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Job Profile: Advertising Sales Agents

Bureau of Labor Statistics

Job Description:

Advertising sales agents—often referred to as account executives or advertising sales representatives—sell or solicit advertising primarily for newspapers and periodicals, television and radio, websites, telephone directories, and direct mail and outdoor advertisers. Because such a large share of revenue for many of these media outlets is generated from advertising, advertising sales agents play an important role in their success.

More than half of all advertising sales agents work in the information sector, mostly for media firms including television and radio broadcasters, print and Internet publishers, and cable program distributors. Print publications and radio and television stations employ local sales agents who are responsible for sales in an immediate territory, while separate companies known as media representative firms sell advertising space or time for media owners at the national level with their own teams of advertising sales agents. Sales agents employed in media representation work exclusively through executives at advertising agencies, called media buyers, who purchase advertising space for their clients that want to initiate national advertising campaigns.

National Median Salary:

Including commissions, median annual earnings for all advertising sales agents were $42,750 in May 2006. The middle 50 percent earned between $29,450 and $63,120 a year. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $21,460, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $91,280 a year.

Education Requirements:

Some employers, large companies in particular, prefer applicants with a college degree, particularly for sales positions that require meeting with clients. Courses in marketing, leadership, communication, business, and advertising are helpful.

Job Outlook:

Advertising sales agents national employment

2006: 170,000
2016 Projection: 205,000
Growth in ten years: 35,000 more positions, or a 20% growth