Project Manager Salary: Your 2023 Guide

Project managers (PMs) are responsible for ushering projects successfully from kick off through completion — on time and on budget. In addition, successful PMs must keep teams organized through documentation and communication, while helping them work effectively through motivation and conflict resolution.

Due to the complexity and importance of this role, it pays well, as we’ll discuss in this guide. It’s important to note, as with all roles, that salaries vary due to many factors including education, experience, location, company size, and industry. The constant, however, is that PMs are a critical part of project success, as their responsibilities include the following:

Project managers (PMs) are responsible for ushering projects successfully from kick off through completion — on time and on budget. In addition, successful PMs must keep teams organized through documentation and communication, while helping them work effectively through motivation and conflict resolution.

Due to the complexity and importance of this role, it pays well, as we’ll discuss in this guide. It’s important to note, as with all roles, that salaries vary due to many factors including education, experience, location, company size, and industry. The constant, however, is that PMs are a critical part of project success, as their responsibilities include the following:

  • Developing a Plan: PMs are accountable to budgets and establish timelines with the project’s greater goal in mind. An examination of past projects can provide a valuable template, though there must also be an understanding that circumstances can vary. In addition, plans often have to be adapted mid-stream due to changing circumstances, making agility a must for PMs.
  • Following a Plan: A project manager must oversee workflows and complete deliverables in a timely fashion. Soft skills also come into play, as communication and conflict resolution are essential.
  • Monitoring/Reporting: Budgetary and timeline constraints must remain top of mind, as a core PM function is to report KPIs, budgetary status, and resource management to key stakeholders.
  • Finalizing the Project: During this phase, PMs must gain feedback from clients to ensure that the project meets their needs. Moreover, project files must be stored for future reference, and a post-launch review must be performed. These reviews enable organizations to understand what was done well and what can be done better on future projects.

Project Manager Career Path

Project managers, while not required to earn a specific college degree, tend to have a foundation in business, computer science, or other industry-related fields. In some cases, PMs go on to earn an MBA or MSM (Master of Science in Management).

Certificates, such as a Project Management Professional (PMP) certificate or a Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM) certificate, are also preferred but generally not job requirements. Additional credentials are also attainable, such as an Award of Completion from Columbia Engineering Technology Project Management Boot Camp.

Key technical PM competencies include resource planning, project management software, agile methodologies, Scrum framework, and hybrid project management.

Resource planning (i.e., the scheduling and management of resources, whether human resources, equipment, or facilities) has long been regarded as critical to company growth, ensuring profitability and sustainability. By one assessment, the return on resource planning can be up to 10 times greater than the cost of implementation.

In addition to project management methodologies, project managers should also have a grasp of software like Asana, Basecamp, JIRA, and Microsoft Project, enabling them to monitor workflows in real time. According to Forbes, waterfall methodology is best used for linear projects, while agile frameworks are a better option for iterative development projects. Hybrid methodologies, which meld the best attributes of agile and waterfall methodologies, are also available.

Soft skills are equally important for a successful project manager. Indeed lists 20 vital soft skills a successful project manager needs, with communication ranking in the number one slot. In fact, according to one survey, forty-four percent of the business leaders surveyed indicated that communication issues were the primary reason for project delays or cancellations.

Indeed also cites skills like organization, problem-solving, and conflict management as important soft skills, and the Project Management Book of Knowledge (PMBOK) ranks conflict management as one of the biggest challenges project managers face given the various stakeholders and personalities they deal with regularly. And, just as communication is critical to resolving conflict, so too is active listening — another soft skill PMs simply cannot do without.

With the clear need for a variety of strong soft skills, it’s no wonder that a project manager who is emotionally intelligent (i.e., self-aware, empathetic, socially skilled) is much more likely to thrive in the role.

It’s also important to note that project management is different than product management. While there is some overlap between the two roles, the key difference is that the product manager is responsible for product strategy, market research, and development, while the project manager makes sure that product is delivered on time and on budget.

