Does It Pay To Be A Certified Project Manager? Yep.

Ryan Erickson

The Project Management Institute (PMI) recently revealed their latest findings of project manager pay from around the world. One of the questions I'm asked most often is, "does it pay to get certified?" The easy answer is yes (usually*).
Photo by Sasun Bughdaryan on Unsplash

Our beloved project management overlords at PMI have published their twelfth edition of the Earning Power: Project Management Salary Survey. The 2021 survey covers the answers of more than 30,000 PM professionals (nearly 80% surveyed hold an active PMP) from 40 countries. It's relatively robust yet easy to read.

If you're a member of PMI, you'll find the full report here. Not a member (yet?), don't despair--you'll find a summary here.

That said, here are some of the key takeaways I found interesting:

  • If you have your Project Management Professional (PMP) certification, you're in good hands. On average, the salaries of those with their PMP are making 16% higher than those without. This covers an average across all 40 countries.
  • Despite COVID-19 employment issues (and COVID in general), project managers reported a steady increase in compensation.
  • The top three countries for project management pay in order from top to bottom is Switzerland (again), the United States, and Australia.
  • The bottom three for PM pay in order from bottom to top is Pakistan, Egypt, and Nigeria.
  • Experience counts too; over a span of fewer than three years experience to over 20 years experience, there's a steady increase in pay. For example, in
    • The United States, from <3 years to >20 is a nearly $60,000 increase;
    • In Singapore, it's $50,000; and
    • In Germany, the gap is roughly the same at $51,000.
  • There's also a noticeable gap in pay for those with their PMP vs. those without. For example,
    • A Colombian PMP holder could receive as much as 56% more pay than their counterparts without the certification.
    • In New Zealand, the PMP holder will see an 18% increase in compensation; and
    • In the United States, it's a 32% increase compared to those without.

The writing is clear; having your PMP can indeed be a beneficial investment on your part (and a headache saver for your counterparts, we can all speak the same "language" as it were).

* I note "usually" above because some project managers without their credentials get paid quite well. You'll often find those who've been with a company for some time find themselves in this position. My recommendation, stay put.

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An Agilistic Practitioner of Project & Program Management with proven military & civilian records of success; PMP, PMI-ACP, & CSM | Let's solve problems, together.

Kalaheo, HI

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