Project manager salary guide for 2022
Project management has always been a lucrative profession, and it has remained so even after the economic hardships brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.
In fact, 50% of the 30,446 respondents in PMI’s latest Project Management Salary Survey have reported an increase in their salary and benefits between March 2020 and June 2021.
This is a reflection of the importance of project management, but also the high demand for competent fresh talent.
Estimates show that 25M people will have to enter the profession by 2030 to bridge the talent gap. This equals 2.3M project managers every year. It’s not difficult to see why organizations would go to great lengths to retain their experienced employees.
This is good news for anyone looking to switch careers or choose project management as their primary profession. But, before rushing head-first into such an important decision, it’s good to gather and assess all the available information first.
The article below will, for the most part, tackle project manager salaries across the United States. You’ll find out all about the factors that influence the salary of project managers and what you can do to improve your chances of getting a raise.
So, let’s begin.
Project management salary highlights
This text offers some interesting insights into project manager salaries in the United States. But, before diving into the nitty-gritty, here are some of the statistics we’d like to highlight.
- 50% of project professionals earn more than $115,000.
- Men in project management have 13% higher salary than women.
- The resources industry (Agriculture, Mining, etc.) is the sector with the highest average salary in the US ($135,500).
- Average salary for an entry-level project professional is $78,279.
- Self-employed project managers have on average $4,000 higher annual income than those traditionally employed.
- Project managers with a PMP certificate earn up to 51% more than those without.
- PMs with a college degree earn up to 24% more than those without.
- Program managers have on average 10% higher salaries than project managers.
How much do project managers make?
This is a difficult question to answer.
Project manager salaries vary enormously from country to country.
That said, project managers still typically earn an above-average income with regards to their location.
According to Project Management Institute’s most recent Salary Survey, the top 3 countries with the highest median salary in the world are as follows:
|Country||Median salary in USD|
|2. United States||$115,000|
Conversely, the six countries where project managers earn the lowest income are:
|Country||Median salary in USD|
Factors that influence project manager salary
A median salary — also known as the 50th percentile — is the mark at which 50% of the survey respondents reported a higher salary and 50% a lower one.
In other words, if a median project management salary in the US is $115,000, it means that 50% of the 7,575 survey respondents from PMI’s 12th Salary Survey reported earning more than $115,000, and 50% reported earning less.
The reasons for such disparity in salaries, even among project managers within the same country, are many — but the most influential factors tend to be:
- Years of experience in project management,
- Job title,
- Average project size,
- Industry, and
Let’s tackle them one by one.
Years of experience in project management affect the salary
A project manager’s income is directly tied to their work experience — which is, in turn, often connected to a person’s position or rank.
According to the latest data from 2020–2021, new project managers working full-time in the US begin their careers with a median salary of $78,279.
After accumulating at least 3–5 years of experience, that number jumps by 8.6%. And then, the number jumps again by 17.6%, 20%, 8.3%, and 6.2% every five years, until the PM has reached 20 years of experience or more.
|Years of experience||Median PM salary in USD|
|Under 3 years||$78,279|
|3 to 5 years||$85,000|
|5 to 10 years||$100,000|
|10 to 15 years||$120,000|
|15 to 20 years||$130,000|
How project management salaries in the United States change with higher experience
The reason why salary growth is not calculated after more than 20 years of experience is that it is a threshold after which project manager salaries tend to stagnate.
“We’re starting to see people with that 3–5 years’ experience take quite significant jumps because of skill shortages. I’d say capping out around 16 years is fairly typical. By that point, people have earned their stripes and probably moved themselves into a contracting role”, says Christian Vanezi, change manager at Hudson recruitment agency for the AIPM 2021 Salary Report.
The job title affects the project manager salary
Job titles, or project management roles often go hand in hand with experience — but this is not the rule.
This is why you’ll find some significant differences between the division of PM salaries by job title and the division by experience shown in the table above.
|Job title||Median PM salary in USD|
|Project Manager I||$83,000|
|Project Manager II||$96,063|
|Project Manager III||$115,000|
|Director of Project Management Office (PMO)||$145,000|
|Project Management Specialist||$84,500|
|Project Management Consultant||$120,000|
PM salaries for different job titles in the US, according to the PMI Salary Survey
Below, you’ll find more data showcasing how project manager income differs depending on whether the PM is traditionally-employed or self-employed.
