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It Manager Starting Salary – Project management has always been a profitable profession and has remained so even after the economic hardship caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
In fact, 50% of the 30,446 respondents to PMI’s latest Project Management Salary Survey reported an increase in their salary and benefits between March 2020 and June 2021.
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This reflects the importance of project management, as well as the high demand for competent fresh talent.
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Estimates show that 25 million people need to be in this profession by 2030 to close the talent gap. This equates to 2.3 million project managers each year. It is not difficult to understand why organizations strive to retain their experienced employees.
This is good news for anyone who wants to change careers or choose project management as their main profession. But before rushing into such an important decision, it is a good idea to gather and evaluate all available information.
The article below is mostly about project manager salaries across the United States. Learn what factors affect project manager salaries and what you can do to increase your salary.
This text offers interesting insights into project manager salaries in the United States. But before we go into the total subject, here are a few stats that we would like to highlight.
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For more interesting facts about project management, read our comprehensive guide to project management statistics:
According to the Project Management Institute’s latest salary survey, the three countries with the highest median salaries in the world are:
The median salary—also known as the 50th percentile—is the mark at which 50% of survey respondents reported the highest salary and 50% reported the lowest salary.
In other words, if the median US project management salary is $115,000, that means 50% of the 7,575 respondents to PMI’s 12th Salary Survey reported that earn more than $115,000, and 50% earned less.
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There are many reasons for the difference in salaries, even among project managers from the same country, but the most important factors are:
The income of a project manager is directly related to his work experience, which in turn is often related to a person’s position or rank.
According to the latest data for 2020-2021, new full-time project managers in the United States start their careers with a median salary of $78,279.
After gaining at least 3-5 years of experience, this number increases to 8.6%. And then the number jumps again to 17.6%, 20%, 8.3% and 6.2% every five years until the prime minister has 20 or more years of experience.
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The reason salary growth is not considered after 20+ years of experience is that this is the threshold beyond which project managers’ salaries tend to stagnate.
We are starting to see people with 3-5 years of experience making significant leaps due to the lack of skills. I’d say staying around 16 is pretty typical. By this point, people have earned their stripes and probably entered a contract role
Project management titles or roles often go hand in hand with experience – but this is not the rule.
So, in the table above, you will find some important differences between PM salary job titles and experience breakdown.
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Below you’ll find more data showing how a project manager’s income varies depending on whether the PM is traditionally employed or self-employed.
As remote work becomes more popular and feasible thanks to collaborative project management software, some project managers are choosing to abandon their traditional employee roles in organizations in favor of self employment.
It may be a riskier path, but evidence suggests it can also be rewarding—at least financially.
According to PMI, self-employed project managers earn an average of about $4,000 more per year than traditionally employed project managers.
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This makes sense considering that only highly qualified and experienced project managers are hired to work on high profile projects with larger than average budgets, according to the Salary and APM Market Trends.
But that’s not all – the salary of a project manager can even depend on the size of the organization.
PMI reports that PM professionals doing the same work in large organizations can earn up to $19,000 more on average than those working in small companies with fewer than 100 people.
Just as the salaries of prime ministers vary from country to country, they can also vary drastically from city to city. This is usually related to urbanization and the cost of living.
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The US Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the median annual salary for project management is $94,500, and the median annual salary is $98,420 nationwide.
According to the report, the states that offer the highest average annual salaries for project management professionals are:
The highest average annual project management salaries in the United States are concentrated in metropolitan areas, with the three highest paid:
Looking at the numbers, we see that the annual difference between the lowest US PM median salary ($72,160) and the highest ($133,950) is a staggering 61,790, or 53.9%.
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To give you a clear picture of state PM salaries across the United States, we’ve compiled a list that includes each state with their average PM salaries.
In general, the higher the education, the higher the salary. Project management is no exception to this rule.
A PMI salary study shows that project managers with a college degree earn up to 24% more than those without a college degree.
Surprisingly, however, a special degree in project management does nothing to increase your income in the United States.
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But if you had a question – yes, you can work as a project manager with only a high school diploma.
Although they made up only 1% of respondents, 93 of the 7,575 project managers surveyed by the US PMI reported having only a high school diploma and still earned a median salary of $105,000.
Project managers who are not satisfied with this income but do not intend to go back to school have another option – get a certificate.
Whether project management certifications are used as a gateway to project management or to demonstrate expertise, they are a great way to start your career.
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One of the most sought after and recognized certifications in the world is the Project Management Professional (PMP®) – and according to the 12th PMI Salary Survey, their high salaries reflect this.
The study found that in the forty countries covered (including the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia), project managers with PMP® certification reported an average salary of 16% higher.
In the United States, this number is even higher, with PMP® certified project managers earning an average of 32% more, rising to 51% more – depending on how long the person has held the certification.
While not all certifications guarantee an immediate increase in salary, they do help open up opportunities for job interviews or promotions, which often lead to higher income.
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If you are willing to put in the effort and time to get the certificate, you can enjoy benefits such as:
If you’d like to learn more about the best project management certifications, visit our guide to learn all about courses, exams, pricing, and more at the link below:
I think the difference in wages comes from what skills are in demand and how much a particular industry contributes to the country’s economy.
This is a perfectly logical explanation for the large wage differences in different industries around the world.
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In the United States, this difference is particularly striking. According to PMI, project managers in the lowest paying industry — the training and education sector — earn 47% less than those in the resource and consulting industry, the -highest paid in the nation.
If you have previous experience in resources, consulting, aerospace, engineering or IT and are well versed in project management, you may want to consider opportunities in these high-paying industries.
Although the training/education, business services, legal, construction and real estate sectors have the lowest median income according to the PMI, they are still well above the US average.
Despite a relatively equal number of men (3,966) and women (3,486) responding, the median wage gap between men and women is $14,000, according to the PMI, a figure that barely budged from the 2019.
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The APM Pay and Market Trends survey shows that the situation is worse in the UK, with a difference of 24% in favor of men, although this difference is starting to show signs of narrowing.
Project management pays well regardless of the organization you work for. But there are some companies that stand out.
We explored Glassdoor’s list of the best project management companies to learn more about them. This list is based on tens of thousands of anonymous reviews from people who actually work or have worked at each of these companies.
The future is always difficult to predict – especially since the future of project management salaries is high
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