Project Manager Salary Canada

Pandemic negatively impacts PM salaries

Project Manager Salary Canada: Guide, Trend and Analysis

Are you being paid what you are worth? In this guide, I will dive into the Project Manager Salary Canadian numbers published by the Project Management Institute (PMI), provide some analysis and trend information. PMI categorizes Project Manager jobs into three levels. To find out which level you belong to, check out the job descriptions here:

Step 1: Identify what level of project manager you are based on your job responsibilities.

Even if your job title is Project Coordinator, based on your responsibilites, you could be categorized as Project Manager I by PMI standards.

Project Manager I

Under direct supervision of a more senior project manager, a Portfolio Manager, or a Program Manager, oversees a small project or phase(s) of a larger project. Responsibility for all aspects of the project over the entire project life (initiate, plan, execute, control, close). Must be familiar with system scope and project objectives, as well as the role and function of each team member, to effectively coordinate the activities of the team.

Project Manager II

Under general supervision of either a Portfolio Manager or a Program Manager, oversees multiple projects or one larger project. In addition to duties of Project Manager I, responsible for assembling project team, assigning individual responsibilities, identifying appropriate resources needed, and developing schedule to ensure timely completion of project. May communicate with a Senior Project Manager, Functional Area Manager, or Program Manager regarding status of specific projects.

Project Manager III

Under general direction of either a Portfolio Manager or in some cases a Program Manager, oversees high-priority projects, which often require considerable resources and high levels of functional integration. In addition to duties of a Project Manager II, takes projects from original concept through final implementation. Interfaces with all areas affected by the project including end users, distributors, and vendors. Ensures adherence to quality standards and reviews project deliverables. May communicate with a company executive regarding the status of specific projects.

Source / LevelYearNon-PMPPMPValue of PMP ($)Value of PMP in 2021(%)Value of PMP in 2019(%)
PMI –
PM I
2021$82,918 (+3%)$91,986 (-3%)$9,06811%18%
PMI –
PM II
2021$94,302 (-1%)$104,529 (-2%)$10,22711%13%
PMI –
PM III
2021$115,188 (+7%)$121,193 (0%)$12,75511%12%
Glassdoor2020$81,000 (salary only)No breakdown between PMP and non-PMP
Indeed2020$80,060 (salary only)No breakdown between PMP and non-PMP
Payscale2020$79,532 (salary and bonus)No breakdown between PMP and non-PMP
Table 1: Project Manager – Average Canadian salary in Canadian Dollars. Lists total compensation i.e. salary and bonus.

PMI conducts and publishes salary data every two years. Since 2019, PMI published salaries for project managers with the Project Management Professional (PMP) credential and those without. In 2021, having the Project Management Professional (PMP®) credential can boost your salary by $9,068 to $12,755 or 11%.

Highlights:

  • The value of PMP has dropped compared to 2019 where the salary boost was in the range of 12% to 18%.
  • While PM I pay for non-PMP holders rose by 3%, for PMP holders it has dropped by 3%,
  • PM salaries declined for both PMP and non-PMP certified professionals. PMP holders actually saw a bigger dip (-2%) compared to those without the PMP (-1%).
  • While PM III without PMP certification saw compensation rise by 7%, PMP holders salary stagnated.
  • If you factor in Canadian inflation of 5.12% (4.4% in 2021 and 0.72% in 2020), the only PMs who gained in purchasing power is non-PMP PM III.
  • In other words, you cannot stay at the same salary level even with a 2% salary adjustment. It’s a must to keep advancing your career if you want to maintain your purchasing power and lifestyle.

MasterClass: Become the Project Doctor who rescues troubled projects and introduces project management best practices into your organization.

Career Tip #1: If you don’t have the PMP, aim to get it as soon as possible. Set a S.M.A.R.T. goal (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound) and ask your manager if the company will support you in this. These two articles provide a step-by-step guide on how to get your PMP.

Toronto PM SalariesYearNon-PMPPMPValue of PMP ($)Value of PMP (%)
PMI – PM I2021$78,017
(+3%)
$91,911
(-2%)
$11,68915%
PMI – PM II2021$87,667 (-14%)$103,061 (-2%)$15,39418%
PMI – PM III2021$112,202 (+3%)$120,436 (+6%)$8,2346%
Table 1b: Project Manager Salary in Toronto – Lists average total compensation in Canadian dollars i.e. salary and bonus.

Analysis: In 2019, the PMP boosts the pay of entry level project managers in Toronto by 21%. This has now declined to 15%, still a sizeable jump. For PM II, having the PMP buffered the salary drop to -2% instead of -14%. PM IIIs with PMP certifications saw the only pay increase that beat inflation (5.12%).

Career Tip: If you are a project manager in Toronto and Ontario, get your Project Management Professional certification as soon as possible.

Vancouver PM SalariesYearNon-PMPPMPValue of PMP ($)Value of PMP (%)
PMI – PM I2021$81,242
(-3%)
$92,690 (+4%)$11,44814%
PMI – PM II2021$102,220$102,568 (-4%)$3480%
PMI – PM III2021$100,068 (-7%)$123,221 (-4%)$23,15323%
Table 1c: Project Manager Salary in Vancouver – Lists average total compensation in Canadian dollars i.e. salary and bonus.