Traditionally-employed vs. self-employed project manager income
With remote work becoming more popular and feasible thanks to collaborative project management software, some project managers choose to forgo their traditional employee roles in organizations in favor of being self-employed.
This may be a riskier route, but evidence suggests that it can also be rewarding — at least moneywise.
According to PMI, self-employed project managers earn on average around $4,000 more per year than those traditionally employed.
|Job title||Salary — traditionally-employed||Salary — self-employed|
|Project Manager I||$82,700||$85,000|
|Project Manager II||$96,000||$98,000|
|Project Manager III||$115,000||$115,000|
|Director of Project Management Office (PMO)||$145,000||$150,000|
|Project Management Specialist||$84,000||$88,191|
|Project Management Consultant||$119,876||$125,000|
PM salary according to roles for those self-employed vs traditionally-employed
The organization size and project size affect the project manager salary
Project size is determined by the number of team members and the project budget.
This makes sense considering that only highly-qualified and experienced project managers are hired to work on high-profile projects with higher-than-average budgets, according to the APM Salary and Market Trends Survey.
Here are the median salaries of PM professionals in the US according to project size:
|Project size||Median salary range in USD|
|Up to 5 team members &Under $100K budget||$90,000–$105,000|
|5 to 10 team members &$100K–$500K budget||$105,000–$115,000|
|10 to 15 team members &$500–$1M budget||$115,000–$120,000|
|15 to 20 team members &$1M–$10M budget||$120,000–$125,000|
|20+ team members &Over $10M budget||$130,000–$135,000|
Median PM salary ranges according to project size
But, this is not all — a project manager’s salary can even depend on the size of the organization.
PMI reports that the median salary of PM professionals working the same job in large organizations can be as much as $19,000 higher than for those working in small companies with under 100 people.
The location affects project manager salary
Just like PM salaries vary across countries, they can also drastically differ from city to city. This typically has to do with urbanization and the cost of living.
In the US, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports an annual median project management salary of $94,500 and a mean annual salary of $98,420 across the country.
However, things appear much different after taking a closer look at each individual state.
The report shows that the states that offer the highest mean annual wages for project management professionals are:
- New Mexico ($123,160),
- Washington ($120,800),
- New York ($111,890),
- New Jersey ($111,460), and
- Virginia ($109,980).
The highest mean annual project management salaries in the US overall are concentrated in metropolitan areas, with the three top paying being:
- The San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara Metro Area in California ($133,950),
- The Birmingham-Hoover Metro Area in Alabama ($130,250), and
- The Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue Metro Area in Washington ($125,330).
As for the nonmetropolitan areas, the highest mean annual PM salaries are found in:
- Western Wyoming ($109,490),
- Southwest New York ($107,150), and
- Northeast Virginia ($103,300).
Conversely, the states that offer the lowest project manager mean annual salaries are:
- Arkansas ($72,160),
- South Dakota ($73,000),
- Montana ($76,360),
- West Virginia ($76,400), and
- Hawaii ($77,390).
Looking at the numbers, we can see that the difference between the lowest mean annual PM salary in the US ($72,160) and the highest ($133,950) is a staggering $61,790, or 53.9%.
Project manager salaries in the US by state
To give you a clear overview of the state of PM salaries across the US, we’ve compiled a list that includes every state, along with their mean salaries for project managers.
The table below shows states arranged both alphabetically, and by their salaries in descending order.
