11 Top Careers in the Perfume Industry (With Salaries)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 6 May 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

The perfume industry offers a diverse range of stimulating and rewarding careers. Its employment opportunities range from science-based roles, such as chemistry, to careers for individuals with creative talent. Discovering the many career pathways in this industry may help you decide on the area of expertise that interests you most. In this article, we discuss 11 top careers in the perfume industry, provide average salaries for each role and explain their daily tasks and duties.

11 top careers in the perfume industry

Here are 11 careers in the perfume industry you may like to consider:

1. Chemist

National average salary: $72,020 per year

Primary duties: Chemists study the composition of matter and its properties. A fragrance chemist, or chief perfumer, is an expert in fragrance ingredients and their smells. They research and experiment with various scents and develop formulas to produce unique smells. An understanding of chemistry allows the perfumer to decipher the properties and reactivity of ingredients when developing a fragrance. They may compose fragrance formulas for all kinds of perfumery products, including home care, cosmetics, shower gels, body lotions and air fresheners for cars.

Related: A Guide on How to Become a Chemist

2. Fragrance consultant

National average salary: $56,401 per year

Primary duties: A fragrance consultant works independently with small and large fragrance houses to implement improvements and increase a company's revenue. As a freelancer, they may assist several companies simultaneously and offer tailored solutions for each client. A fragrance consultant might help a company develop more efficient processes, create a better product or optimise product portfolios. Becoming a fragrance consultant typically requires prior experience in the perfume industry. As they may assist with many facets of a company, their knowledge usually includes all aspects of the industry, from the fragrance itself to marketing and business operations.

3. Laboratory technician

National average salary: $67,233 per year

Primary duties: Laboratory technicians work alongside industry scientists. They typically work within a larger laboratory team and may assist with research, testing and conducting experiments. Within the pharmaceutical industry, including perfume, they may also produce and manufacture a final product. A perfume technician analyses, measures, mixes and blends raw materials into fine oils in the lab. As lab technicians work in a potentially hazardous environment, they're aware of safety protocols and comply with industry standards for accuracy.

Related: How to Become a Laboratory Technician (a Step-by-Step Guide)

4. Laboratory assistant

National average salary: $54,530 per year

Primary duties: Laboratory assistants undertake similar work to technicians. Their role is to assist the technician in testing and producing perfume. This may involve helping to blend the raw materials under the technician's guidance. In addition, lab assistants perform basic analyses of samples, record accurate results and help to prepare, clean and maintain lab equipment.

5. Scientist

National average salary: $89,524 per year

Primary duties: A research and development (R&D) scientist conducts scientific studies and experiments to help develop new technologies or products. An R&D scientist who specialises in synthetics and chemicals may pursue a career in the perfume industry, researching raw materials or developing chemical formulas for synthetic scents. A scientist in the perfume industry executes tests and writes reports on their findings In a laboratory environment. They aim to develop processes and methods that allow the manufacturer to produce ingredients for use on a large, commercial scale.

6. Cosmetician

National average salary: $44,725 per year

Primary duties: A cosmetician is an individual who applies, manufactures or sells cosmetics, including perfume. They have a professional understanding of beauty products and the cosmetic industry. They may work in pharmacies, department stores or other retail beauty chains. While most cosmeticians work at dedicated cosmetic counters in stores, some may sell products door-to-door. Their duties include demonstrating products through promotional videos, consulting with and advising customers about products and keeping customer service records.

7. Sales and marketing manager

National average salary: $76,074 per year

Primary duties: Sales and marketing managers lead a team of professionals in the sales and marketing activities of an organisation. Their duties include researching market trends, developing marketing opportunities, maintaining customer relations and planning and implementing new sales plans. Sales and marketing managers are essential employees in the perfume industry. Like any product, perfume labels or new perfume lines require effective advertising to reach their target market and generate company revenue.

8. Graphic designer

National average salary: $71,697 per year

Primary duties: Graphic designers communicate a concept through visual mediums. They may create a concept by hand or use specialised graphic design software. Companies employ graphic designers to communicate with consumers through inspiring, informative or captivating art forms. Designers use a combination of images, graphics and words. For example, when a perfume company employs a graphic designer as part of its team, they typically assist with advertising campaigns or design the perfume's visual aspects. This might include the product's labelling, imagery or the physical design of the bottle.

Related: 12 Careers in Graphic Design (With Average Salaries and Primary Duties)

9. Retail sales associate

National average salary: $74,788 per year

Primary duties: Retail sales associates assist customers as they shop and undertake daily store operations. They have extensive knowledge of the retail brand and, through their customer interaction, play an important role in the store's success. Their daily duties include greeting customers, answering questions related to products and processing payments or refunds. A retail sales associate role can be a good entry into the perfume industry. They may work at department stores, boutiques or speciality fragrance shops. Primary tasks include recommending fragrances to customers and informing them of the range of scents available.

10. Account executive

National average salary: $86,019 per year

Primary duties: Account executives act as a primary point of contact between a company and the retailers selling its products. The goal is to sell a product or service while maintaining optimum customer satisfaction. In the perfume industry, this means overseeing the sale of fragrance products at designated stores. They coordinate store events and cultivate relationships with store managers and sales associates.

Depending on the size of the fragrance company that employs them, the account executive often looks after several stores. Their job is to increase the sales at each of these stores. While the company pays them a basic salary, they may earn large bonuses when they achieve sales goals.

11. Chief financial officer

National average salary: $155,758 per year

Primary duties: Chief financial officers manage the financial actions of a company. Alongside duties like tracking cash flow and financial planning, they analyse a company's financial strengths and limitations and propose corrections. Large perfume companies typically include a chief financial officer within their executive-level positions. A company typically only considers an individual for this role if they have a record of proven sales success. As the success of fragrance companies lies solely in their sales, the position of a chief financial officer may be crucial to the continuation of a brand.

Related: How to Become a CFO: With Skills and Salary

Skills and qualities for a career in the perfume industry

Here are some beneficial skills and qualities for a perfume-related career:

  • Finely tuned sense of smell: Perfumers and others involved in the perfume industry, such as lab technicians and evaluators, test hundreds of unique fragrances. They may often choose between subtle differences in scent, which requires an excellent sense of smell.

  • Interest in science: An interest in science or chemistry and an aptitude for scientific concepts can benefit a career in the perfume industry. If you're directly involved in the perfume's creation, your role may require familiarity with raw materials and an understanding of chemical reactions.

  • Creativity: Marketing perfume requires a team of creative people, such as copywriters and graphic designers. Therefore, an eye for design and a unique creative perspective are important qualities for a career in perfumery.

  • Insight into consumers: Companies require someone with insight into consumer trends to market perfume effectively. Perfumery marketers understand what the customer wants and have a broad understanding of how the cosmetic industry works.

  • Patience and persistence: There's considerable trial and error involved in making perfume, especially for the head perfumer and evaluators. You may trial hundreds of combinations before finding the right notes for a fragrance, so patience and persistence are crucial skills.

  • Communication: Several people may work to produce one new perfume product, so effectively communicating your ideas is a key skill. Clear communication allows the production team to discuss opinions on a particular fragrance or explain the unique combination of scents they require to the lab technicians.

  • Manual dexterity: Being dexterous is especially important for those working in labs with chemicals and raw materials. You can expect to spend much of your time as a lab technician or assistant working with complex, specialised laboratory equipment.

Salary figures reflect data listed on Indeed Salaries at time of writing. Salaries may vary depending on the hiring organisation and a candidate's experience, academic background and location.

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