Person” provides a basic foundation for what college students need to know about sales pay. If you are in a position to influence how job candidates or young workers think about sales pay, we suggest you refer them to this brief slide presentation as one source of information when considering a career in Sales.

Go to SlideShare to see a copy of “Sales Compensation Essentials for the New Sales Person: Helping College Students Understand How Sales Jobs at Paid”, by Mary S. Fiss