Project Manager Salary United States

project manager salary united states 2003 - 2021
Pandemic negatively impacts PM salaries.

Project Manager Salary United States: Guide, Trend and Analysis

Are you being paid what you are worth? In this guide, I will dive into project manager salary United States 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 (%)
PMI – PM I2021$82,872 (-3%)$105,273 (+2%)$22,40127%
PMI – PM II2021$96,528 (0%)$112,013 (0%)$15,48516%
PMI – PM III2021$114,654 (+4%)$130,051 (+2%)$15,39713%
Glassdoor2020$66,137 (salary only)No breakdown between PMP and non-PMP
Payscale2020$75,735 (salary only)No breakdown between PMP and non-PMP
Salary.com2020$146,229 (median salary and bonus)No breakdown between PMP and non-PMP
Table 1: Project Manager – Average total compensation in the United States i.e. salary and bonus (USD)


  • PM I pay for non-PMP holders declined from $85,235 (2019) to $82,872 (2021). That’s a drop of -$2,363 or 3%.
  • PM II salaries stagnated for 2 years (2019-2021)
  • PM III compensation rose by 2% – 4%
  • If you factor in inflation of 8.2% (1.4% in 2020 and 6.8% in 2021), your purchasing power actually declined even if your salary stayed the same or increased by up to 8%
  • In other words, you cannot stay at the same salary level 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.

project manager salary united states from PMI for PM levels I, II and III
Table 2: Project Manager Salary – Average US compensation by Percentile in US 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. To get a raise, 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 accumulate 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.

project manager salary united states from PMI for Program Manager, Portfolio Manager and PMO Director
Table 3: Project Manager to PMO Director – Average US compensation by Percentile in US Dollars.

Analysis. There is a similar pattern for roles above the project manager. If you are a program manager, portfolio manager or PMO director, a promotion to the next level may not increase your salary as much as staying at your same level and getting better at your job. You can do this by adding to your skills, experience, and contributions. 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.

PM I$77,472$82,034$88,499$91,075$90,881$101,962$94,258$94,746$96,447$92,200
PM II$80,757$87,407$94,527$97,708$98,481$104,989$103,664$105,129$108,606$105,761
PM III$89,986$99,183$104,776$110,269$115,812$118,441$117,069$120,853$124,726$125,957
Table 4: Project Manager Salary United States: Trend 2003-2021
Level200520072009201120132015201720192021Average Annual IncreaseTotal Increase (2003-2021)
PM I6%8%3%0%12%-8%1%2%-4%1.08%19%
PM II8%8%3%1%7%-1%1%3%-3%1.53%28%
PM III10%6%5%5%2%-1%3%3%1%1.93%35%
Table 5: Project Manager Salary United States: Percentage Increase 2003 – 2021

Analysis. There was a pay cut in 2021 due to the pandemic. This is similar to the pay cut in 2015. The US was impacted by a global economic slowdown, partly due to a drop in the price of oil and weakening of emerging markets. In both cases, entry level PMs were impacted more than intermediate and senior PMs. The trailing effect of the 2009 financial crisis showed up in 2011 figures with PM I getting no raise and PM II getting 1%. In contrast, PM III received a 5% pay hike. The higher up you are, the less you feel the impact of recessions. Will we see the same pattern repeat post-COVID?

Trend. Look at the average pay rise over a span of 18 years. Intermediate PMs got 0.45% more annually and 9% over 18 years compared to entry level PMs. Senior PMs got 0.4% more annually than intermediate PMs. The difference adds up to 7% from 2003 to 2021.

Career Tip. If you are an entry level PM, get to PM II as soon as possible. You will be less impacted by economic downturns and get significantly higher annual pay increases.

PM I1.08%$92,200$996$93,196
PM II1.53%$105,761$1,618$107,379
PM III1.93%$125,957$2,431$128,388
Project Manager Salary United States – Future Trend

PMs that were let go in 2020 have mostly been rehired. Due to the economic downturn, they are earning less in 2021 compared to pre-pandemic levels. My prediction for 2022 is that salaries will likely see a modest increment similar to 2017. 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, plan and work towards a promotion.

