How much does a project manager earn?

How much does a project manager earn?

By Published On: 2. October 2023


"Hello everyone! Have you ever wondered how much a project manager makes? Or are you thinking about starting a career in this field and want to know what salary you can expect? Well, you're not alone, many people wonder the same thing. The pay of a project manager can vary greatly depending on the industry, location and experience. In this article, we will try to answer this question and give you an overview of a project manager's income. Let's start this exciting journey into the world of project management and find out how much you can earn as a project manager. Stay tuned and let's understand this interesting field better."

What is a project manager and what are your tasks?

Simply put, as a project manager you are an all-rounder, a kind of Swiss army knife in business. But your role is much more than just a job title. Project managers are often the key to a company's success. You're responsible for ensuring projects are completed on time, within budget, and to desired standards. In this section, we'll dive deeper and explore what exactly you do as a project manager and what your role entails.

Your role as project manager

One of your key tasks as a project manager is to define and monitor the goals and delivery habits of a project. This is done in close collaboration with all parties involved to ensure that everyone is on the same page and has the same expectations. In addition, you will need to assemble an effective team that is capable of achieving the project's goals.

As a good project manager, you can make the difference between the success and failure of a project. So you need to be able to understand and process complex information while maintaining excellent communication skills to motivate and lead your team. It's important that you can handle pressure and offer creative solutions when problems arise.

Your tasks and duties as a project manager

As already mentioned, the range of your tasks as a project manager is wide. First of all, you have to supervise the organization, planning and implementation of projects. This includes defining project goals and responsibilities and ensuring that they are met.

You're also responsible for managing risk. You must ensure that all potential issues and challenges are identified and minimized to ensure that the project runs smoothly and without costly surprises. This requires both identifying and managing conflicts within the team to ensure a productive and healthy work environment.

In addition, you play a crucial role in communication. You need to make sure that all information flows, both within the team and with the customer, are clear and efficient. You are often the central point of contact that everyone relies on to know what is happening, when and where.

In summary, as a project manager, your job is to stay on top of things and make sure all the wheels are turning in the same direction. It's a demanding role that requires a lot of skill, commitment and careful organization. But for those who accept the challenge, it can also be a very rewarding and enriching career.

Starting salary for a project manager

Let's take a look at the starting salary of a project manager and what you can expect. As a project manager, you may find that your starting salary doesn't match the high level of responsibility and extensive duties that come with the role. But that shouldn't discourage you. As in most careers, experience leads to higher wages in the project management industry.

What you can expect as a starting salary in the project management industry

Basically, the starting salary varies depending on the industry, location and size of the company. On average, as a project manager in Germany, you could expect a starting salary between 40,000 and 60,000 euros per year. This is a decent start, but as already mentioned, you can achieve a higher salary with more experience and further qualification in the industry.

You may notice that the starting salary in the IT industry is often higher than in other industries. This is due to the high demand for IT project managers and the complex nature of the projects. In comparison, starting salaries might be lower in smaller companies or in industries such as education.

Increase your starting salary as a project manager

There are several ways to increase your starting salary as a project manager. The most obvious way is to increase your knowledge and skills through advanced qualifications and courses. There are many recognized project management certifications, such as PMP (Project Management Professional), that will not only help you improve your skills, but also increase your salary.

Another option is to specialize in a particular area, such as IT. An IT project manager has specific knowledge and skills that enable him or her to deal with complex IT projects, and these specialized skills can often lead to a higher starting salary.

Finally, it's important to emphasize that starting salary is just the beginning. As you progress in your career, there may be many opportunities available to you to increase your salary. Job satisfaction is not just about salary, however. The fulfillment that comes from successfully managing and completing projects is an equally important aspect of the role. It's up to you to make the most of your role as a project manager.

How much do you earn as an experienced project manager?

As a project manager, you are a specialist who has revolutionized the business world in many ways. Who says that experience doesn't bring in money? Through many years of work and continuous training, you can earn significantly more as an experienced project manager. But how much more? As an experienced project manager, you not only have in-depth knowledge and industry expertise, but also special skills in problem solving and dealing with people. Let's find out together how much you can earn as an experienced project manager.

