What Is Your Earning Power?

The 2015 (9th Edition) of the Project Management Institute’s (PMI) Salary Survey has some interesting information in it. Here’s my interpretation of the presented information.

The approach

  • The survey was conducted by asking PMs for responses.
  • It was sent to 209,834 project professionals, of 454k members across 34 countries.
  • 26,347 responded with usable data, 716 of those were from Australia.
  • Remember the survey report is based on self-reporting by those 716 people who were motivated to respond…I confess I was not one of them and I further confess no one I’ve asked admits to responding either.
  • The largest groups or respondents were from IT, Telecommunications, Government and Financial Services; accounting for over 50% of respondents. The remainder were distributed across engineering, construction, health care and others.
  • Well over 50% of respondents from all industries were engaged in IT projects… deep breath… is there any such thing as an IT project? Again, deep breath.
  • The research only reports salaries but the definition of salary isn’t provided – I am assuming it excludes contract work.

Salaries by project budget – yes I wrote that but my jaw is clenched…..

  • Salaries were recorded according to the budget for a project, and not according to the planned outcome of the project or it’s complexity in content or delivery (when will we ever learn?).
  • In Australia this resulted in a salary of $98k* for a project spend less than $100k and $157k for projects over $10m spend.
  • The best place in the world to work (dollar wise) is Switzerland where the top salary is UD$135k.
  • The reported mean salary for Australia is $151k.
  • The picture isn’t much better for a program manager with a mean of $200k.
  • When we come to median salary across the board Australia comes in second with $125k for project manager and first for program manager at $155k.

Salaries by years of experience (clearly the operating assumption is that the more time you’ve been at something the more valuable you are).

  • The mean of 1 – 5 years is $131k
  • The mean of 10 – 15 is $150k
  • The mean of over 20 is $198k

Salaries by gender

The result is that women in Australia (who responded to this survey) earn a whopping 89% of what men earn – at all levels, across the board. I am infuriated but not surprised and I promise RNC is an equal payer.

Last words

The full report is 371 pages long and I’ve only given you a taste of the findings here. You can read it if you like, it’s available for download as a PDF on the PMI site.

I’ll leave you with a few thoughts and questions:

  • If the PMI is the leading professional body for project/program/portfolio managers/directors why is the membership only 454k globally?
  • The PMI reports serving 2.9m project people globally, suggesting that only 15% of those served are actually members; and if they aren’t members how does PMI arrive at the figure 2.9m?
  • RNC’s research indicates that 40% of all organizational budgets go to projects**. That’s a really big number and I’m guessing even at 2.9m that isn’t enough project managers. Who is running all the other projects? What do they look like? What do they think of their jobs and what do others think of them?

Hoping this gives you some food for thought and if I can help in any way please get in touch.