Project Management Institute

Salary survey goes global


by Joanita M. Nellenbach

How well are you compensated compared with others in project management? This new book will tell you all about compensation and benefits in the profession.

WAY BACK IN THE LAST century—in 1996, to be exact—the PMI® Educational Foundation published The Project Management Salary Survey. PMI took on the project of updating that report with the PMI Project Management Salary Survey (2000 Edition), released in December 2000. As the advertising folks would say, the new work is bigger and better than ever.

The 1996 survey considered compensation and benefits only in the United States and Canada. Readers of the 2000 Edition will be able to compare themselves with their peers around the world. The new survey looks at project management compensation and benefits in worldwide geographical areas: Asia, Australia/New Zealand, Canada, Europe, Latin America, the Middle East, and the United States. The sample size of respondents from Africa was too small for a geographic area breakdown, but the responses were included in the global data.

“Coming from all over the world, [the data] was really interesting,” said Lori Morgan, Kerr & Downs Research project manager for the survey project. (Kerr & Downs Research was selected to conduct the survey and analysis based on an evaluation of responses to a publicly issued request for proposals.

The “Typical” Person in Project Management. What does a “typical” project management salary survey respondent look like? According to the survey, the typical person is 35–54 years old and has either a bachelor's or master's degree. He (three out of four survey respondents were male, which is similar to PMI's membership) is relatively new to PMI (63 percent have been PMI members for one to two years). In the typical respondent's organization, 48 people are involved in project management, there are 121 employees at his location, and 2,050 employees in his organization. He has worked in project management for eight years, has been with his current employer for five years, and has had a 50 percent chance of changing employers at least once in the past five years. He works in a traditional office and is advancing along a definite career path.


Joanita M. Nellenbach is news editor for the Project Management Institute Publishing Division.

The typical respondent supervises 10 people and manages or is engaged in three projects. The value of these projects varies, with budgets averaging less than US$100,000 to projects with mean budgets greater than US$10 million. Estimated median budget size is US$2 million, while the estimated average budget size is US$55 million. The difference between estimated median and estimated average budget size was attributed to the relatively few very large projects on which some respondents worked.

Respondents could check more than one industry affiliation for their organizations. Most common affiliations were information technology, 28 percent of respondents; consulting, 20 percent; computers and software, 19 percent; telecommunications, 17 percent; engineering, 16 percent; e-business, 13 percent; commercial and heavy industrial construction, 11 percent; and Web technology, 10 percent.

Survey Operations. Impetus for the survey was the need to provide data to PMI members and others in the profession, along with human resource and compensation managers. Topics were selected based on “individual conversations and focus groups involving PMI volunteers about what was important to them and their employers and what data and information would be useful to them,” said Lewis M. Gedansky, Ph.D., PMI's research manager.

During 2000, Kerr & Downs of Tallahassee, Fla., USA, sent eight-page questionnaires to 7,900 randomly selected PMI members: 3,500 in the United States, 1,400 in Canada, and 3,000 in other areas of the world. The data collection period ended on 14 June 2000, with 1,290 completed and usable questionnaires returned by postal mail or fax.

Individuals reported compensation information in either U.S. dollars or in their own countries’ currencies. If the information was reported in other-than-U.S. currency, it was converted to U.S. dollars because about 75 percent of PMI's members are from the United States. The compensation data was converted by using generally available exchange rate information and by using purchase power parities from the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development.

What Was Learned. The PMI Project Management Salary Survey provides more than 200 pages of information on salaries, bonuses, overtime, deferred compensation for specific project management job titles, positions, and other factors, as well as normative data for a comprehensive list of benefits and an array of other important variables. The publication is filled with tables comparing salaries and benefits in a host of categories. For instance, the mean total compensation based on exchange rate is US$82,389 for people in project management globally. The survey shows that a respondent in Asia receives a mean total compensation of US$111,883, while a Canadian's average compensation is US$61,614. Globally, men's mean total compensation is US$13,000 (18 percent) more than women's. More specifically, the survey shows that there is a 16 percent difference between men's and women's salaries in the United States, a 29 percent difference in Canada, and 48 percent in Australia/New Zealand.

“I was surprised to see that a ‘glass ceiling’ still exists in this profession,” Gedansky said. “However, the gender differential appears to have decreased since the 1996 report. Overall, PMPs are getting paid more than non-PMPs. Employers show in other ways that they value the PMP® certification for their employees. Some pay the examination fee, pay for meetings and training, and otherwise encourage their project management personnel to become certified.”

Other survey results show that, on average, respondents receive 19 vacation days annually, but respondents in the Middle East and Europe receive “significantly more vacation days.” Globally, respondents average 17 days of paid sick leave each year, but respondents in Latin America averaged only eight days, while those in Europe received 20. Worldwide, respondents averaged 10 paid holidays, while those in Asia average 18. The concept of personal paid days off is common to much of the world, with the exception of Australia/New Zealand and the Middle East. Respondents in the United States and Canada each received five days; Asian respondents received 13 paid personal days annually.

Not surprisingly, older project management respondents make more than younger ones. A person 55 to 64 years of age has a mean total compensation of US$102,975, while a 25- to 34-year-old has a total mean compensation rate of US$62,493. In a further breakdown of data, in the United States the figure is US$88,574 for those age 35 to 44 and US$92,930 for those 45 to 54 years old. A bigger difference is seen in Canada, where mean total compensation is US$62,067 for those age 45 to 54 and US$116,894 for those in the 55 to 64 age bracket.

The report shows that respondents are compensated in a variety of ways besides money. For instance, 20 percent of respondents get relocation and travel bonuses, employers pay for club memberships for 18 percent of respondents, 17 percent get free participation in stock purchases, 10 percent receive entertainment allowances, and employers make mortgage payments for 4 percent. On a global basis, they are likely to receive such benefits as laptops or home computers (58 percent), free parking (55 percent), and cell phones (42 percent). Worldwide, 92 percent of them have health insurance. Other insurance includes long-term disability, dental, life, accidental death, and prescription drugs.

“This report is full of lots of useful data contained in a variety of tables,” said Sandra Ardis, PMI marketing manager. “The reader will want to look at several tables to best compare [his or her] personal situation with that of the respondents who provided input to this report. The real beauty of this report is the wealth of information contained in it rather than any specific single piece of data.”

FIGURES CAN BE FASCINATING. The amount of data contained in the PMI Project Management Salary Survey allows people in project management to see how their compensation and benefits compare with those of their peers around the globe. ■

This material has been reproduced with the permission of the copyright owner. Unauthorized reproduction of this material is strictly prohibited. For permission to reproduce this material, please contact PMI.

January 2001 PM Network



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