Accelerate Your Career
Accelerate your Project Management Career

Other Factors Impacting Project Manager Salaries in the United States

There are other factors that affect how much you get paid. As expected, experience pays. The more years of experience you have, the more you can expect to be paid. Also, to be fair, the more difficult the job, the higher the pay. In the case of projects, the simple way to quickly assess complexity is project size. The bigger your project, based on the number of team members and project budget, the greater your salary.

Project Manager Salary United States based on Number of Years of Experience

Years of Experience in PM<3Y3-4Y5-9Y10-14Y15-19Y20+Y
Project Manager Salary United States$78K$85K$100K$120K$130K$138K

Project Manager Salary United States based on Average Number of Team Members

Number of Team Members1-45-910-1415-1920+
Project Manager Salary United States$105K$115K$120K$120K$130K

Project Manager Salary United States based on Average Project Budget

Project Budget<$100K$100-499K$500-999K$1M-10M$10M+
Project Manager Salary United States$90K$105K$115K$125K$137K

How to Make Sense of and Use These Numbers?

These salary ranges are all over the map. How do I make sense of all these numbers and use them to set and negotiate my salary expectation? Here’s a simple way to do it: average it out. So for example, if you have 5 years of project management experience and lead a team of 10 members with a budget of $200K:

You should add $100K (5 Years Experience) + $120K (team size of 10) + $105K (budget of $200K)

Then average out the total: $325K / 3 = $108,333

And you can use that as a basis to negotiate your salary.


  • Project Management Institute.
  • PMI, Earning Power.
  • Indeed.
  • Glassdoor.,2_IN1_KO3,18.htm
  • Payscale.
  • Salary.
  • Washington Post.

The Ultimate Guide to Negotiating Your Project Management Salary

In the competitive field of project management, negotiating your salary is a crucial step towards achieving your career goals and ensuring fair compensation for your skills and experience. However, many professionals find themselves at a loss when it comes to effectively negotiating their project management salary. That’s where this ultimate guide comes in. Packed with valuable insights, proven strategies, and expert advice, this guide is your go-to resource for mastering the art of negotiation. Whether you’re a seasoned project manager looking to level up your earning potential or a newcomer to the field aiming to secure a competitive salary, this guide will provide you with the tools and knowledge you need to confidently navigate the negotiation process. From understanding your market value to crafting a persuasive pitch and handling counteroffers, we’ll cover it all. Get ready to take control of your financial future and secure the salary you deserve with this comprehensive and actionable guide to negotiating your project management salary.

The importance of negotiating your project management salary

Negotiating your project management salary is more than just a formality; it’s a critical step in setting yourself up for long-term success. Many professionals make the mistake of accepting the first salary offer they receive, without considering the potential for higher compensation. By negotiating your project management salary, you can ensure that you are being fairly compensated for your skills, experience, and the value you bring to the table.

One of the primary reasons to negotiate your project management salary is to increase your earning potential. Project managers play a vital role in the success of organizations, and their skills are in high demand. By negotiating a higher salary, you can reflect the value you bring to the organization and position yourself for future salary growth.

Another important reason to negotiate your project management salary is to establish your worth in the job market. Accepting a lower salary than you deserve can have long-term consequences, as it may become the basis for future salary offers. By negotiating your salary, you can ensure that you are not undervalued and that your compensation aligns with industry standards and your level of expertise.

Researching salary benchmarks in project management

Before entering into salary negotiations, it’s crucial to have a clear understanding of the salary benchmarks in project management. Researching salary data will provide you with valuable insights into the average salaries for project management roles in your industry and location. This information will serve as a foundation for your negotiation strategy and help you determine a realistic target salary.

There are several resources you can utilize to research salary benchmarks in project management. Industry-specific websites, such as project management associations and job boards, often provide salary information that is relevant to your field. Additionally, salary surveys conducted by reputable organizations can offer valuable data on average salaries and compensation trends in project management.