To learn more about the project management career path, consider our guide: What Is a Project Manager?

How Much Do Project Managers Make?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), project managers earn a mean annual salary of $84,290. However, as we mentioned above, their earnings vary according to experience, background, location, industry, and the nature of the project.

Among the highest-paid project management industries listed in the BLS are those supporting independent artists, writers, and performers, at a mean annual salary of $120,000. An example of this type of PM role is the one sought by the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation in the fall of 2021. The organization was looking for a PM to compile a Catalogue Raisonne (i.e., a comprehensive listing of Rauschenberg’s works).

The BLS’s list of top-earning project management industries also includes computer/peripheral equipment manufacturing ($118,950), banking ($112,620), software publishing ($107,580), and manufacturing of navigational, measuring, and biomedical instruments ($107,160).

The federal government’s executive branch employs the most project managers (186,010) and has the highest concentration of PMs (8.94 percent) in any sector. Those filling such governmental roles earn, on average, $91,160. They are in demand due to increasing calls for greater government efficiency in recent years.

Experts note that governmental officials are ultimately responsible to the taxpayer to spend wisely and, as a result, are heavily scrutinized. Other factors contributing to the need for project management are time and resource limitations, as well as the sheer complexity of government agencies.

Additionally, project management in government streamlines reporting and communication, develops crucial structures and processes, and establishes a database to which the workforce can refer.

According to the BLS, other industries that employ high numbers of project managers include company management ($88,130), computer design ($101,500), technical and scientific consulting ($86,200), and academia ($70,450).

Project Manager Salary by State

California is the U.S. state with the most project managers, as reflected in BLS statistics. This is not surprising given that Silicon Valley, the global nexus for technological development and innovation, is located in California. Typical PM duties in this environment are described in the Forbes article, What Is It Like To Be A Technical Project Manager In Silicon Valley, by Visa Technical Project Manager Gaurav Mokhasi.

In his article, Mokhasi breaks down his duties into three phases: pre-development, development, and post-development. During pre-development, he works with the business project manager and the development lead to conduct feasibility studies and understand what resources might be needed, while also developing a realistic timeline for the project.

During the development phase, he answers questions from the development team and provides feedback, and finally, in post-development, he continues to answer questions that arise and does periodic evaluations of how a given product might be performing.

Here are the mean annual salaries for project managers working in the five states where they are most commonly employed, according to the BLS:

  • California: $88,310
  • Texas: $85,870
  • Florida: $73,430
  • New York: $97,340
  • Georgia: $76,600

A bar graph that displays the annual mean wage of project managers by state.

Conversely, these are the areas with the highest concentration of PMs (with their respective mean annual salaries) according to the BLS:

  • District of Columbia: $105,730
  • Colorado: $90,060
  • Washington: $88,430
  • Maryland: $99,170
  • New Jersey: $88,920

Additionally, here are the top five metropolitan areas in which project managers are employed (with their respective mean annual salaries) according to the BLS:

  • New York (NY)-Newark-Jersey City (NJ): $97,760
  • Washington (DC)-Arlington-Alexandria (VA): $105,850
  • Los Angeles-Anaheim-Long Beach (CA): $85,650
  • Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington (TX): $89,070
  • Chicago-Naperville-Elgin (IL): $88,040

Technology Project Manager Salary

Technical project managers who, according to Burning Glass, earn a median annual salary of $104,844, possess the requisite technical knowledge to direct elaborate IT and engineering initiatives from beginning to end. As with project managers in other disciplines, they oversee requirements gathering, development, testing, execution, and post-execution review. They assemble teams, manage workflows, communicate with key stakeholders, and work within allotted budgets and timelines.

Bill Craig is a technical project manager who oversees advanced technology for the U.S. Navy’s Undersea Warfare Electromagnetic Systems Department. Specifically, he has overseen the development of advanced submarine communications during his 31-year career. Most recently, in December 2021, he managed the project responsible for developing new antennas invented by Dr. David Tonn, a senior engineer in the Navy’s Communications Antennas Branch.

