Salary Survey Extra: Deep Focus on PMI Project Management Professional (PMP)
Posted on
October 27, 2023

Salary Survey Extra is a series of periodic dispatches that give added insight into the findings of our most recent Salary Survey. These posts contain previously unpublished Salary Survey data.

PMP is the leading certification for professional project managers.

Among the more famous items of political propaganda in modern world history is the legendary claim that Italian dictator Benito Mussolini "made the trains run on time." The idea that singular top-down control equates with superior performance is one that strongmen love to spread. In reality, peak efficiency and effectiveness is typically a team effort that requires excellence from many individuals.

It still helps, of course, to have a central source of coordination and orchestration. That's especially true in the modern IT workplace, where the organizing force is often a project manger. There are other credentials more specific to IT, but PMI's Project Management Professional (PMP) cert (No. 4 on our most recent Salary Survey 75 list) always has a strong presence in our annual Salary Survey.

Here's what the salary picture looks like for PMP holders who responded to the Salary Survey:

All U.S. Respondents
Average Annual Salary: $147,070
Median Annual Salary: $150,500
How satisfied are you with your current salary?
Completely Satisfied: 5.7 percent
Very Satisfied: 25.4 percent
Satisfied: 41 percent
Not Very Satisfied: 23 percent
Not At All Satisfied: 4.9 percent

All Non-U.S. Respondents
Average Annual Salary: $81,550
Median Annual Salary: $85,630
How satisfied are you with your current salary?
Completely Satisfied: 6.1 percent
Very Satisfied: 10.2 percent
Satisfied: 39.8 percent
Not Very Satisfied: 29.6 percent
Not At All Satisfied: 14.3 percent

The largest single body of PMP holders to participate in the survey is made up of U.S. residents (55.5 percent of those surveyed), but we also heard from credential holders in 32 other countries: Afghanistan, Australia, Austria, Bangladesh, Brazil, Canada, China, Croatia, Egypt, France, India, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Montenegro, Morocco, New Zealand, Pakistan, Portugal, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Korea, Spain, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, and Vietnam.

Project management as a profession is somewhat less dominated by men than most IT (or IT-adjacent) occupations: 18.5 percent of PMP holders who responded to the survey are women, with 77.6 percent who are men, 0.4 percent who are transgender male, 0.4 percent who are transgender female, 1.2 percent who are gender variant/nonconforming, and 1.9 percent who chose not to identify their gender. This tends not to be a field where youth is served, with nearly 65 percent of respondents age 45 or older, either between the ages of 45 and 54 (46 percent of respondents), between the ages of 55 and 64 (14.5 percent), or between the ages of 65 and 74 (3.6 percent). Even among the remaining 35-ish percent of credential holders, nearly all are between the ages of 35 and 44 (27.7 percent of those surveyed), with just 8.2 percent younger than 35 (all between the ages of 25 and 34).

More than 95 percent of PMP holders who responded to the survey have an educational background that includes time spent at a college or university. The highest level of education completed by most PMP holders is either a master's degree (56.8 percent of respondents), bachelor's degree (30.5 percent), doctorate (5 percent), professional degree (2.3 percent), or associate's degree (1.4 percent). The outliers are the 2.3 percent of survey respondents who exited the realm of formal education after completing some level of post-high school technical training, the 1.3 percent who topped out with a high school diploma, and the 0.4 percent who entered the workforce with no formal education whatsover.

A sturdy 84.9 percent of PMP holders who responded to the survey are employed full-time, with the remaining 15 percent either working in part-time positions (3.9 percent), taking a sabbatical (3.5 percent), in school (also 3.4 percent), or unemployed (4.2 percent). Among those who have full-time jobs, most have either a standard 40-hour work week (32.4 percent of respondents) or put in between 41 and 50 hours per week (41.6 percent). Of the remaining 25-ish percent of credential holders employed full-time, 5.5 percent work between 31 and 39 hours per week, 1.3 percent put in between 20 and 30 hours per week, 1.8 percent are on the clock for fewer than 20 hours per week, and 17.4 percent work more than 50 hours per week.

Project management typically requires a lot of direct interaction with other individuals, but it would appear that much of that interaction has shifted to video streaming since the COVID-19 pandemic. More than 35 percent of respondents are spending their entire work schedule at home, putting in either 40 hours per week without leaving the house (14.6 percent), or more than 40 hours per week (21.9 percent). In the middle are those who work from home either between 31 and 39 hours per week (11.9 percent of respondents), between 21 and 30 hours per week (15.5 percent), or between 10 and 20 hours per week (9.6 percent). Just 26.5 percent of those surveyed are spending most of their time in a more traditional workplace setting, working from home fewer than 10 hours per week.

In terms of workplace standing, the largest single group of PMP holders we heard from (24 percent of respondents) are employed at the manager level. The rest, in descending order, are either senior managers (23.1 percent of those surveyed), senior specialists (19.7 percent), directors (12 percent), executives (8.5 percent), specialists (7.3 percent), or rank-and-file employees (5.4 percent).

A notable 60.6 percent of PMP holders who responded to the survey are IT veterans, having worked in a role that directly utilizes one or more of their certified skills for more than a decade. The rest have been plying their certified skills for either between zero years (1 to 11 months) and 2 years (5.8 percent of those surveyed), between 3 and 5 years (11.6 percent), between 6 and 8 years (13.5 percent), or between 9 and 10 years (8.5 percent).

Finally, here's the view of PMP holders on key questions from the survey about how certification impacts job performance:

At my current job I use skills learned or enhanced through certification:
Several times a day: 41.4 percent
Several times a week: 30.1 percent
Several times a month: 13.5 percent
Occasionally: 12.7 percent
Rarely: 2.3 percent

Since becoming certified, I feel there is greater demand for my skills.
Strongly agree: 38.6 percent
Agree: 38.2 percent
Neither Agree nor Disagree: 15.1 percent
Disagree: 4.6 percent
Strongly Disagree: 3.5 percent

Becoming certified has increased my problem-solving skills.
Strongly agree: 33.2 percent
Agree: 41.3 percent
Neither Agree nor Disagree: 19.8 percent
Disagree: 4.2 percent
Strongly Disagree: 1.5 percent

Becoming certified has increased my workplace productivity.
Strongly agree: 26.6 percent
Agree: 45.6 percent
Neither Agree nor Disagree: 20.1 percent
Disagree: 5.4 percent
Strongly Disagree: 2.3 percent







About the Author

Certification Magazine was launched in 1999 and remained in print until mid-2008. Publication was restarted on a quarterly basis in February 2014. Subscribe to CertMag here.

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