A project manager is one of the most important roles in a business developing new products, tools, and key initiatives. The role requires a high level of experience and knowledge to carry out a company’s objectives successfully. Fortunately, most companies acknowledge the value of this position, and most project managers can earn a respectable amount of money every year.
Keep in mind that there are multiple ways beyond salary to determine your annual compensation. Health insurance packages, retirement plans, company stock, and other options are all additional benefits to consider.
Whether you’re comfortable with how much you currently make, want to know how you can make more, or are just generally interested in the earnings of project managers, we’ve compiled the data for you in this article.
How would you like a $25,000 pay increase?!?
Within the United States, the annual median salary for a project manager is $116k, but it’s clear that this number can be vastly affected by certifications like the PMP.
Other factors that help determine the median income for your position include what city and country you live in, your education, and what industry you’re working in.
While the low end of $95,000 doesn’t exactly seem like a particularly bad place to start, let’s discuss how you can take control of how much you’re making per year as a project manager.
As we mentioned, there are a few ways to take yourself from the low end of that salary range up to the top. It won’t necessarily be easy, and it definitely won’t happen overnight.
But with effort and determination, being among the highest-paid project managers is an attainable goal within your grasp.
From seeking additional education, to obtaining professional certificates, to assessing whether the city you live in is paying you enough, here are a few strategies for you to control how much you make.
As we saw above, a PMP certification can mean a $25,000 difference in median salary where other factors like experience and credentials are equal, and the median salary is 22% higher on average for respondents with their PMP.
Additionally, 82% of survey respondents hold the PMP certification, showing that the PMP certification is not only a doorway to a higher median salary, but it is also necessary to stay competitive within this field.
It’s also worthwhile to earn your PMP certification sooner rather than later, as the PMI survey shows that median salary increases the longer a project manager holds their certification.
The PMP Exam is a daunting test, and only those who prepare diligently will be able to conquer it. The exam is just shy of four hours and consists of 180 complex questions making the PMP an exclusive certification on your resume. However, passing your PMP exam on your first try is an extremely realistic objective with the proper training and drive.
At Velociteach, we’ve created the best resources and materials for passing the PMP. Our CEO, Andy Crowe, wrote the book The PMP Exam – How To Pass On Your First Try, a book highly regarded as the best PMP prep book available.
While a Master’s Degree in Project Management isn’t explicitly necessary to get a job in the field, it may increase your value to employers.
Further education might seem like a hefty investment, but project managers with a Master’s Degree under their belt typically make more than those with solely a Bachelor’s degree.
The PMI report shows that in the United States, project managers with a Master’s degree have a median annual salary of $120k, compared to a median annual salary of $110,250 for a Bachelor’s degree.
Additionally, the amount of professional experience you have in the project management field will impact your yearly salary. Of course, it depends on the industry in which you work and your qualifications. But, it’s safe to say senior project managers make significantly more than entry-level employees.
The PMI survey showed that within the United States, the median salary for project managers with fewer than 3 years of experience in project management was $83k, compared to a median salary of $135k for project managers with 20 years of experience or more.
Experience within your organization is an important factor to consider as well, and your annual salary will increase as you remain in your current position. Within the PMI survey, almost 3 quarters of respondents showed that their total compensation increased over the course of the year, with over 1 quarter seeing an increase of at least 5 percent.
While project management is a position that exists in many different industries, each one of those industries has its own ecosystem of demand and value.
The PMI report shows that Training/Education and Business Services have the lowest median incomes in the United States overall, while Utility, Resources (Agriculture, Mining, etc.), and Consulting showed the highest median incomes.
Projects in the financial sector and pharmaceutical businesses have some of the highest-paid project managers in the country, as well.
This might seem a little obvious, but the bigger the team you’re managing, the bigger your salary will be.
The PMI survey found that there was a direct correlation between project team size and average salary, with a team of 1 to 4 people yielding a median salary of $108,888 and a team of 20 or more people earning $130,000.
But, a larger team certainly comes with a bigger basket of responsibilities. A project manager of larger initiatives must be able to communicate across departments and with external organizations (vendors, consultants) as the size of the project expands. A larger project means more people and information to track, and more stakeholders to engage and keep satisfied.
But, with more responsibilities comes more income, so there is that tradeoff to consider!
As you are well aware, the cost of living varies from city to city. For project managers, this is typically reflected in salary, but certain cities are just more financially beneficial to live in with the position.
San Francisco reportedly pays project managers the highest salaries. However, with the high cost of living for that Bay Area, you may not come out ahead.
Other cities like Seattle cost almost 20% less to live in on average and only pay slightly lower salaries to project managers.
However, some locations, such as New York City, offer lower salaries to project managers but have higher costs of living.
Where you live depends on many personal factors, but looking into how much you could be making somewhere else could be a big incentive to consider options and potentially relocate.
Ok, don’t go to your boss and bluntly ask for more money on your first day! But, know your value in the market.
The PM position is highly valued today and will only become more valuable in the future, especially if you’re particularly good at your job and aware of other potential opportunities that might pay you more.
Know what you and your skills are worth, especially if you currently work as a project manager and add certifications and education to your resume.
As we know, the average salary for a project manager is around $95k for a non-PMP and $120k for a PMP based on the PMI study. This statistic, along with other relevant data such as team size and average project budget, can help inform the typical median salary for your specific position, experience level, and education level.
Being equipped with accurate data and comparative statistics can provide you the assurance needed to walk into a conversation with your supervisor and begin discussing a pay increase.
Create a well-thought-out plan and start a conversation with your manager regarding your salary. Keep in mind that you’re significantly less likely to get one unless you ask for a raise. So take the shot.
Luckily for anyone interested in pursuing a career in project management or already in the field, project managers are only increasing in demand.
According to a study, the position is expected to grow by over 30% in the next five to ten years. By 2027 employers are expected to need almost 90 million project management style roles, which is excellent news.
So, while it may seem arduous now to take the steps to grow into a top-tier project manager, demand for highly professional and qualified project managers will continue to rise.
As we’ve covered, there are a lot of different methods you can choose from to increase your value and salary as a project manager. Pursuing additional training and higher education might be your first route, and they would definitely be worth your while.
When you work with Velociteach, you receive courses and resources designed specifically to help you prepare for and pass your PMP Exam and earn the Project Management Professional credential. Whether you choose our 4-day boot camp or learn at your own pace with our online courses and self-study resources, you can rest assured that you are preparing with the best. If you’ve already earned your PMP, you can take advantage of our ever-growing library of courses for you to improve your project management skills and earn the PDUs required to maintain the certification.
Moving to a new city might seem intimidating. Even trying to relocate your position to a different industry might seem like a lot. But, if you’re looking to make as much as you can as a project manager, these insights will guide you on your journey. Building yourself up to be the best project manager you can be and maximizing your value to an organization can add a sense of fulfillment and satisfaction to your life.