US Project Managers – average salaries for 2015



The global economic meltdown in the past years has seen corporate salaries stagnate. In such a scenario, you might wonder if it’s worth investing the time and money in a credential such as PMI’s Project Management Professional (PMP®) to raise your career status and compensation.

The statistics in this infographic reflect the popularity of the PMP among organisations in the US seeking to hire project managers for IT positions. The median pay you see is for professionals who are PMP certified with a minimum of a year’s experience, working across 7 American states and having varying skills from Project Management to Business Analysis.

In 2015, for managing their projects, conglomerates have preferred MBAs holding a PMP credential, followed by MS degree holders with PMP. Indeed, a PMP with an MBA is quite a potent combination and further enhances the skillset of the individual.

Also, it’s worth noting that attending a prestigious college doesn’t hurt in the salary stakes either. MBAs from George Washington University demonstrate the skills on the job that make them among the top earning PM’s, followed by alumni from Pennsylvania State University (Penn State).

While the data suggests that men earn more than women in the project management field, an alternative survey by PayScale suggests that eventually this disparity lessens when they have similar experiences and abilities.

When it comes to the highest paying jobs in the tech industry, Silicon Valley still rules the roost. The Bay Area being the main engine of growth in the tech sector, Palo Alto and the surrounding cities offered big paychecks, also to compensate for the high cost of living in these areas. The Big Apple of course is not far behind, being the highest paying city in the East Coast.

But this earning potential is also a function of the organisation. General Electric, for example was the highest payer in this year’s analysis but the most popular companies to work for are IBM Corp, HP, Microsoft and Deloitte. Senior Project Managers are much valued in the IT field, as evident by their hourly wages, listed at more than US$66. The Bristol-Myers Squibb Company is the highest hourly wage paying employer at US$85.

A project manager’s task is to ensure completion of a project on time and within budget and in this context this role is not just confined to IT. Project Managers work in varied roles in the real estate, law, merger and acquisitions or construction fields. Organisations such as Deloitte are hiring project managers on a large scale to manage their migration and implementation projects.

While Google, Twitter and Facebook have always been rated as among the most popular organisations to work for, HP, IBM, J.P Morgan Chase & Co, Amazon, Dell and GE are not far behind in terms of popularity and the benefits they offer to their employees.

According to PMI’s 2015 Global Job Report, the project management profession is expected to grow by US$6.6 trillion, and close to 15.7 million new project management roles will be created in seven project-intensive industries. The report also states that Australia, Brazil, China, India and Mexico are the countries where the demand for PM’s is going to surge in the coming years.

PMI salary surveys indicate that PMP certified managers are earning more than their noncertified counterparts. But can’t you be a good project manager without a certification? Will you lose the ability to strategise, communicate or motivate without a ‘certified’ suffix to your name? You won’t lose those skills without a qualification, but having concrete evidence of the fact that you do have them reflects your strategic and business management skills and organisational expertise to potential employers.

Project management is a continuously evolving field and this need for continuous improvement becomes all the more relevant in an age where technology changes are rapid. Project management evolutions in 2015 focused on keeping up with cloud-based platforms and managing business expectations for Agile projects.

Organisations have started following a bottom-up approach where objectives are on par with organisational strategy and there is no risk of delivering meaningless outcomes.

The focus has also been on risk mitigation and training and development, where organisations are realising the benefits of having staff attuned to changing technology, compliance and procedures.

Another concern that plagues major corporates is the time and money spent on projects that are not fruitful. Project managers therefore can bring in their expertise to prioritise and back initiatives that will be fruitful and eliminate unworkable projects.

To summarise, 2015 has been a good year for project management professionals. Economies may have risen and fallen but that does not belie the fact that projects are getting more and more intensive and the need for qualified project managers have spiked.

This article was brought to you by KnowledgeHut. Shweta Iyer contributed to this article.

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