Salary Survey Extra: Deep Focus on PMI Project Management Professional (PMP)
Posted on
March 20, 2020

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 These posts contain previously unpublished Salary Survey data.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-certified professionals are leading the charge toward productivity in numerous IT workplaces.

The poet William Butler Yeats wrote the phrase "Things fall apart; the center cannot hold" about revolution sweeping through Ireland in the aftermath of World War I. In a less vivid, more mundane sense, holding the center and making sure that things don't fall apart is an accurate description of what a project manager is expected to accomplish.

Project management as a discipline crosses most modern industries, but information technology claims a sizable share of professional project managers. And while there are other credentials more specific to IT, PMI's Project Management Professional (PMP) cert (No. 15 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: $132,420
Median Annual Salary: $128,000
How satisfied are you with your current salary?
Completely Satisfied: 9.1 percent
Very Satisfied: 18.2 percent
Satisfied: 42.4 percent
Not Very Satisfied: 24.2 percent
Not At All Satisfied: 6.1 percent

All Non-U.S. Respondents
Average Annual Salary: $73,740
Median Annual Salary: $62,500
How satisfied are you with your current salary?
Completely Satisfied: 4.5 percent
Very Satisfied: 9.1 percent
Satisfied: 41 percent
Not Very Satisfied: 31.8 percent
Not At All Satisfied: 13.6 percent

The largest single body of PMP holders to participate in the survey is made up of U.S. residents (60 percent of those surveyed), but we also heard from credential holders in nine other countries: Afghanistan, Australia, Brazil, Canada, France, India, Lebanon, Portugal, and the United Kingdom.

Project management as a profession is somewhat less dominated by men than most IT (or IT-adjacent) occupations: 14 percent of PMP holders who responded to the survey are women. This tends not to be a field where youth is served, with nearly 70 percent of respondents age 45 or older, either between the ages of 45 and 54 (40 percent of respondents) or between the ages of 55 and 64 (29.1 percent). Even among the remaining third of credential holders, nearly all are between the ages of 35 and 44 (29.1 percent of those surveyed), with just 1.8 percent younger than 35 (all between the ages of 25 and 34).

More than 98 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 (54.6 percent of respondents), bachelor's degree (34.5 percent), or doctorate (9.1 percent). The outliers are the 1.8 percent of survey respondents who exited the realm of formal education after completing some level of post-high school technical training.

An impressive 96.5 percent of PMP holders who responded to the survey are employed full-time, with the remaining 3.5 percent either working in part-time positions (1.8 percent) or unemployed (1.7 percent). Among those who have full-time jobs, most have either a standard 40-hour work week (29.1 percent of respondents) or put in between 41 and 50 hours per week (45.5 percent). Of the remaining 25 percent of credential holders employed full-time, 10.9 percent work between 31 and 39 hours per week, while 14 .5 percent are on the clock for more than 50 hours per week.

Project management typically requires a lot of direct interaction with other individuals, so it's not surprising that most PMP holders don't often work from home, with 60 percent of respondents spending fewer than 10 hours per week away from a traditional workplace setting, and a further 16.3 percent having their non-office work hours limited to between 10 and 20 per week. A modest 7.3 percent of respondents put in between 21 and 30 ours per week from home, while the remaining 16 percent are truly living the dream, working either 40 hours per week (7.3 percent of those surveyed) or more than 40 hours per week (9.1 percent) without ever darkening the door of an office building.

In terms of workplace standing, the largest single group of PMP holders we heard from (32.8 percent of respondents) are, as one might expect, employed at the manager level. The rest, in descending order, are either senior managers (23 percent of those surveyed), senior specialists (also 23 percent), directors (6.5 percent), rank-and-file employees (also 6.5 percent), executives (4.9 percent), or specialists (3.3 percent).

An impressive 75.4 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 (1.6 percent of those surveyed), between 3 and 5 years (6.6 percent), between 6 and 8 years (also 6.6 percent), or between 9 and 10 years (9.8 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: 67.2 percent
Several times a week: 19.7 percent
Several times a month: 8.2 percent
Occasionally: 4.9 percent
Rarely: [No responses]

Since becoming certified, I feel there is greater demand for my skills.
Strongly agree: 39.3 percent
Agree: 34.4 percent
Neither Agree nor Disagree: 23 percent
Disagree: 3.3 percent
Strongly Disagree: [No responses]

Becoming certified has increased my problem-solving skills.
Strongly agree: 29.5 percent
Agree: 42.6 percent
Neither Agree nor Disagree: 21.3 percent
Disagree: 3.3 percent
Strongly Disagree: 3.3 percent

Becoming certified has increased my workplace productivity.
Strongly agree: 27.9 percent
Agree: 44.3 percent
Neither Agree nor Disagree: 21.3 percent
Disagree: 1.6 percent
Strongly Disagree: 4.9 percent





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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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