Report: Project Manager Salary Guide

What is a project manager worth? Are you being compensated in line with your peers? Salary data can often be a black box, even with websites that report on their job match salaries. There’s a range of nearly $20,000 between some sites’ averages! But with some meta-analysis of the different data sets out there, you can come to a better understanding of the marketplace, and adjust your expectations accordingly. We here at PMOTalk are here to help! Our report: the definitive data on average project manager salary.

The Data: Average Project Manager Salary

It is hard to nail down data that is consistent across the board when it comes to identifying the average project manager salary. Different studies and surveys have returned different results. Some of this is due to sorting – some reports lump all project managers into one box, and average the entire industry out. Others segment project managers by experience, title, niche (IT, construction, etc.). Still, by looking at the overall picture, it is possible to come to a clear picture of what a project manager is worth in today’s modern business environment.

The average project manager salary for 2018 the United States is $90,337 per year. If you’re an IT project manager, that jumps to six digits – $106,579. (Source: Glassdoor)

Payscale reports the average project manager salary, for unspecified/general project management, is $72,016. They also add the average additional compensation for this job: Bonus – $4,924, Profit Sharing – $2,914, Commission – $7,778.

The Digital Project Manager lists the average project manager salary as $81,799. It highlights Palo Alto, California, as the location with the highest average project manager salary – a whopping $115,336! It also breaks down the averages by title:

  • Project Coordinator: $44,041
  • Project Manager: $72, 568
  • Senior Project Manager: $93,765
  • Project Director: $108,823
  • Head of Project Management: $137,942

Salary.com reports a salary range for three tiers of project manager, and three tiers of IT project managers.

  • Project manager, first tier: $63,054 – $84,060
  • Project manager, second tier: $82,352 – $108,002
  • Project manager, third tier: $100,154 – $127,019
  • IT project manager, first tier: $71,897 – $95,623
  • IT project management, second tier: $90,464 to $113,809
  • IT project management, third tier: $108,688 to $131,846

Indeed.com lists the average project manager in the United States, based on their internally generated data through their website, at $79,343.

Salary Trend: Looking Up!

PMI’s annual salary survey revealed that

“salary increases over the past 12 months and lists expected salary increases over the next 12 months. Among its key findings: More than two-thirds of survey participants (70%) report that their total compensation (including salary, bonus, and other forms of compensation) increased over the 12 months prior to completing the salary survey. About one-quarter (26%) reported increases of at least 5% over that time period.”

Overall, this is a positive trend! Salaries are growing as the need for project management in the ever-increasingly complex business world grows.

Unpacking The Data: Certification And Project Size Can Matter

Project Management Hacks shows that work experience makes a massive difference to salary expectations, utilizing data gathered by PMI.

project manager salary experience

PMI’s salary survey showed that PMP certified project managers earned more than project managers without certification. The report states “The median salary among survey respondents holding the PMP certification in the U.S. was 25% higher than the median salary of those without the PMP certification ($115,000 versus $92,000).”

The same survey also revealed a correlation between project size and project manager salary – the bigger the project you managed, as determined by size of the team, the bigger your compensation will be. If you’re climbing the ladder towards the hour requirement for the PMP, or even CAPM, this is a way to grow your salary during the journey.

Looking To The Future: Mega-trends

APM took a survey that identified seven mega-trends that will affect the industry moving forward. Here is what the respondents pointed to:

  1. Digital construction and project complexity – 55%
  2. Changing corporate culture – 51%
  3. Global and virtual teams – 49%
  4. Automation and human/machine collaboration – 40%
  5. Diversity of the workforce – 30%
  6. Open innovation culture – 28%
  7. None – 6%

Conclusions: Position Yourself For Success

  • Focus on mastering the skill set needed in the coming future – managing remote teams, AI and machine collaboration, cultural competency, dealing with project complexity effectively
  • It’s a long journey, but your experience is valuable! Your expectations should increase with experience
  • PMP certification is a powerful way to increase your earnings
  • The trend is pointing up, and your salary should grow with the trend

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