The financial plus through experience and expertise

Experience pays off, and not just in terms of knowledge and skills. If you have worked as a project manager over the years, you will notice that your salary has increased remarkably. In advanced positions, you can expect between €70,000 and €90,000 per year, depending on the industry and company. In some high-tech industries, such as IT or aerospace, you could even earn a six-figure salary.

Many factors play a role in determining your salary. These include the size and type of company, the number of projects you manage, and the budget of those projects, to name a few. But an experienced project manager with impressive expertise and a spotless track record can definitely expect a high salary.

Qualifications and skills that lead to higher salaries

A higher salary is not exclusively due to the number of years worked. Special qualifications and skills can lead to a significant salary increase. A professional certification such as the Project Management Professional (PMP) certificate from PMI can help you stand out from other applicants and achieve higher salary opportunities.

In addition, soft skills are invaluable in project management. To make a big jump in salary, it's not enough to just be a good organizer. You also need to be a good communicator, be able to motivate and solve problems effectively. A deeper understanding and specialization in budget management, contract negotiation and risk management can also have a positive impact on your salary.

In summary, the salary of experienced project managers depends heavily on their experience, specific skills, and the industry in which they work. With certain qualifications and skills, you can earn significantly more than less specialized colleagues. But in addition to salary, factors such as job satisfaction, work-life balance and career growth are also key. In any case, experience makes perfect, and in this case it can also lead to a plumper wallet.

Project manager salary: A comparison between different industries

There's no denying that the industry in which you work as a project manager has a critical impact on your salary. Although project management skills are generally transferable, the specific industry can have a significant impact on income potential. In this section, we analyze and compare the salary of a project manager in different industries.

IT and technology

The industry that often offers the highest rewards for project management skills is IT and technology. In this fast-paced industry, where deadlines are short and technological changes are rapid, project managers who are able to manage projects smoothly and efficiently are highly valued. With growing experience and specialized IT skills, project managers in the IT industry can easily earn salaries of more than 90,000 euros per year.

As this industry continues to expand and more companies recognize the value of good project management, the opportunities for excellent salary increases in the IT and technology industry are very high. However, this industry also places high demands on up-to-date knowledge and constant training - it is a rapidly changing landscape that requires constant adaptation and learning.

Construction and engineering

Project managers in construction and engineering also have high earning potential. Most of the large construction projects require intensive planning and coordination, skills that are highly valued by project managers.

Because construction projects often operate with large budgets and strict deadlines, salaries for project managers in this industry are often above average. It is not uncommon for experienced project managers in construction and engineering to earn salaries of 70,000 to 100,000 euros per year.

However, it is important to remember that the stress factor in this industry can be high. Construction projects often involve significant risks and the responsibility for budget and time management can be enormous. Therefore, this type of work is not for everyone.

In summary, your salary as a project manager will depend heavily on the industry you work in. Whether you work in the IT industry or in construction and engineering, there is a significant income potential if you are willing to develop the necessary skills and knowledge. But don't forget - salary isn't everything, the satisfaction and fulfillment you get from your work counts too.

Project Manager Salary: Influence of your region on the salary size

In Germany, as in any other country, the cost of living varies from city to city. A cup of coffee in Munich costs more than in Leipzig or Saarbrücken, for example. At the same time, salaries tend to be higher in cities with a higher cost of living. The city you live and work in can have a significant impact on how much you can earn as a project manager.

Project management in large cities and metropolises

In large cities such as Munich, Frankfurt and Berlin, salaries tend to be higher than in smaller cities or rural areas. This is the clear urban-rural salary gap! Why is this so? Well, many larger companies and corporations are headquartered in these cities. The more large companies there are, the higher the demand for qualified project managers. These companies often willingly pay more to recruit and retain talent.

Let's take Munich as an example. This city is home to many multinational companies and is often described as one of the most expensive places in Germany. But hey, here you can also earn decent money as a project manager. According to salary data, project managers in Munich earn between 60,000 and 90,000 euros per year on average.

