What You Can Expect: The Project Manager Salary

Project Manager Salary - what you can expect

Project managers tend to be seen in many industry sectors such as engineering, construction, health, business, technology, and more. Because of the variety of requirements per industry sector the average project manager salary may also vary greatly.

Any company knows that dedicated project managers everywhere are the backbone of any project. Project management is no easy feat—and project managers are usually in charge of budgetting, planning, and overseeing a project from start to finish.

There is no doubt that work can become challenging and stressful for a project manager. If you are asking if it is worth your time, skill, and experience to stay in or move to the project manager career path – Here’s what you can expect to earn as a project manager.

What’s a Typical Project Manager Salary?

The salary of a project manager depends on factors such as: location, certification, experience, industry, role and projects managed, and the size of the company assigning the project. The variety of salaries – including bonus and other forms of compensation – will also expand as the project management sector projects nearly 90 million roles to be filled in within 10 years time.

Generally, the salary scales can be expected to vary depending on the following.

If you are in the cities, the salary tends to be higher along with higher demands and expectations in performance.

Certified Project Managers (PM) command better rates and working conditions compared to their uncertified counterparts.

Skill sets and experience often dictate the starting rate, with those of advanced background getting better offers than those who are just starting out or in mid-careers.

The salaries can go higher or lower depending on the industry sector and therefore specific role and project requirements for project managers.

The size of the company matters as well, with bigger organisations able to provide higher salaries compared to smaller outfits or non-profit organisations.

The average salary for project managers across the world is around USD90,000 and the trend is positively going upwards within the next ten years.

Payscale reports:

  •  In Australia, the average salary for general project managers is AU$96,847.
  • In the United Kingdom, project managers receive an average salary of £38,061.
  • For project managers living in Canada the average salary rate is C$72,205.
  • United States-based project managers are given an average salary of US$72,021

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that project manager salaries can range from $74,000 to $100,000. Additionally, most entry and mid-level managers earn between $70,000-$85,000 annually. Senior project managers have the highest annual salaries.

The Project Management Salary Survey (2018) by Country

A project manager’s salary may vary according to the country they’re working in. Careers in project management are in high demand and salaries are expected to grow in ten years’ time.

A project manager’s annual income can be anywhere from $59,000 to $134,000. However, the skills and qualifications you possess can also play a big part in determining your salary.

The top countries that report the highest median annual salaries for practitioners in project management according to the 10th edition of a survey conducted by the Project Management Institute, are (in USD):

  1. Switzerland $130,966
  2. United States $112,000
  3. Australia $108,593
Project Management Salary Chart

In terms of compensating project managers with more years of experience, Switzerland is still on top with pay for project managers with over 20 years of experience going up to $161,189; followed by the United Arab Emirates paying $143,727; and Australia ranking third paying a sum of $133,830.

Those starting out in the project management career with under 3 years of experience also do well in Switzerland commanding a pay of $94,698; followed by the United States giving $75,000; and Australia compensating new project managers with $68,827. 

Different Types of Project Managers

Practitioners in project management enjoy the flexibility their career brings—those in project management can work in a number of different industries. And according to the Project Management Institute (PMI), there’s never been a better time to be a project manager.

Those with project management expertise and know-how remain in demand globally, with promising earning potentials.

Project management is a growing business area, and many industries are hiring for project managers. One advantage of a career in project management is that it cuts across several industries.

A project management professional (PMP) enjoys the flexibility and freedom in almost any company or industry. PMP-certified project managers also enjoy a higher annual salary compared to their counterparts.

The following reports the average salary obtained from Payscale for project managers working in various industries:

Average Project Manager Salary in Information Technology (IT)

The demand for IT project managers are on the rise as industries become more dependent on technology. IT project managers manage the timelines and budget on an information technology project to ensure seamless implementation of the project.

As of 2018, the average salary for an IT project manager is $85,651. Hourly rate averages at $45.08.

The Average Salary of a Construction Project Manager

Construction project managers may also be known with job titles such as: construction supervisor, construction manager and product engineer. The role of a construction project manager is to oversee the construction process, which includes personnel and budgets.

The salary for a construction project manager averages at $76,174, with an hourly rate of $26.26.

Average Salary for Architectural and Engineering Project Managers

Project managers in these areas manage the coordination and integration of activities in an architecture or engineering project. They review and approve project design changes.

For an engineering project manager, their average salary is $89,191, with the average hourly rate of $36.23. On the other hand, architectural project managers earn $69,181. The average rate per hour for architectural project managers is $24.63. 

Different Levels of Project Managers

Project manager roles differ according to experience, certification, and more. Thus, the average pay scale for project managers vary depending on the roles and responsibilities they shoulder.

Associate Project Managers

One of the responsibilities of an associate project manager is to execute project management activities with little supervision. An associate project manager also typically assists more experienced project managers in running large projects.

The average pay for an associate project manager is $58,747 per year.

Level 1 Project Managers

A level 1 project manager takes decisions that affect the daily productivity of team members. However, project managers of this level cannot make decisions that could affect the timeline or budget of a project.

A level 1 project manager can expect an annual income of $77,000.

Level 2 Project Managers

They oversee and manage all aspects of a project to make sure the project is completed with the allocated time frame and budget.

Level 2 project managers can expect a salary that can touch the $100,000 mark.

Level 3 Project Managers

​Project managers of this level are also known as program managers. These seasoned project managers can expect an annual salary that can go up to $120,000.

Senior Project Managers

A senior project manager possesses skills and knowledge not common to other project managers. Their main duty is not limited to overseeing, planning, and organizing.

Senior project managers lead and control a project effectively and efficiently. Depending on the company, a senior project manager salary can go from $130,000 to $200,000 per year.

Strategies to Boost your Project Manager Career

​Following some of these tips can help you maximize your career in project management.

Certification

​Project management practitioners with a Project Management Professional (PMP) certification can earn up to twenty times more than those without a certification. This is earned through the Project Management Institute (PMI), an official organization that does research within project management.

Industry

Project managers can work freely with many different industries if they so choose. From business to technology, project managers can take their pick across several industries.

However, those looking to maximize their salary should take a look at industries such as:

Pharmaceuticals

​The highest paying industry as of 2017 is Pharmaceuticals, at an average annual pay of $127, 426.

  • Government $113,781
  • Financial Services $110,591

Experience

The PMI survey shows that a project manager can expect a steady salary increase as they gradually build their experience in project management. In fact, project managers with more than twenty years of experience in project management can expect to earn an average of $120,196 annually.

The average project manager salary is most notably determined by industry, years of experience, and location. Whether you’re someone who’s just looking to get into a career in project management or already working as a project manager, there are many opportunities that lie in store for you as you go about your journey as a practitioner in project management.