When researching salary benchmarks, it’s important to consider factors such as your level of experience, education, certifications, and geographic location. These factors can significantly impact salary ranges and help you gauge where you stand in terms of compensation. By having a solid understanding of the market value for your role, you can enter salary negotiations with confidence and leverage.

Understanding the factors that influence project management salaries

To effectively negotiate your project management salary, it’s essential to understand the factors that influence salary ranges in the field. By understanding these factors, you can tailor your negotiation strategy to highlight your strengths and address any potential concerns that employers may have.

One of the most significant factors that influence project management salaries is experience. Employers often place a premium on candidates who have a proven track record of successfully managing projects and delivering results. The more experience you have, the higher your earning potential is likely to be.

Another factor that plays a role in project management salaries is education and certifications. Advanced degrees, such as an MBA or a master’s degree in project management, can command higher salaries. Additionally, certifications such as the Project Management Professional (PMP) certification can demonstrate your expertise and increase your market value.

Other factors that can influence project management salaries include the size and complexity of the projects you have managed, the industry you work in, and the geographic location of your job. Highly specialized or niche industries may offer higher salaries, while certain regions or cities may have a higher cost of living, resulting in higher salary ranges.

Preparing for salary negotiations in project management

Effective preparation is key to successful salary negotiations in project management. By taking the time to prepare thoroughly, you can approach the negotiation process with confidence and increase your chances of securing a favorable outcome. Here are some essential steps to help you prepare for salary negotiations:

1. Assess your value: Before entering into negotiations, take an honest assessment of your skills, experience, and the value you bring to the organization. Identify your key strengths and achievements that make you a valuable asset.

2. Set realistic goals: Determine your target salary based on your research of salary benchmarks and your own market value. Set realistic goals that align with industry standards and your level of expertise.

3. Gather evidence: Compile a portfolio of your accomplishments, such as successful project completions, cost savings, or revenue growth. Having tangible evidence of your impact can strengthen your negotiation position.

4. Practice your pitch: Develop a persuasive pitch that highlights your unique selling points and demonstrates your value to the organization. Practice your pitch to ensure it comes across confidently and convincingly during negotiations.

5. Anticipate objections: Put yourself in the employer’s shoes and anticipate any potential objections or concerns they may raise during negotiations. Prepare counterarguments to address these objections effectively.

6. Consider your alternatives: Identify your alternatives in case negotiations do not result in your desired outcome. This could include exploring other job opportunities or considering additional benefits or perks that may be negotiable.

By following these steps, you’ll be well-prepared to enter into salary negotiations and advocate for the compensation you deserve.

Strategies and tactics for negotiating your project management salary

Negotiating your project management salary requires a strategic approach to maximize your chances of success. Here are some proven strategies and tactics to help you navigate the negotiation process:

1. Anchor your negotiation: Begin the negotiation with a higher salary range than your target. This technique, known as anchoring, sets a higher starting point for the negotiation and gives you room to negotiate down while still achieving your desired outcome.

2. Highlight your unique value: Emphasize your unique skills, experience, and accomplishments that set you apart from other candidates. Showcase the specific ways in which you can contribute to the organization’s success.

3. Focus on the employer’s needs: Frame your negotiation in terms of how your skills and experience can address the employer’s pain points and contribute to their goals. By demonstrating your value in solving their problems, you increase your negotiating power.

4. Use data and market research: Support your negotiation with data and market research that validate your desired salary. Refer to industry salary benchmarks, average salaries for similar roles, and the value you bring to the organization.

5. Be flexible with non-salary benefits: If the employer is unable to meet your desired salary, explore alternative forms of compensation such as bonuses, stock options, flexible work hours, or additional vacation time. Non-salary benefits can often make up for any gaps in salary.

6. Maintain a positive and professional attitude: Approach the negotiation process with a positive and professional demeanor. Be respectful, collaborative, and open to finding a mutually beneficial solution. Avoid becoming confrontational or aggressive, as it can harm the negotiation process.

By implementing these strategies and tactics, you can effectively navigate the negotiation process and increase your chances of securing a favorable salary.

