What are you worth? We all know that experience, qualifications, sector, and even location, all matter when it comes down to salary expectations. Salaries can shoot‐up nicely after ten years of working in your particular field, or you might find that you aren’t getting paid as much as your friends in London. If you are currently working in project management, or looking to pursue a project management role, you may find that salaries vary quite dramatically, especially when the above factors are taken into consideration. A quick search on Google may bring up a host of different salaries for project managers, each one with different person requirements, locations and qualifications needed. However, a deeper look at this research paints a much stronger image, and we can discover which kind of project managers earn the most, who earn less, where do they work, and most importantly, what are you worth?
Average salaries Project managers are certainly paid well, with a UK average starting salary of £20k ‐ £25k1 rising up to an average of around £43k2 a year with experience, and soaring to heights of £72,5003 for high‐ profile managers at the top of their game. However, there are some exceptions to the average salaries reported, and these abnormal figures are simply down to location, company worked for, experience and the sector worked in. For instance, Salarytrack.co.uk report an average salary for project managers of £40k in the Midlands, Yorkshire, Wales, the North West and the South West, but the average in London rises dramatically to £50k.4 The same data reports that those working as project managers in the financial sector earn above the national average, at £50k – £55k, whilst those working as project managers in the charity, media and administrative sectors all earn below the UK average. 5 1
Reed. (unknown). Career advice: Project Manager. Available: http://www.reed.co.uk/career‐advice/career‐ guide/project‐manager. Last accessed 19th Feb 2013. 2 Totaljobs. (unknown). Salary checker: Project manager. Available: http://www.totaljobs.com/salary‐checker/average‐ project‐management‐salary. Last accessed 19th Feb 2013. 3 CWJobs. (unknown). Salary checker: Project manager. Available: http://www.cwjobs.co.uk/salary‐checker/average‐ project‐manager‐salary. Last accessed 19th Feb 2013. 4 WorkDigital. (unknown). Project Manager Salaries. Available: http://www.salarytrack.co.uk/salary.php?keywords=project+manager&location=&job‐ title=on&submit=Search+Salaries. Last accessed 19th Feb 2013.
Another sector in which project managers are sure to be paid generously is the IT sector, where you could earn an average salary of £52,5006, which is £10k more than the national average for project managers in all sectors.
Tech‐savvy, salary‐savvy Information Technology (IT) project managers are paid very well, and data shows that this is down to years of experience in the sector7, and the company worked for.8 As seen in the below chart, the salary of an IT project manager can rise quite dramatically after four years working in the role:
WorkDigital. (unknown). Project Manager Salaries. Available: http://www.salarytrack.co.uk/salary.php?keywords=project+manager&location=&job‐ title=on&submit=Search+Salaries. Last accessed 19th Feb 2013. 6 unknown (unknown). IT Project Manager jobs. Available: http://www.itjobswatch.co.uk/jobs/uk/it%20project%20manager.do. Last accessed 19 Feb 2013. 7 unknown. (2013). Project Manager, Information Technology salary. Available: http://www.payscale.com/research/UK/Job=Project_Manager%2c_Information_Technology_%28IT%29/Salary#by_Ye ars_Experience. Last accessed 19th Feb 2013. 8 unknown. (2013). Project Manager, Information Technology Salary by Employer Name. Available: http://www.payscale.com/research/UK/Job=Project_Manager%2c_Information_Technology_%28IT%29/Salary/by_Em ployer. Last accessed 19th Feb 2013.
What is also interesting is that an IT project manager seems to get paid more depending on the company they are working for, and also the sector they are working in. For example, take a look at the chart below; detailing an IT project manager’s salary when they are working for large IT focussed companies:
The information in this chart clearly indicates that those working for Accenture and Computer Sciences Corporation (CSC) are commanding the highest salaries (both over £69,000), with project managers at Hewlett‐Packard, IBM and Wipro Technologies all earning a high of around £53,000‐ £54,000. This data may correlate with the data portraying years of experience and salary for IT project managers – perhaps Accenture and CSC employ only the most experienced of project managers? Project managers earning markedly higher salaries at Accenture and CSC could also be down to the high‐profile clients that these companies work with. Accenture famously digitised Warner Brothers’ entire back catalogue of films in high‐resolution9, and have worked with Unilever10 to
unknown. (unknown). Warner Bros.: The Future of Digital Asset Management in the Media and Entertainment Business. Available: http://www.accenture.com/gb‐en/Pages/success‐warner‐bros‐digital‐asset‐management.aspx. Last accessed 19th Feb 2013. 10 unknown. (unknown). Unilever: One Unilever Transformation Programme Delivers Results. Available: http://www.accenture.com/gb‐en/Pages/success‐one‐unilever‐transformation.aspx. Last accessed 21 March 2013.
provide large IT solutions. CSC have worked with international companies such as Coca Cola11, and provided IT support for NASA12.
All mapped out Having seen the importance of employer and years of experience when looking at an IT project manager’s salary, we can now begin to look at trends within other industries, such as engineering. Engineering project managers also earn a very good salary, especially after 4 years of experience, where salary gradually rises to a high of £80,000 for those with 20 years in the industry.13 However, it is interesting to note that there are stark changes in an engineering project manager’s income when looking at where he/she is located in the country14 as shown in the chart below:
Chris Sapardanis. (unknown). Coca‐Cola Supply Chain Management Success Story. Available: http://www.csc.com/application_services/success_stories/78846‐ coca_cola_supply_chain_management_success_story. Last accessed 19th Feb 2013. 12 unknown. (unknown). NASA Shared Services Center Beats Expectations, Wins Accolades. Available: http://www.csc.com/success_stories/flxwd/78768‐ case_study?article=http://www.csc.com/public_sector/success_stories/9224‐ shared_services_center_beats_expectations_wins_accolades.js&searched=NASA. Last accessed 21 March 2013. 13 unknown. (2013). Project Manager, Engineering Salary by Years Experience . Available: http://www.payscale.com/research/UK/Job=Project_Manager%2c_Engineering/Salary#by_Years_Experience. Last accessed 19th Feb 2013. 14 Unknown. (2012). Project Manager, Engineering Salary by City. Available: http://www.payscale.com. Last accessed 19th Feb 2013.
