Salary Survey Extra: Project management and the experience curve
Posted on
June 17, 2016

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 These posts contain previously unpublished Salary Survey data.

Project management experience equals higher pay.

Feel free to file our next Salary Survey PLUS revelation next to "Bear (Does Number Two) in the Woods"  in the Not-So-Astonishing Disclosures file. Sometimes data reveals more or less exactly what you'd expect it to reveal. We;re not here to rewrite the established norms of human existence. We're just here to tell you what we know.

So, yeah, prepare to not pick up your jaw off the floor, and feel free to call us Captain Obvious, or even (employing a witheringly caustic tone) Sherlock Holmes. We've got thick skin. We can take it. We've heard worse. Something that we often tell each other around the office is that you can't make this stuff up. That is to say, you could, sure — but then what would be the point of telling anyone?

You just have to say what the numbers tell you to say.

In this week's totally unsurprising case, our big revelation is this: The longer that you work in Project Management, the more you are likely to earn. Call it the experience curve: As project management experience goes up, average annual salary rises along with it. Indefinitely? We don't precisely know that, and anyone who's been in the workforce for a while knows that salary can plateau. But the evidence before us clearly suggests that experience makes you more valuable, and prospective employers are almost always willing to pay more to get greater value.

At any rate, we asked survey respondents to tell us how many years they have been a professional project manager. When you tie those responses to salary, here's what the results look like:

Years as Project Manager: Average Annual Salary
Zero to 3 years:  $79,380
4 to 9 years: $99,250
10 to 14 years: $109,000
15 years or more: $134,000

As with many careers, the longer that you stay in the game, the more that people are willing to pay you to play for their team. Maybe that snippet of info will help a bit the next time that you end up headed to free agency.

Project management experience equals higher pay.

MUST HAVE MOJO What do you do when it feels like, as the philosopher poet Steven Perry once put it, "your get-up-and-go must have got up and went"? Everyone knows what it's like to get to the seventh inning stretch of the typical workday and think, "I've got nothing left. I'm running on empty here." What's the solution?

We asked the certified project managers who took the survey to tell us what they what they do to restore that magical edge in the middle of a long day. Here's what we found out:

I have a coffee. — 38.5 percent
I go for a short walk. — 24.6 percent
I have a little stash of ... Wait. Who wants to know? — 20.2 percent
It must be time for lunch. — 9.1 percent
I grab a 5-Hour Energy. — 5 percent
I hit the company gym. — 1.5 percent
I head over to the candy dish in the breakroom. — 1.1 percent

Original question: Whenever I need a pick-me-up at work ...

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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