Salary Survey Extra: Deep Focus on Project Management Professional (PMP)
Posted on
February 24, 2017

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 These posts contain previously unpublished Salary Survey data.

What do Project Management Professionals have in common?

Project management is not precisely a new idea. The industry-guiding Project Management Institute has been in operation since 1969. The harmonious integration of project management principles into IT disciplines like software development is a somewhat more recent development, but there's almost no separating the two in 2017.

There's work for able project managers at the helm of IT-driven endeavors large and small. And the Project Management Professional (PMP) certification — managed by the aforementioned Project Management Institute — has become a vital feature of the IT certification landscape.

It can be frequently found at or near the top of lists of the best-salaried credentials in IT, including our most recent Salary Survey 75 rundown, where it slotted in at No. 10. We tracked an average annual salary of $136,630 among U.S. credential holders, with a corresponding median annual salary of $128,950. Outside the U.S., those numbers are $71,890 (average) and $68,520 (median), respectively.

The PMP credential has international reach. While 65 percent of those who responded to our survey are U.S. residents, we heard from PMP-certified individuals in 15 other countries, including Australia, Brazil, Canada, France, Greece, India, Italy, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Spain, and the island republic of Trinidad and Tobago.

A more-robust-than-usual 12.2 percent of PMP-certified survey respondents are women, placing the number of male respondents (87.8 percent) slightly below the fairly common 90-percent threshold. Participants of both genders tend to established adult working professionals. We didn't hear from anyone at all in the 18-or-younger and 19-to-24 age brackets.

Rather, a shade more than 60 percent of those surveyed are either between the ages of 35 and 44 (41.8 percent), or 45 and 54 (19.9 percent). The callow "youths" of project management, in this particular crowd, are the 31.6 percent of respondents between the ages of 25 and 34. (We did also hear from a smattering of PMPs age 55 and older.)

PMPs tend to be highly educated, with an eye-popping 61.2 percent of those surveyed having risen to the level of master's degree, while 30.6 percent topped out at a bachelor's degree. Given that 4 percent of respondents have either a doctorate or a professional degree (such as a juris doctor), it's strikingly evident that anyone planning on a career in project management should, in almost all cases, plan to attend college first.

Full-time employment is the norm in project management: 94.5 percent of those surveyed have regular full-time jobs, versus just 1.5 percent who are unemployed. (We tracked very modest numbers of part-time professionals and retirees as well.)

Full-time employment in project management, on the other hand, doesn't necessarily mean a 40-hour work week. About 25 percent of those we heard from hit the standard, but 49 percent put in between 41 and 50 hours a week, while a hard-working 16.1 percent are on the job more than 50 hours between Monday and Sunday.

Given that project managers are, you know, managers, it's perhaps a bit surprising that largest single bloc of those surveyed (31.7 percent) consider themselves senior specialists within their current employer's organizational hierarchy. On the other hand, nearly half consider themselves either managers (20.4 percent) or senior managers (23.5 percent), with a notable tier of C-suite types who are either directors (12.1 percent) or executives (7 percent).

Also of note, PMP holders are serious long-haul careerists. Out of all survey respondents, 66.3 percent have worked in a role that directly utilizes their certified skills for more than 10 years, while we didn't hear from a single soul who has plied his or her trade for between zero years (1-11 months) and 2 years. There are some relative newcomers (13.2 percent) who have been in project management for between 3 and 5 years, as well as a few journeymen thus engaged for between 6 and 8 years (12.3 percent) or between 9 and 10 years (8.2 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: 60.2 percent
Several times a week: 29.6 percent
Several times a month: 6.1 percent
Occasionally: 4.1 percent
Rarely: [No responses]

Since becoming certified, I feel there is greater demand for my skills.
Strongly Agree: 41.9 percent
Agree: 36.7 percent
Neither Agree nor Disagree: 16.3 percent
Disagree: 3.1 percent
Strongly Disagree: 2 percent

Becoming certified has increased my problem-solving skills.
Strongly Agree: 20.5 percent
Agree: 51 percent
Neither Agree nor Disagree: 17.3 percent
Disagree: 7.1 percent
Strongly Disagree: 4.1 percent

Becoming certified has increased my workplace productivity.
Strongly Agree: 21 percent
Agree: 47.5 percent
Neither Agree nor Disagree: 23.3 percent
Disagree: 4.1 percent
Strongly Disagree: 4.1 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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