Looking at the above chart, we can see that Aberdeen, Manchester and London are leading the way, with engineer project managers in the Scottish city of Aberdeen earning a pretty decent ‘low’ wage of £40,000, and those at the top of their career earning £90,000. It is perhaps unsurprising that those based in London earn more, but the other outstanding statistic within this set of data is Manchester, with highs of £60,000 being earned. These high earnings are probably attributed to the fact that Aberdeen and Manchester have a number of large engineering firms, who have worked upon some famous projects. Located in Aberdeen are Wood Group Engineering, GL Noble Denton, The Cammach Group and Wellahead Engineering. These companies in Aberdeen all focus on engineering products for energy, such as manufacture of products such as drills and machinery for energy, offshore oil exploration and welding projects. Manchester is home to Atkins, a company responsible for implementing huge projects such as the Hoover Dam Bypass, London’s temporary Olympic venues, nuclear stations, aerospace projects, amazing architecture in the Far and Middle East, Crossrail and Farringdon Station15. Buro Happold is also located in Manchester, and they are the engineers responsible for such projects as the High Line Park in New York City, renovation of the Cutty Sark, some of London’s 2012 Olympic buildings and the Millennium Dome O2 arena16. Looking at the generous salaries received by engineering project managers in Aberdeen and Manchester, and noting that these large companies are based in these cities, it is safe to say that high‐profile projects require the best project managers.
Young professionals When we think of project managers, we don’t usually think of individuals working in the creative industries, or people who do not have many years experience behind them. However, project managers are obviously found in all sectors, and great leaders don’t necessarily have to be a certain age. What is startling, however, is just how much less project managers earn in the creative sector (advertising, marketing, media and PR), compared with the average earned by IT or engineering project managers, and the average earned by project managers across all sectors (£43k). 15
unknown. (unknown). n/a. Available: http://www.atkinsglobal.com/projects. Last accessed 19th Feb 2013. unknown. (2013). Projects. Available: http://www.burohappold.com/projects/. Last accessed 19th Feb 2013.
This difference is shown in the chart below:17 18 19 20
As we can see, there is a stark difference in the average salaries reported by the creative sector and the averages seen in the IT and engineering sectors.
unknown. (2013). Project Manager, Information Technology (IT) Salary. Available: http://www.payscale.com/research/UK/Job=Project_Manager%2c_Information_Technology_%28IT%29/Salary. Last accessed 24th May 2013. 18 unknown. (2013). Project Manager, Engineering Salary. Available: http://www.payscale.com/research/UK/Job=Project_Manager,_Engineering/Salary. Last accessed 24th May 2013. 19 unknown. (2013). Digital Project Manager Salary. Available: http://www.payscale.com/research/UK/Job=Digital_Project_Manager/Salary. Last accessed 24th May 2013. 20 unknown. (2013). Project Manager Marketing Salary. Available: http://www.payscale.com/research/UK/Job=Project_Manager,_Marketing/Salary. Last accessed 24th May 2013.
Further data (see graph below) also shows that not only are they earning below the average, but only 10% of project managers in the creative sector earn over £55,00021:
unknown. (unknown). Project Manager salaries in London. Available: http://salaries.jobs.brandrepublic.com/salary?kw=project+manager&lo=City+e.g.+London&type=permanent. Last accessed 19th Feb 2013.
There are many reasons as to why a project manager in the creative sector might get lower than average pay. Perhaps companies in the creative industry are generally smaller companies, and thus give lower salaries? Maybe project managers in the industry accept lower pay because they have freelance ventures which bring in extra income? Speculation aside, there is strong evidence to show that those project managers with more years experience in the creative industries are not the highest paid, and this may prove that people leave the role of project manager after only a few years, and so do not reach high salaries. Take the example shown below of a digital project manager’s salary by years of experience22 :
This may be an indication that fresh, young digital experts are more highly valued in this sector than their more experienced colleagues, who, although they have worked longer in the project management field, may find their skills and knowledge of trends getting stale with age.
Unknown. (2012). Digital Project Manager, salary by years experience. Available: http://www.payscale.com. Last accessed 19th Feb 2013.
Overall The overall trend for jobs in project management seems to be that you can expect to be earning an average of £40k ‐ £50k, whichever industry you work in. Experience is highly rewarded, and when you are considered to be experienced enough, you can expect a pay rise, especially in the IT and Engineering sectors. Location also matters too, and it isn’t simply Londoners who earn more, as many very large companies are based in other areas of the UK, and they reward their experienced project managers with high salaries. However, when it comes to a fast‐moving sector such as the creative sector, it seems that high salaries do not matter as much, and it may well be that people don’t stay there for long, or their knowledge of new trends may reduce with age. When it comes down to you, and what you’re worth as a project manager, it is worth keeping these statistics in mind, as you are worth what a company is willing to pay for you, and ultimately, skills and experience will get you that job and that pay rise you have always wanted.