How much does a project manager make?
Before we answer this question, some housekeeping:
The only real answer to this question is (the eternally frustrating), “Well, it depends…” As a project manager, your salary depends on factors like your:
- Location—which country? Urban or rural?
- Project management education
- Average project budget
Tools like Payscale and Salary.com can provide some good general salary info, but their shortcoming is that they encompass a lot of estimates that don’t hone in on the digital project management niche, which is what we’re focused on here at The Digital Project Manager. They also don’t always provide enough specificity to be useful.
So, we started surveying the DPM community to get specific insight into digital project management salaries. Our survey was designed to find answers to questions like:
- What’s a typical digital project manager salary?
- What are the average salaries for related roles (Senior Project Manager, Project Coordinator, etc)?
- What’s the average day rate for freelance project managers?
We’ve been doing this survey since 2016—we’ve compiled the results from across the years so you can see how the field is changing over time:
Hundreds of participants from around the globe filled out the 2019 survey. We also supplemented our survey with salary data from other sources on the web, and we’ve compiled the results here to help you better understand the digital project management career field as it continues to grow.
And head’s up—we’re collecting data to update the results for 2020. Please participate by taking a few minutes to complete the survey here:
How Much Do Project Managers Make?
Otherwise known as, “Am I being paid what I’m worth?”
If you’re looking for a average project manager salary, you’ll find a wide range of answers from career sites and labor organizations. For instance, looking at the results from a few well-known career sites, the average PM salary in the U.S. is reported to be $72,000 on one site and $133,000 on another.
Likewise, the variance in reported salary ranges (lowest and highest PM salaries) also make it difficult to really understand where you might even fall on the spectrum, with one site reporting a very wide project manager salary range of $27,000 to $131,500 while another site reports a surprisingly high range from $118,500 to $149,000 in the U.S.
“Okay, okay—just give me some basic numbers”
We can do a bit better than that.
Below, we show the results of calculating the average salaries for various project management roles by combining salary averages from sites like Glass Door, Payscale, Indeed, LinkedIn, CW Jobs, Neuvoo, telegraph, Zip Recruiter, and other career sites. We’ve only covered the United States, United Kingdom, and Canada, but you can still use these estimates to get a basic idea of project management salaries.
Average Project Manager Salary
This is a broad category that includes project management roles across sectors like IT, government, healthcare, finance, construction, and many more.
- Project manager salary Canada: $82,250 (CAD)
- Project manager salary U.S.: $91,881
- Project manager salary U.K.: £50,286
How much does a project manager make per hour?
Based on the average project manager salary listed above and calculated based on a 40-hour work week, project managers earn an average of $39(CAD)/hour in Canada, $44/hour in the United States, and £24/hour in the United Kingdom.
Keep in mind that this hourly rate is a simple calculation based off of average annual salaries—not necessarily what you’d charge as your project manager hourly rate if you’re a contract, freelance, or work from home project manager. Freelancers, jump to the contract vs. permanent section for more info.
Average Digital Project Manager Salary
Our calculations show a clear difference between a general PM salary (above) and a digital PM salary. Comparing to the numbers above, across the board, we see that digital project management pays 20-25% less than the project management industry average.
- Digital project manager salary Canada: $61,707 (CAD)
- Digital project manager salary United States: $72,458
- Digital project manager salary United Kingdom: £38,642
It’s worth pointing out that in our salary survey looking specifically at digital project management salaries, the reported digital PM salary was higher than the averages listed across career websites. Here are the average digital project manager salaries from our 2019 survey:
- Canada: $76,281 (CAD)
- United States: $79,719
- United Kingdom: £42,442
Average Entry-Level Project Manager Salary
Entry-level PMs go by a few different titles. Typically, the salary falls within the same range as a junior project manager salary, project assistant salary, assistant project manager salary, or associate project manager salary. Or, your role might also simply be “project manager”, but with pay starting on the lower end of the earning scale.
- Entry-level project manager salary Canada: $56,253 (CAD)
- Entry-level project manager salary United States: $59,333
- Entry-level project manager salary United Kingdom: £29,500
Are you starting to explore project management as a career? I recommend taking a look at our guide How to Become a Project Manager, which answers questions like, “What is a project manager?” and “What do project managers do?”.
Average Late Career and Senior Project Manager Salary
Predicting what your salary would be as a late career, experienced, or senior PM gets tricky. This is because the project management career path can take you in many directions—and not all of them in project management. It’s important to keep this in mind when considering salary averages as your career advances: instead of looking at a senior PM role, you might be looking at program or portfolio management, business analysis, operations, directorship, consulting, and many other positions.