Overcoming common challenges in salary negotiations for project managers

Salary negotiations can present various challenges, and it’s important to be prepared to overcome them effectively. Here are some common challenges project managers may encounter during salary negotiations and strategies to address them:

1. Resistance to salary increases: Employers may be resistant to offering higher salaries due to budget constraints or organizational policies. In such cases, emphasize the value you bring to the organization and how a higher salary is justified based on your skills and contributions.

2. Lack of confidence: Negotiating your salary can be intimidating, especially if you lack confidence in your worth. Focus on your achievements, skills, and market value to boost your confidence. Practice your negotiation skills and seek support from mentors or career coaches.

3. Fear of jeopardizing the job offer: Many professionals fear that negotiating their salary may jeopardize the job offer altogether. However, research shows that employers expect candidates to negotiate and often have room for negotiation. Approach the negotiation process respectfully and professionally to minimize any negative impact.

4. Uncertainty about salary ranges: Project management salaries can vary significantly depending on factors such as industry, location, and company size. Research salary ranges specific to your industry and location to gain a better understanding of what is reasonable to expect.

5. Negotiating with multiple offers: If you have multiple job offers, it can be challenging to navigate negotiations effectively. Prioritize your offers based on factors such as salary, career growth opportunities, and company culture. Negotiate with the offers that align best with your long-term goals.

By recognizing and addressing these challenges, you can overcome potential roadblocks and negotiate your project management salary more effectively.

Additional benefits to consider in project management salary negotiations

Salary negotiations are not limited to base salary alone. There are often additional benefits and perks that can be negotiated to enhance your overall compensation package. Here are some additional benefits to consider during project management salary negotiations:

1. Bonuses and incentives: Inquire about performance-based bonuses or incentives that can provide an additional financial boost based on your achievements and project outcomes.

2. Professional development opportunities: Negotiate for opportunities to attend conferences, workshops, or receive training that can enhance your skills and advance your career.

3. Flexible work arrangements: Discuss the possibility of flexible work hours, remote work options, or compressed workweeks that can improve work-life balance and reduce commuting time.

4. Additional vacation time: Request additional vacation days or the ability to carry over unused vacation days from year to year.

5. Healthcare and retirement benefits: Explore options for improved healthcare coverage, retirement plans, or employer contributions to enhance your financial security.

Remember that not all benefits may be negotiable, and the availability of certain benefits may vary depending on the organization. Prioritize the benefits that are most important to you and align with your personal and professional goals.

Dos and don’ts of negotiating your project management salary

To ensure a successful negotiation process, it’s important to keep in mind some dos and don’ts of negotiating your project management salary:


Do research salary benchmarks and industry standards.

Do prepare thoroughly, including practicing your negotiation pitch.

Do focus on the value you bring to the organization.

Do be professional and maintain a positive attitude throughout the negotiation process.

Do consider non-salary benefits or alternative forms of compensation.


Don’t reveal your desired salary too early in the negotiation process.

Don’t make ultimatums or become confrontational.

Don’t settle for less than you believe you deserve without proper justification.

Don’t forget to consider the overall compensation package, including benefits and perks.

Don’t burn bridges if the negotiation does not result in your desired outcome.

By following these dos and don’ts, you can approach salary negotiations in project management with confidence and professionalism.

Conclusion: Empowering project managers to negotiate their worth

Negotiating your project management salary is a critical step towards achieving your career goals and ensuring fair compensation for your skills and experience. By understanding the importance of negotiation, researching salary benchmarks, and preparing effectively, you can navigate the negotiation process with confidence and increase your chances of securing a favorable outcome.

Remember to implement proven strategies and tactics during negotiations, overcome common challenges, and consider additional benefits that can enhance your overall compensation package. By following the dos and don’ts of negotiation, you can advocate for the salary you deserve and empower yourself as a project manager.

Take control of your financial future and secure the salary you deserve by mastering the art of negotiation. With this comprehensive and actionable guide, you have the tools and knowledge to confidently negotiate your project management salary and unlock your earning potential.