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Want a huge raise, as soon as possible? Hope you work in sales

A saleswoman talks to customers at a Nissan dealership in Jakarta, Indonesia.
Reuters/Enny Nuraheni
Money might buy happiness.
By Melvin Backman
Published Last updated This article is more than 2 years old.

It’s a bit unclear exactly where overall wage growth is going American workers. But there is one place where it’s really jumping. Sales. Yes, sales. Sales and related occupations had year-over-year wage-and-salary growth of 6.2% in the first quarter, compared to a 2.6% rate for all workers. Stripping out the effect of incentive-based pay—many sales jobs are based on on commissions—overall US wage-and-salary growth was up an even-more-muted 2.2%, year-on-year.

Younger American workers have been avoiding the occupation (paywall) like the plague these days because they think it’s too volatile. It’s not that they’re wrong — sales pay actually shrank in the recession while growth simply slowed down  everywhere else — but the upside of volatile pay is that when the going’s good it’s really good. If you’ve the kind of person who responds to incentive-pay and you’ve got an iron stomach, a sales job isn’t a terrible option.

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