Project Management
Project Management

Earning Power: Learnings from the Latest PMI Salary Survey

13 Jan 2022
Michael DePrisco
The 12th edition of PMI’s Salary Survey is chock full of data from 40 countries around the world. Mike DePrisco helps you read between the lines to uncover useful information about the most successful project professionals.

close up of human hand holding a small green plant against a dark background that is out of focusImage by Ravi Roshan on Unsplash

There are two ways of looking at PMI’s latest survey of salaries—Earning Power: Project Management Salary Survey — Twelfth Edition—in the project management profession. One, the biennial report is a snapshot. It captures the latest salary data on some 30,000 project management professionals across 40 countries at a particular moment in time. And two, the report is a portrait. It paints a picture of the most successful project professionals operating in the marketplace today. 

The snapshot view is certainly important—to project professionals looking for new opportunities and to recruiters, human resources professionals and compensation professionals involved in hiring and retaining project management talent. If, like me, however, you’re curious about what makes for success in the project management field, the portrait view is far more interesting.  

So, what does the data tell us? To my mind, it comes down to this: invest in yourself—commit to a lifetime of continuous self-education and skill-building.  

The data on this topic is clear: Survey respondents holding PMI’s Project Management Professional (PMP)® certification report higher median salaries than those without a PMP certification—16 percent higher on average across the 40 countries surveyed. Not only that, but respondents holding a PMP report earnings increase in most countries compared to their counterparts without the certification.  

Half of all survey participants, by the way, report an increase in total compensation (including salary, bonus, and other cash incentives) over the 12 months prior to completing the survey. Nearly one-quarter (22 percent) report total compensation increases of at least five percent over that period—all this, despite the impact of COVID-19 on the global economy. 

Rising compensation levels are good news, of course, and are consistent with what we would expect, given the growing demand for project professionals. Indeed, PMI's Talent Gap report suggests the global economy will need 25 million new project professionals by 2030. 

The salary data, however, reveals even more about successful project professionals. In virtually all countries, salaries tend to increase as responsibilities grow. Median salaries also tend to be higher among those managing larger projects (measured in terms of average number of team members and average project budget) versus those managing smaller projects. 

The ability to take on more responsibility and to manage important, large-scale projects is directly related to skillsets. That’s why life-long learning is so critical. And its why PMI offers a range of certifications beyond the PMP that allow project professionals to stretch their capabilities and take on new and more rewarding challenges. Included are certifications in: 

  • All aspects of agile 
  • Program and portfolio management 
  • Business analysis 
  • Risk management   
  • Scheduling  

PMI also offers micro-certifications in new or specialized areas—around citizen development, for example, or in vertical industries, such as construction. There are also three micro-certifications in the Organizational Transformation Series, perhaps the most strategic of all project management assignments.  

All these resources are designed to help project professionals stay abreast of evolving marketplace needs and to continually enhance their career growth, their personal and professional satisfaction and their earning power.

Michael DePrisco Michael DePrisco

As PMI Chief Operating Officer, Michael (Mike) DePrisco provides executive leadership to the Global Operations Group, supporting more than 1.2M active certification holders, 650,000 members and 300 chapters from over 200 countries. He is responsible for the Product Portfolio, Lean Portfolio & Product Integration, Customer Care, and Digital Groups. His team's focus is on digital product delivery and management, and the successful execution of all major initiatives.