Earnings of advertising sales agents

January 07, 2005

Selling advertising space is the job of advertising sales agents, who are often called account executives or advertising sales representatives.

Annual earnings of advertising sales agents, May 2003
[Chart data—TXT]

The duties of advertising sales agents vary somewhat, depending on the type of sales calls they make. Their jobs may also differ based on the advertising medium they sell—graphic art, custom-made signs, television and radio advertising time, newspaper and magazine space, or some other medium.

Most employers pay an advertising sales agent using a combination of salary, commissions, and bonuses. Salary varies by geographic location but is generally no more than half of a sales agent’s total compensation. Commissions are usually based on a percentage of the agent’s sales. Bonuses are lump-sum Ϭnancial awards based on individual performance, the performance of all sales agents in a group, or the Ϭrm’s overall performance.

Median annual earnings for all advertising sales agents were $38,640 in May 2003, including commissions and bonuses. The lowest paid 10 percent earned less than $19,920, and the highest paid 10 percent earned more than $87,360 per year. In addition to earnings, advertising sales agents usually get reimbursed for expenses associated with making sales visits, such as transportation costs and meals.

These data are from the Occupational Employment Statistics program. For more information, see "Sellers for the sellers: Advertising sales agents" by Gregory Niemesh, Occupational Outlook Quarterly, Fall 2004. Note about the chart: deciles divide the dataset into 10 equal-size groups and quartiles divide the dataset into 4 equal-size groups.


Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, Earnings of advertising sales agents on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2005/jan/wk1/art05.htm (visited October 22, 2014).


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