Salary Survey Snapshot
What's Driving the Earning Power for Project Managers?
Location matters when it comes to how much project professionals get paid—but it’s not the only factor.
Project professionals in Switzerland earn the highest median salary, according to PMI’s Earning Power: Project Management Salary Survey—12th Edition. Does that mean it’s time to pack your bags? Not so fast. Your home base definitely plays a role in how much you’re paid, but there are other factors. PMI went to project leaders around the world for their insights on the trends and traits driving compensation in their countries.
Median salary: US$140,983
Rewarding a Diverse Skillset
Financial services and pharmaceutical sectors are usually offering the highest salaries to project managers in Switzerland. Those industries are frequently facing change and disruption, which demands higher resilience and flexibility from project management professionals. That trend, and the increasing need for business agility, will require a more diverse skillset. And that skillset cannot be limited anymore to traditional project management competencies. It will span strategic thinking, innovation and sound business acumen, while having a good grasp of technological trends. Diversity of skills driven by increasingly complex and uncertain business environments will be a differentiator for salaries.
—Marcus Glowasz, PMI-ACP, PMP, PgMP, program manager, UBS, Zurich
Median salary: US$115,000
A Demand for Flexibility
The biggest driver of salaries in the United States is demand. While many businesses paused or slowed project work during the pandemic, there’s a huge backlog of sustainment and growth projects to tackle in every industry. Employers across the U.S. need skilled project managers who know how to deliver results in remote and hybrid environments. Project managers are moving companies, and even industries, more frequently than before the pandemic. As companies compete to attract and retain great talent, salaries will continue to be an important part of the compensation package, along with workplace flexibility and purposeful work. The easiest path for project managers to increase their salary is to have a track record of results.
—Amber Simonsen, PMP, director, guest product delivery, Alaska Airlines, Seattle
Median salary: US$113,664
The Value of Transferable Skills
One of the phenomena occurring in the past few years: The salary gap between different project management roles has been narrowing. For example, given a similar working experience and education background, a business analyst can be offered a salary that’s on par with a project manager. This trend reflects a dynamic in the job market that transferable skills are required for project professionals. Having those transferable skills across the project management spectrum seems to be the best bargaining chip to negotiate the next salary increase. It’s a great motivation for project professionals to never stop learning from others—on the job and through self-study.
—Malong Dong, PMP, director of the program management office, Westpac Group, Sydney
Median salary: US$69,231
Built to Last
Right now, projects associated with the upcoming FIFA World Cup in Qatar, especially in infrastructure and hospitality, are having a big impact on salaries. Sustaining those salaries moving forward will come from project management jobs in the oil sector and infrastructure maintenance. Overall, I believe Qatar currently has the best salary potential in project management in the Middle East/North Africa region—if not the whole world.
—Albert Valencia, PMP, senior manager, Transportation Management Services, Doha
Median salary: US$67,698
Project professionals who have versatile experiences are a force to be reckoned with—and can maximize their opportunities for salary increases in South Africa. Managing projects in a variety of industries is a game changer, and I have seen that in my own path. Not only does it help you gain insight on how different industries operate—it also allows you to stretch your skills and have better perspective on business culture, governance practices and political climate, for example.
—Zameka Ntlokonkulu, PMP, project manager, Global Trade Solution, East London, South Africa
Median salary: US$59,187
The Power of Continuous Learning
The capacity to lead projects remotely will impact salaries going forward in Chile. The largest and most advanced companies normally assign resources distributed in different locations. But due to health measures, several governments restricted mobility which, therefore, posed an additional challenge to project management. In terms of industry trends, solar and wind power have taken a very important role. Project professionals in Chile can also increase their earning potential by earning the Project Management Professional (PMP®) certification—which is a must—as well as continuous development with technology solutions and learning new languages.
—Claudio Madariaga, PMP, senior project portfolio manager, SITA, Santiago
Median salary: US$25,633
Earning a Digital Advantage
Project managers who are tech savvy and have digital skills can draw a higher salary and will be able to sustain their careers. With the global drive for digitization, there is an increased demand for digital projects. So beyond adding knowledge and training through PMI certifications, it’s expected that project managers pick up at least one digital skill where they see many projects getting executed in their company and master that—like the cloud or data science or artificial intelligence. Project managers who have multiple digital skills will be able to maximize their opportunities for growth in the corporate hierarchy and salary compensation.
—Duraideivamani Sankararajan, PMI-ACP, PMP, IBM software worldwide PMO, leader Asia Pacific, IBM Expert Labs, Bengaluru