|US states ranked by PM salary amount||Mean salary||US states ordered alphabetically||Mean salary|
|1. New Mexico||$123,160||1. Alabama||$109,100|
|2. Washington||$120,800||2. Alaska||$94,900|
|3. New York||$111,890||3. Arizona||$87,790|
|4. New Jersey||$111,460||4. Arkansas||$72,160|
|5. Virginia||$109,980||5. California||$108,990|
|6. Alabama||$109,100||6. Colorado||$98,410|
|7. California||$108,990||7. Connecticut||$100,040|
|8. District of Columbia||$107,610||8. Delaware||$106,930|
|9. Delaware||$106,930||9. District of Columbia||$107,610|
|10. Massachusetts||$106,690||10. Florida||$91,540|
|11. Illinois||$104,520||11. Georgia||$98,500|
|12. Rhode Island||$103,090||12. Hawaii||$77,390|
|13. Connecticut||$100,040||13. Idaho||$83,320|
|14. North Carolina||$98,970||14. Illinois||$104,520|
|15. Georgia||$98,500||15. Indiana||$81,750|
|16. Colorado||$98,410||16. Iowa||$87,260|
|17. Maryland||$97,700||17. Kansas||$82,300|
|18. Texas||$97,290||18. Kentucky||$82,160|
|19. Wyoming||$96,130||19. Louisiana||$82,470|
|20. Alaska||$94,900||20. Maine||$82,370|
|21. Minnesota||$94,750||21. Maryland||$97,700|
|22. Wisconsin||$93,110||22. Massachusetts||$106,690|
|23. New Hampshire||$92,350||23. Michigan||$90,200|
|24. Florida||$91,540||24. Minnesota||$94,750|
|25. Oregon||$90,730||25. Mississippi||$82,630|
|26. Pennsylvania||$90,340||26. Missouri||$88,150|
|27. Michigan||$90,200||27. Montana||$76,360|
|28. Missouri||$88,150||28. Nebraska||$85,030|
|29. South Carolina||$88,150||29. Nevada||$83,660|
|30. Arizona||$87,790||30. New Hampshire||$92,350|
|31. Iowa||$87,260||31. New Jersey||$111,460|
|32. Utah||$87,220||32. New Mexico||$123,160|
|33. Oklahoma||$86,510||33. New York||$111,890|
|34. Ohio||$85,740||34. North Carolina||$98,970|
|35. Nebraska||$85,030||35. North Dakota||$83,320|
|36. Nevada||$83,660||36. Ohio||$85,740|
|37. Idaho||$83,320||37. Oklahoma||$86,510|
|38. North Dakota||$83,320||38. Oregon||$90,730|
|39. Mississippi||$82,630||39. Pennsylvania||$90,340|
|40. Louisiana||$82,470||40. Rhode Island||$103,090|
|41. Maine||$82,370||41. South Carolina||$88,150|
|42. Kansas||$82,300||42. South Dakota||$73,000|
|43. Kentucky||$82,160||43. Tennessee||$80,430|
|44. Indiana||$81,750||44. Texas||$97,290|
|45. Vermont||$80,550||45. Utah||$87,220|
|47. Hawaii||$77,390||47. Virginia||$109,980|
|48. West Virginia||$76,400||48. Washington||$120,800|
|49. Montana||$76,360||49. West Virginia||$76,400|
|50. South Dakota||$73,000||50. Wisconsin||$93,110|
|51. Arkansas||$72,160||51. Wyoming||$96,130|
Mean annual project management salaries in the US by state
Higher education helps boost project manager salary
Generally speaking, the higher the education, the higher the pay. Project management is no exception to this rule.
PMI’s Salary Survey shows that project managers who have a college degree earn up to 24% more than those who do not.
Surprisingly enough, though, a specialized degree in project management will do nothing to boost your income in the US
But, if you were wondering — yes, you can work as a project manager with only a high school diploma.
Although they made up only 1% of the respondents, 93 out of 7,575 project managers surveyed by the PMI in the US reported having only a high school diploma and still earning a median salary of $105,000.
Project managers who aren’t satisfied with this income, but don’t intend to go back to school, have another option — getting certified.
Project management certifications boost project manager salary
Whether used as a doorway to project management, or proof of competence, project management certifications are an excellent way to give your career a boost.
One of the most widely sought-after and most recognized certifications in the world is the Project Management Professional (PMP®) — and, according to the 12th PMI Salary Survey, their high salaries reflect that.
Project management salary with a PMP® certification
The survey showed that across all forty countries covered (including the US, UK, and Australia), project managers who hold the PMP® certificate reported a 16% higher salary on average.
In the US, this number is even greater, with project managers with a PMP® certificate earning 32% more on average, going up to a staggering 51% more — depending on how long a person has held the certificate.
While not every certification guarantees an instant salary increase, they do help create possibilities for job interviews or promotions, which then often lead to a higher income.