- Late career and senior project manager salary Canada: $115,377 (CAD)
- Late career and senior project manager salary United States: $91,333
- Late career and senior project manager salary United Kingdom: £64,109
Average Program Manager Salary
The main difference between project management and program management is that program managers are responsible for a portfolio of projects or programs, while a project manager is responsible for the fulfillment of the projects themselves. Senior program manager Suze Haworth goes into more detail on the program manager role in her article on becoming a project manager.
In many cases, the career paths of project and program management overlap, with program managers drawing a higher average salary than project managers:
- Program manager salary Canada: $81,802 (CAD)
- Program manager salary United States: $96,225
- Programme manager salary United Kingdom: £63,139
And advancing along the career path, the average senior program manager salary in Canada, the United States, and the United Kingdom is $93,491 (CAD), $113,004, and £74,969, respectively.
2019 Digital Project Manager Salary Survey Results
This year, we had hundreds of participants from around the globe, with the majority residing in the United States, United Kingdom, and Canada. The remaining 20% of respondents came from a collection of 36 countries—a broader reach than our surveys in previous years.
Similarly to 2018 results, this year most professionals identified themselves as Project Managers, followed by Senior Project Managers. Project Coordinators, Project Directors, and Head of Project Management. The large majority of the respondents (90%) work in a permanent contract, with 10% working in contract or freelance roles.
2019 Salary Highlights
We observed an interesting trend in our results this year: across the board, entry- and mid-level project management roles saw an increase in salary, while higher-level roles saw a decrease.
You can find country-specific details on this below, but overall, the roles of Project Coordinator and Project Manager (entry- and mid-level) experienced anywhere from an 8% to 37% increase from last year. Meanwhile, upper-level roles like Senior Project Manager, Project Director, and Head of Project Management witnessed large decreases, with the greatest decrease for Head of Project Management in the U.S., falling 24% from last year.
This decrease in upper level salaries is exactly the opposite of what we observed from 2017 to 2018—and while we don’t have enough data to draw any sweeping conclusions, the fact that we’re seeing such significant decreases across the board indicates that upper-level PMO roles are undergoing a shift this year. Perhaps it’s a side effect of flattening workplace hierarchies, or is under the influence of the recent conversations and regulations that have targeted pay inequality in corporations—or maybe it’s due to something else entirely. It will be interesting to see how 2019 unravels and whether this trend will continue through 2020.
U.S.A. Digital Project Manager Salary Highlights
We received 153 responses from digital project managers in the U.S.A. spanning 78 cities. The salaries for full-time positions ranged from $20,800 to $165,000. The average freelance digital project manager contractor rate presented a small increase compared to last year’s results, varying from $189 to $800 a day.
Compared to 2018 results, this year’s survey results demonstrate salary increases for some of digital project manager positions. The average salary for Project Managers increased from roughly $72,568 to $75,183 and Project Coordinators saw a big jump (an increase of almost 25%) in average salary, from $44,041 to $54,896. At the same time, higher level roles saw decreases in salary from 2018 to 2019: the average Senior Project Manager salary went from $93,765 to $86,600; Project Director went from $108,823 to $95,342. Head of Project Management saw the biggest decrease from 2018 to 2019, falling almost 24% from $137,942 to $105,155.
UK Digital Project Manager Salary Highlights
We received 66 responses from digital project managers in the United Kingdom spanning 27 cities, with almost half of respondents living in London. The digital project manager salaries ranged from £25,000 to £80,000. The average freelance digital project manager contractor rate varied from £250 to £625 a day.
Compared to 2018, the roles of Project Manager and Project Coordinator saw increased average salaries (from £35,260 to £38,590 and £22,500 to £30,900, respectively). Project Coordinators in the United Kingdom seem to have experienced the greatest leap in salary with an impressive increase of 37%. However, the more senior roles of Senior Project Manager, Project Director, and Head of Project Management all saw decreases in salary: Senior Project Manager saw a minor decrease from £45,639 to £44,322 between 2018 and 2019; Project Directors saw a more significant decrease from £65,217 to £56,250. From 2018 to 2019, Head of Project Management salaries saw almost a 20% decrease, from £77,400 to £62,500.
Canadian Digital Project Manager Salary Highlights
We received 37 responses from digital project managers in Canada across 14 cities, with about a quarter of responses coming from Vancouver and another quarter from Toronto. The digital project manager salaries collected ranged from $55,000 to $135,000, and increase from 2018’s salary range of $42,000 to $128,000. The freelance project manager day rate ranged from $124 to $750.
Like in the United Kingdom and the United States, in Canada we observed roughly a 9% increase in