Salary differences in rural areas and smaller cities

On the other side of the spectrum are rural areas and smaller cities. Fewer large companies are located here, and the demand for project managers can be lower. As a result, salaries are often lower than in big cities. But remember, less doesn't always mean worse. In the countryside, life is often cheaper and you could live a much quieter life. There's really nothing to complain about!

Let's take Leipzig as an example. Leipzig is de facto cheaper than Munich, but that doesn't mean you'll starve as a project manager in Leipzig. The average salary of a project manager in Leipzig is between 45,000 and 70,000 euros per year, which is by no means low, is it?

In conclusion, the region in which you live and work can affect your salary as a project manager. So choose wisely! It is important to see the salary difference in the context of the cost of living and your personal preferences. Because at the end of the day, it's not just about the money, it's about a fulfilling and satisfied life.

How does company size affect your salary as a project manager?

What does it actually look like? How does the size of a company affect your salary as a project manager? I'm glad you asked! That's exactly what we're going to talk about. Let's go!

Project management in small businesses

If you work in a small company or start-up, your salary as a project manager is often more difficult to predict. Small companies often have less financial leeway and your salary might be lower than in larger companies. The average salary here is often between 40,000 and 55,000 euros per year. On the other hand, the demands on you as a project manager in a small company might be more extensive. You could be responsible for a wide range of tasks that are performed by different people or departments in larger companies. Exciting, isn't it? But it also means you have the chance to gain more skills and experience, which can help you earn a higher salary in the future.

Project management in large companies

On the other hand, in large companies the salary for project managers is often higher. Some of you may be thinking, "Well, sure! I could come up with that myself." But wait, there's more. In a large company, the average salary for project managers can range from 60,000 to 90,000 euros per year. This is often due to a higher budget and the larger projects that are common in large companies. However, large companies often have more specialized roles, which means your responsibilities as a project manager may not be as broad as in a smaller company. But hey, even in a large company, there are always opportunities for advancement and improving your salary.

So what can we learn from this? Company size can have a big impact on your salary as a project manager. But hey, money isn't everything! You should also consider the potential challenges and work atmosphere when considering a job as a project manager. Maybe you'll be happier at a smaller company because you'll have a broader range of tasks and more responsibility. Or maybe you prefer the higher salary and more specialized responsibilities of a large company. Whatever you choose, remember that you are the most important person in your work life. So make the most of it!

The effect of certifications and continuing education on your salary

In this part of the article, we will focus on the impact of education and certifications on your salary as a project manager. You may have heard that education is the key to success - and in project management, it's definitely true! Investing in your professional and personal development can really pay off. But what exactly are the benefits and how much more money can you actually expect to make if you have certain certifications? Let's take a closer look!

Which further training courses make sense?

Of course, which continuing education courses make sense also depends on your job and your goals. Distance learning or master's degree programs can make a difference, especially if they are specific to project management. The PMP (Project Management Professional), for example, is a particularly prestigious title. PMP certification can boost your salary by up to 20%. Not bad, right? Plus, advanced training like this shows that you're motivated to improve your skills, which is highly valued by employers.

But it's not just university degrees or elaborate certificates that can affect your salary. Even short, hands-on courses can help you learn in-demand skills, such as digital tools or new techniques that can give you an edge in the job market.

What are the salary prospects with further training?

Now for the exciting question: How much more money will your continuing education earn you? Unfortunately, there is no concrete answer that applies to everyone. But in general, it can be said that the salary increase you can achieve through continuing education depends greatly on the specific training and the industry.

In the IT industry, for example, a few certificates can increase your salary by several thousand euros per year. The industry places high demands on its employees and rewards their willingness to undergo further training accordingly. But the right training can also increase your salary in other areas, such as construction or the healthcare sector.

The important thing here is to approach the whole thing strategically. Find out about the needs of the job market and consider which skills are in particular demand in your industry. The right training at the right time can significantly increase your value on the job market.

Remember, though, that continuing education isn't just about salary. It also helps you feel more secure in your job and take on more responsibility. So invest in your education - it's worth it!

How does the project size affect your salary as a project manager?

