Of the approximately 1.7 million sales workers employed by wholesalers and manufacturers, about 307,000 sell manufacturing, technical, and scientific products. These wholesaler businesses arrange for the sale of goods owned by others. They do not take title to the goods but generally receive a fee or commission for their service of bringing sellers and buyers together. This industry is dominated by small business operations. The largest employment sectors in this branch of sales are wholesale electronic markets and agents and brokers and professional and commercial equipment and supplies merchant wholesalers. More than 50 percent of wholesale and manufacturing sales representatives work for wholesalers of durable and nondurable goods. The other sector, business to business electronic markets, uses the Internet or other electronic means to connect sellers and buyers. Although the electronic B2B sector has only a tiny share of the industry's establishments and employees, the sector's efficient use of high technology generates more dollar sales per worker than the sector not using electronic markets. Of course, a high-tech workplace also requires a more-skilled workforce; this sector has higher per-worker payroll costs than the low-tech sector.
More than 1 million workers sell things other than manufacturing, technical, and sales products. Among the largest employment sectors in this group are wholesale electronic markets and agents and brokers; machinery, equipment, and supplies merchant wholesalers; and grocery and related product merchant wholesalers.
Of the 1.8 million workers who sell services, the largest shares belong to those selling insurance (475,900) and securities, commodities, and financial services (442,400). Because these kinds of sales are highly regulated, the workers must be licensed. Life and health insurance require one kind of licensure; property and casualty insurance require another. In most states, specific courses are required as preparation for insurance licensing exams, and continuing education is required. Many different kinds of licenses are required for selling the various kinds of securities, commodities, and financial services.
Approximately 369,200 people are employed as real estate sales agents, many of them part time. This is still another licensed occupation, requiring completion of specific courses and a passing score on an exam. Some states also require passing a background check.
You have probably received many phone calls from the one of 134,800 telemarketers. This occupation is one of the lowest-paying in sales and has low entry requirements; one-third of the workers have only a high school education. This, combined with the high-pressure work environment, causes high job turnover.