4 Tips on How To Improve Your Project Manager Salary

Working as a Project Manager is a tough role. A lot of senior people in the IT industry are project managers. Learn what the average project manager salary is, and how to improve your project manager salary, in this article.

For this article, I’m only referring to IT project managers. There are other project managers in different areas of the business, as well as entirely different industries such as construction.

What Is The Average Project Manager Salary?

The average IT Project Manager salary in the US is $112,500


Let’s have a look at how this compares to related roles:

Business Analyst66,305
Senior Project Manager106,038
Junior Project Manager48,496
Program Manager109,583

As you can see in the table here, there are a few related roles:

  • Business Analyst: The role of a Business Analyst is often seen as a stepping-stone towards a career in project management. The salary of a BA is much less than a PM, likely due to the increased responsibilities of a project manager.
  • Junior Project Manager: This is where project managers start, and you can see the salary is quite low. This is often because the person is new to the industry.
  • Senior Project Manager: Once you get into a Senior role, the salary goes over $100,000. With it, comes more responsibility and pressure.
  • Program Manager: This role is where you manage multiple projects in a program, and the salary reflects this.

So, we’ve seen what related roles are paying and what a project manager pays. How can we improve our PM salary?

1. Get Certified

One of the best ways for project managers to improve their salary is to get certified.

While certification doesn’t directly improve your salary, it does give you a lot of benefits.

It demonstrates a certain level of knowledge, as you need to study for the exam and pass it. They often require a minimum level of experience as a PM as well.

It also demonstrates your commitment to the career, as you wouldn’t bother getting a certification if you didn’t want to do the job.

Certifications also make you more marketable. Often, when companies are looking for project managers, they put certifications such as PMP or Prince2 Foundation in their job requirements. Having those certifications can help you get the job.

Some of the more popular project management certifications are:

  • Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM)
  • Project Management Professional (PMP)
  • Prince2 Foundation
  • Prince2 Practitioner

For more information, you can read this post on PM certifications.

2. Get More Experience in Other Areas

While getting more years of experience will make your salary go up over time, sometimes it can help to get more experience in other areas.

If you’ve been working on web-based projects for a while, it might be a good idea to move into a back-end service project, or a data warehouse project, or something else. This allows you to get experience working in different areas and to discover issues that may arise.

This can help, as it broadens your knowledge, and you can see the warning signs of other teams and other systems sooner.

I’ve worked with project managers who have experience in different areas, and it’s always been useful when they need to speak to other people and find out how to fix issues.

3. Learn Microsoft Office (including Project)

One part of a project manager’s role is tracking the project. This is often done in Microsoft Project. If you learn how to use Microsoft Project better, then you can improve the way you get things done, and even improve your salary along with it.

The same goes for Microsoft Office. A lot of time is spent in Excel tracking project spending and forecasts, PowerPoint for presentations, and Word for reading documentation.

If you learn how to use these tools, more than a basic level, you can do your job better, and improve your salary.

4. Improve your Efficiency

Another tip that applies not just to project managers, but IT professionals in general, is to improve your efficiency.

If you’re able to get things done quicker, easier, and more efficiently, it will make your life easier. It also means you can take on more work, get more responsibility, and in turn, earn a higher salary.

For example, if you’re spending 4 hours per week tracking your project information in a spreadsheet, see if you can cut that time down to 2 hours, or even 1 hour. Is there a way you can automate some of the steps, or even remove them? Are there any shortcuts you can take to get the same result?

If you reduce the time it takes you to get things done, you can get more done. You can also claim that you’re an efficient worker, which is a good way to start improving your salary as a project manager.