Want to learn how to become a tech project manager? Your journey begins at Columbia Engineering Tech Project Management Boot Camp. Learn in-demand, real-world skills and technology that tech PMs use every day. Invest in yourself and enroll today!

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Technical Project Manager Salary by State

Technical project managers’ mean annual salaries are higher in Wyoming ($113,833) than any other U.S. state, due to a number of robust mineral extraction industries there. Oil and gas extraction and coal mining are Wyoming’s two biggest industries, and trona, soda ash, and uranium ore extraction are significant industries within the state as well.

Due to Wyoming’s geography and high altitude, wind power has also flourished within its borders. By installing over 1,000 megawatts of generating capacity in 2020, the state nearly doubled its electrical yield. For this reason, technical project managers remain in demand in this industry as well, since potential sites for new wind farms continue to be identified, and tech PMs are needed to oversee the planning and construction of such facilities.

New York is in the top ten states with the highest annual median salary for technical project managers according to Burning Glass® Technologies. Indeed, there is no shortage of opportunities for technical project managers in a state with a GDP of $1.7 billion, the third-largest in the U.S., behind California and Texas. New York State is so robust, in fact, that its GDP ranks behind that of just 11 countries in the world.

Here are the ten states offering the highest median annual salaries for technical project managers, according to Burning Glass:

  • New Jersey: $111,000
  • California: $111,000
  • Massachusetts: $111,000
  • District of Columbia: $111,000
  • Virginia: $109,000
  • New York: $108,000
  • Texas: $107,000
  • Illinois: $107,000
  • North Carolina: $106,000
  • Georgia: $105,000

A bar graph that displays the highest median annual salaries for technical project managers by state.

Project Manager Job Outlook

According to the Project Management Institute (PMI), the demand for project managers will likely continue to increase. While there were 16.5 million project managers employed around the world as of November 2020, there will be a need for 25 million new project professionals by 2030. This finding means that some 2.3 million people must enter the field annually between now and then to satisfy the demand.

The reason for the uptick, according to PMI, is an increase in the number of professions that require project management. Experts also cite a need for construction managers since more dwellings, schools, and hospitals will become necessary as the population increases. However, these same experts add that the job is becoming more complicated, given the increased materials regulation (not to mention supply-chain issues) and the fact that the structures themselves have become more complex. Other contributing factors include high attrition rates among current PMs (i.e., retirements) and the needs of emerging economies like those in India and China.

Technical Project Manager Job Outlook

More and more companies are looking to undergo a digital transformation (i.e., improve efficiency and value by implementing digital technology), a trend that has only been accelerated by the pandemic. In fact, the digital transformation market is expected to grow from $469.8 billion in 2020 to over $1 trillion by 2025.

As a result, technical project managers remain essential. Armed with considerable tech expertise, they will be the ones mapping out such transformations. Technical project management roles are projected to grow 10.4 percent over the next decade, according to Burning Glass. The best states to find such positions, according to that same organization, are California, Texas, New York, Florida, and Illinois.

Interested in learning how to become an information technology project manager? You can do so at Columbia Tech Project Management Boot Camp. Learn invaluable skills that will prepare you to begin your tech PM career and thrive!

Is Project Management a Good Career?

A career in project management holds great potential for people with excellent technical skills, as well as the soft skills needed to effectively plan, manage, and complete complex projects while working within time and budgetary constraints. Organizational skills are a must, as is the ability to communicate effectively and adapt readily.

Tech project management careers offer the opportunity to work in a variety of industries and earn a lucrative salary. And, increasing demand for project managers is anticipated to continue through the next decade Take the next step and start your journey to becoming a project management professional with Columbia Engineering Tech Project Management Boot Camp where you’ll learn the in-demand skills you’ll need, reinforce them working through real-world projects, and populate a professional portfolio you can share with employers. Get ready for your future today!

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