Project manager pay--is it keeping pace?

When economic slowdowns and downturns begin, organizations often attempt to implement proactive--and sometimes, reactive--policies to improve their financial management performance. For many organizations, such policies include reducing staff and reducing salaries. But such cost-cutting measures can often fail: Experienced leaders and team players can leave to join other organizations. Because of this, organizations must offer desirable compensation packages if they are to attract and retain the top-level management talent that will enable them to reduce costs by performing better. This article examines the current state of US-based project managers salaries. In doing so, it overviews the workplace functions that project managers must perform and the challenges they must naviagate in performing their responsibilities. It discusses how project managers can maintain their market value during difficult economic times and reports the findings of a five-year survey (1989-1993) that studied the progressive decline of current salaries for US-based project managers working within the currently struggling engineering and construction industries. It compares the data on project manager salaries to the salaries of US-based professionals working in other, non-project-related fields; it discusses the findings in terms of real dollar value. It also looks at the current trends in compensating project managers, noting the current average base pay for engineering and construction project managers. It suggests how organizations can ensure that they are offering their project professionals a fair and competitive level of financial compensation.
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