Analysis: In Vancouver, senior project managers gain the most from a PMP: a 23% pay increase. BC PMs were hard hit by the pandemic. Only PM I with PMP certification saw a pay rise in the past two years. PM IIIs without the PMP are paid the same as PM IIs.

Career Tip: If you are a junior project manager in Vancouver, a PMP will boost your salary by $11,448. If you are a senior project manager in Vancouver and don’t have the PMP, you are missing out on a significant pay increase: $23,153! Finally, try not to be an intermediate PM II in British Columbia for too long.

Table 2: Project Manager – Average Canadian compensation by Percentile in Canadian Dollars.

This table shows the average salary by 10th, 25th, 50th (median), 75th and 90th percentile. Horizontal arrows show the percentage salary increase when you move to another percentile. Vertical arrows show the percentage salary increase when you advance to the next level. You can either advance horizontally or vertically. The green arrow indicates a higher salary increase; the blue arrow indicates a lower salary increase.

Career Tip #2: Once you have your PMP, take a look at which percentile your salary falls in. From there, you have two options, get a raise while maintaining the same level and job responsibilities. For this you need to demonstrate that your skills and contributions have increased based on your years of experience. The second option is to move vertically up to the next level of responsibilities. Sometimes, moving horizontally will get you a better raise than moving vertically.

My general rule of thumb is this: if you are below the median, progress horizontally and once you are at the median or 75th percentile, aim to advance vertically to a role with more responsibilities.

In a coaching setting, I would give you personalized advice based on your values, strengths, areas of growth and long-term career roadmap. For example, if you are on a fast-track to be an executive, then you want to move vertically at every opportunity.

How do you advance horizontally or vertically? The PMI has introduced the talent triangle. To maintain your PMP, you need to maintain professional development units (PDUs) in Technical, Strategic and Leadership areas. While there are many offerings for technical skill development, career coaching can help you grow in leadership, business and soft skills needed to advance your career.

Table 3: Project Manager to PMO Director – Average Canadian compensation by Percentile in Canadian Dollars.

Analysis. What is surprising for program manager, portfolio manager and PMO director positions is that a promotion to the next level may not increase your salary as much as staying at your same level and adding to your skills, experience, and contribution. It is likely that 90th percentile salaries are only available in certain industries and may not be feasible for your specific industry. Pay more attention to median salaries because average salaries are calculated and may not actually exist in the real world.

Level2003200520072009201120132015201720192021
PM I$71,788$75,886$84,145$85,050$86,514$90,838$80,104$91,143$94,352$88,988
PM II$82,168$79,933$91,105$96,776$98,159$101,765$96,425$98,297$104,865$102,168
PM III$89,330$98,407$112,539$109,223$113,082$115,902$115,922$117,434$118,536$120,219
Table 4: Project Manager Salary Canadaian Salary Trend 2003-2021
Level200520072009201120132015201720192021Average Annual Increase
PM I6%11%1%2%5%-12%14%4%-6%1.33%
PM II-3%14%6%1%4%-5%2%7%-3%1.28%
PM III 10%14%-3%4%2%0%1%1%1%1.71%
Table 5: Project Manager Salary Canada: 2003-2021 Percentage Increase

Analysis. What is worth noting is PM II salary levels is most impacted by the pandemic. So try not to remain at this intermediate level for too long. PM III compensation is more stable and less affected by economic downturns. Observe that in 2017, junior PM salaries bounced back significantly. If conditions improve, it is likely that junior PM salaries will see a significant correction.

Trend. From 2013 to 2021, the average annual salary increase for all three project manager levels is 1.44%. The general trend is upward with the noticeable exception of 2015 and 2021. The projected 2022 compensation is based on this average increase over 18 years. This is a conservative estimate. Should the economy improve, junior and intermediate PMs should see larger increments.

Level2003-2021 Average Annual Increase2021 Average PayAverage IncreaseProjected 2022 Compensation
PM I1.33%$92,690$1,229$93,919
PM II1.28%$102,568$1,308$103,876
PM III 1.71%$123,221$2,113$125,333
Project Manager Salary Canada – Future Trend

Bookmark this page and check back for an update next year.

Career Tip #3: To maintain your income with stagnating salaries and potentially no bonus, start making plans to get a promotion.

Accelerate Your Career

Sources

  • Project Management Institute. https://www.periscopeiq.com/PMISAL/default.aspx
  • Indeed. https://ca.indeed.com/salaries/project-manager-Salaries
  • Glassdoor. https://www.glassdoor.ca/Salaries/canada-project-manager-salary-SRCH_IL.0,6_IN3_KO7,22.htm
  • Payscale. https://www.payscale.com/research/CA/Job=Project_Manager%2C_(Unspecified_Type_%2F_General)/Salary
  • Global News. https://globalnews.ca/news/7200264/canada-coronavirus-covid-19-pay-cut-wages/
  • Global News. https://globalnews.ca/news/7090216/coroanvirus-salary-changes/
  • Washington Post. https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2020/07/01/pay-cut-economy-coronavirus/

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