Project management is lucrative. And even more profitable if the job is tough and complicated. So you never work for pennies.
You probably know it. Projects need detailed planning followed by meticulous execution.
This is why project managers earn enviable salaries.
And certified project managers command even higher earnings.
If you’re new to project management and wondering where to start, this article is for you. We’ll discuss project managers’ salaries across factors based on PMI salary report- 10th Edition like
Let’s discuss these factors in detail.
Where you live influences your income. Each country presents its unique mix of certification, labor, government and professional hurdles. Project managers face these realities too.
Switzerland has the highest average salary for people in this line of work. Project managers earn about US$130,000.
The US comes next to Switzerland.
Project managers take home US$112,000 annually in the States.
Australia is the third highest paid.
The average salary there is US$108,000.
At US$10,000 a year, Egypt is the country with the smallest mean income for project managers.
The image below reflects project managers’ salaries by country. The deeper the green, the higher the average income per country.
All project managers, regardless of gender, earn about the same amount of money until the age of 30.
After that age, salaries diverge. Most countries experience a 23.4 percent salary increase for men over women in their late thirties.
Here’s a graphical representation of male and female project manager salaries in the US, UK, UAE, Malaysia, India, Hong Kong, and Australia.
Most organizations group project managers into three levels. Project Manager one, Project Manager two, and Project Manager three.
Apart from hierarchy, these levels also reflect pay increase. People holding project manager one positions earn less than those in project manager two levels.
The highest earners are usually people in project manager three positions.
How much precisely do these project managers earn?
Well, the figures differ by country, as the graph above reveals. But here’s what you’d expect for some of the highest earners.
This is the entry-level project manager position.
They take home an average of US$87,426 and need less than three years of working experience in this field.
These intermediate position holders must have over three but less than five years of work experience. They earn US$96,500 on average.
This level is the coveted position of a senior project manager. Must have at least six years of work experience in the field. Their average yearly earnings stand at around US$110,000. Related positions like:
Portfolio manager, and
Project management consultant
Earn a salary range of US$115,000 to US$134,000.
Meanwhile, a director of project management's salary stands at an average of US$140,000.
As we’d discussed under project management positions and levels, people with more experience earn more money in this field.
Your three to five years of experience would command about US$85,000.
Meanwhile, a professional experience of 10 to 15 years earns you about $115,000. And people with more years of experience of over 20 years make well into the six-figure range, at $130,000.
As with other factors we discussed earlier, salaries based on professional experience differ by location.
And this can be a big deal.
The salaries of US-based project managers with only three to five years experience is US$85,000. But that figure is nearly double the pay of project managers in India with over 20 years of experience!
The table below shows you how project managers’ pay change with years of experience, based on their country of residence.
Project managers without certification would earn US$92,000. Whereas, project managers in the same position, but with certification would earn US$115,000.
So a PMP certified project manager earns 23 percent higher than one without it.
South Africa reportedly shows even higher income differences. In a PMI salary survey, people holding a PMP certification earned a whopping 58 percent higher income.
Project managers in the US holding a PMP certification for five years or less earn about US$103,000. Those who’ve held the certification for five to ten years command US$120,000 in salaries. And people with more than ten years of PMP certification earn about US$130,000 annually.
Here’s a graphical comparison of PMP certification holders versus non-PMP certification holders based on their country.
Your core industry and project management position in that industry influence your earnings.
In the US, Pharmaceuticals pay project managers the highest income, at US$131,833.
Meanwhile, resource industries, like Mining, Agriculture and the rest come second here. They pay US$129,368 in salaries to project managers.
As always, pay differs by country. Here’s a table of how much project managers earn by industry, based on the country where they practice.
Project type also influences pay. If a project is complex or demands complicated planning and execution, it’d reflect on the earnings.
Employers are willing to pay higher for projects in business transformation and engineering. Project managers in these spaces earn US$120,400 every year.
Other top paying spaces include
Research and development
Regulatory compliance, and
Here’s a graph of how project types compare in terms of salary.
You’ve probably noticed; a project management certification affords you more money.
You’d easily command nearly 25 to almost 60 percent earnings above your non-PMP peers.
And industrywide, a PMP certification is the most in-demand.
Let’s assume you’re PMP certified. You work in the healthcare industry and manage an R&D project in the US.
Your income would outsize your friend’s multiple times.
You’ve aligned with multiple favorable success factors. Your industry, project type, country, certification status, all give you an unfair advantage.
The outsized salaries of PMP certification holders may attract you. But income is only one of many compelling reasons why you want a PMP certificate.
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