Are you on track to advance your career as a project manager or interested in this field of work? You may be wondering what the average salary for a project manager is, depending on a number of factors relative to you. This can include type of employment, how many years of experience you have, which industry you work in and which country you work in.

With the transition to remote working and the expansion of AI in project management, the COVID-19 pandemic has reshaped the way project managers work. Opportunities for work in this field have not been limited during the pandemic but rather will see a further expansion. According to PMI, it is expected that the demand for project managers will see a 33% increase by 2027, which equates to approximately 22 million new jobs. .

As the demand for project managers will continue to grow

It is important to know which factors will influence your pay and how.

Some General Stats

  • According to Seek, project manager roles in Australia are advertised for around $120k to $200k (AUD). This is typical for jobs advertised in New South Wales, Victoria, Western Australia and Queensland.
  • In the US, according to PMI, in 2020 the median annual salary for project managers was $116,000 (USD).

In addition, PMI also found that project managers in the US with a PMP certification earned on average $25,000 more than those without it

One way to determine your average annual salary as a project manager is to look at each industry. The graph above highlights an array of different industries and the average salary paid, sourced from a salary survey conducted by PMI in 2020.

  • Training and Education was the least paying industry with an average annual salary below $100,000
  • Resources (mining, agriculture etc) was the highest paying industry with an average annual salary above $120,000

Contract vs Permanent?

Many project management jobs available offer contract/temporary employment, usually lasting around 6 months if not extended. This is useful for project managers who wish to work for a range of different organisations, which can enhance your overall experience and expertise in project management. So, does a contract offer pay better than a permanent offer? Well, for senior project managers, it is most likely the case.

Compare this to the salary listed for the permanent position, at $130,000. With both jobs located in major cities and in similar industries, it is clear to suggest that contract jobs are more attractive in terms of pay. In addition, contract jobs can be beneficial for those looking for a short term position with increased flexibility and broadened experience.

There are, of course, the downsides to working as a contractor which explains the marginal difference in pay. Contractors usually don’t receive the benefits received by permanent employees such as superannuation, leaves and job stability. If you are prepared to embrace these cons and choose to work contract only, it may be worth the while if you are looking to expand your network, enhance your skill set and improve your annual salary.

the salary you earn will grow proportionately to years of experience

As an example, look at a job listing in Sydney, Australia, posted for a government insurance agency. Looking for an experienced project manager, this organisation offers $1000-1100 per day. They require someone who has 5 to 10 years of experience in project management for large scale organisations and offer the possibility of extending past the 9 month contract.

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