Project management salary for other PM certifications
Here are the median salaries for some other prominent project management certifications in the United States:
|Certification||Median salary in USD|
|Agile Certified Practitioner (ACP)||$108,400|
|Six Sigma Black Belt (CSSBB)||$90,000|
If you’re willing to make the effort and take the time to get certified, you’ll enjoy benefits such as:
- Advantage in getting interviews,
- Better chances of promotion, and
- A higher salary.
💡 Plaky Pro Tip
If you want to learn more about the best project management certifications out there, head over to our guide where you’ll learn all about the courses, exams, prices, and more, in the link below:
Industry drastically affects project manager salaries
“I think the difference in salaries is based on the skill sets that are in demand and how much the particular industry is adding to the economic situation of the country”, says Dr Marzena Baker, MAIPM and lecturer at the University of Sydney for AIPM Salary Report.
This is a perfectly logical explanation for the huge salary differences present in various industries across the globe.
In the US, this disparity is especially prominent. According to PMI, project managers working in the lowest-paying industry — i.e. the training and education industry — earn 47% less than those from the resources and consulting industries, which are the highest-paying in the country.
Highest-paying project management industries in the US
If you have prior experience in resources, consulting, aerospace, engineering, or IT, and you are well-versed in project management, you might want to consider opportunities in these high-paying industries.
|1. Resources (Agriculture, Mining, etc.)||$135,500|
Lowest-paying project management industries in the US
While training/education, business services, legal, construction, and real estate industries have the lowest median income according to PMI, they are still well above average for the US.
|2. Business services||$95,000|
|5. Real Estate||$104,000|
Gender still plays a role in project manager salaries
Unfortunately, gender is still a factor when it comes to salaries in project management.
Despite the relatively equal number of male (3,966) and female (3,486) respondents, the difference in median salaries between men and women is $14,000, according to PMI — a number that has barely budged since 2019.
And, this is not an issue only in the United States.
The APM Salary and Market Trends Survey shows that the situation is worse in the UK, with a gap of 24% in favor of men — although, this gap is starting to show signs of shrinking.
Top companies to work for as a project manager in 2022
Project management pays well regardless of the organization you work for. But, there are a few companies that stand out.
We consulted Glassdoor’s list of top project management companies to find out more about them. This list is based on tens of thousands of anonymous reviews from people who actually work, or have worked for each of these companies.
So, here is the list of the best companies for project managers in the United States.
|Deloitte||Accounting & Tax||$140,435|
|Cisco Systems||Enterprise Software & Network Solutions||$140,076|
|IBM||Information technology Support Services||$117,290|
|Honeywell||Computer Hardware Development||$113,073|
|Bank of America||Banking & Lending||$105,412|
|J.P. Morgan||Investment & Asset Management||$101,673|
|Kaiser Permanente||Health Care Services & Hospitals||$95,166|
The future of project manager income
It’s always difficult to predict the future — especially since the future of project management salaries is highly dependent on the shifts in the global economy.
However, what we do know is that the profession has managed to not only survive, but also thrive during one of the most chaotic periods in recent history.
In the US, 63% of project managers reported getting a raise of 5.9% on average, while in the thick of the global pandemic.
Among those same project managers, as many as 73% are expecting a raise within 12 months of the survey.
APM even reported that in the UK, the average size of projects has grown by just over $13M and reached a whopping $141M. This means that the core industries are holding strong, as evidenced by the average project management salaries that have remained the same since 2019.
This is only to show that the US is not an isolated case, and that the industry has indeed remained stable through recent times of adversity.
According to estimates, $77M current project management employees will leave the workforce by 2030, which will result in the loss of $53.7 billion in global GDP. Considering the high demand for project managers this creates, it should be safe to assume that there will be no major lay-offs, cutbacks, or salary nosedives in project management in the near future.
Conclusion: Multiple factors affect project manager salaries
Project management salaries vary greatly depending on the person’s education, certifications, location, experience, job title, the size of their projects, and, unfortunately, even gender. All of these factors differ even more across industries — which makes it difficult to answer exactly how much project managers make.
However, the one thing we can say is that project management is a lucrative profession, and that there are many roads to an even higher income if you’re willing to make the effort.
Gaining experience, boosting your personal portfolio, and developing niche technical skills will put you on the right path to reaching those coveted executive positions and maintaining a steady income growth over the years.
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