This is where it gets interesting. You might think that all projects are the same, right? Well, that's a huge misconception! Different project sizes have a significant impact on a project manager's salary. From small projects to mammoth projects, each project size has its own dynamics and associated complexities that ultimately impact your income as a project manager.

Influence of smaller projects on salary

You may think that on smaller projects the salary of a project manager is lower, and yes, you would be right in most cases. However, this is not just due to the size of the project itself, but more to the amount of responsibility and skills needed to successfully manage the project. Smaller projects could be managed by less experienced project managers, and they would typically have a lower salary.

But hold on, don't let the size fool you! Even if it's smaller, a project can still be quite challenging. Think of it this way - it's like a small but deadly scorpion. In some cases, this could mean that the salary for managing smaller projects could be higher than expected, especially if they are high complexity projects.

Influence of larger projects on salary

Now, when it comes to larger projects, the dynamics are quite different. These mammoth projects require the project manager to have a high level of experience and skills to meet the requirements and manage the project successfully. It requires a whole different level of responsibility - you're dealing with a larger budget, more resources, and more internal and external stakeholders. Therefore, the size of the project often directly reflects the salary of the project manager.

But leave all the drama out of it for a moment. Yes, the salary is usually higher on big projects, but so is the workload, pressure and expectations. And let's face it, more money doesn't always mean more satisfaction, does it? That's why it's important to find a balance between work, salary and personal well-being, whether the projects are small or large.

In short, the size of the project you manage can both increase and decrease your salary as a project manager. However, other factors are also important, such as the complexity of the project, the industry you work in, and of course your experience and qualifications. So, don't worry if you start with smaller projects at first. Every project is an opportunity to grow and advance in this exciting career.

Independent project managers: how much do you earn?

In the world of project management, there are many different ways to earn a living. One option that is becoming increasingly attractive for many project managers is self-employment. As a self-employed project manager, you can use your skills and experience in your own way and have the opportunity to determine your own income. But how much can you actually earn as an independent project manager? Let's take a closer look!

Total earnings of self-employed project managers

Let's start by saying that there is no set upper salary limit for self-employed project managers. Earnings depend heavily on the field, your skills, and the amount of work you're willing to do. Some self-employed project managers earn six figures per year doing this, while others earn a modest but reasonable income. On average, however, the annual salary is around 80,000 to 100,000 euros.

The wide range in salaries is due to the fact that self-employed project managers often work on a project basis. This means that your income depends on the amount and type of projects you take on. And that, of course, can vary greatly. As a self-employed project manager, however, you have the advantage of being able to decide for yourself how much work you want to accept and which projects you take on.

Income factors for independent project managers

There are several factors that influence how much you can earn as an independent project manager. One of the most important is your experience. The more experience you have in your field, the more you can usually charge for your services. Additionally, your specializations also play a role. If you are particularly competent in a certain area, you can often charge a higher fee.

Another factor is the region in which you work. As has already been pointed out, salaries in Germany vary depending on the city. However, regional differences play a lesser role for self-employed project managers, as they can work wherever they want.

Then there is the question of working hours. As a self-employed person, you often have the opportunity to organize your working hours flexibly. This can be both an advantage and a disadvantage. On the one hand, you can work more in times of high demand and thus earn more. On the other hand, you may have to manage with less income in times of low demand.

Does it all sound a bit complex? Well, it is! As a self-employed project manager you have a lot of freedom, but also a lot of decisions to make that affect your income. If you are well organized and keep a cool head, self-employment as a project manager can be a rewarding career option. Remember, it's not just about the money, it's about the freedom to be your own boss and set your own pace. And if you do it right, it can pay pretty well too!

Comparison: Your salary as a project manager compared to other management positions

Imagine you are faced with a choice between different management positions. You have an offer as a project manager, but other management roles are also on the table. How do you decide? One of the main criteria could be the salary. To make this task easier for you, let's compare your potential salary as a project manager with the salary in other management positions. This will give you a better overview.

Your salary as a project manager compared to a product manager

I often hear that there is some confusion about the roles and salaries of project managers and product managers. Are they similar? Will you earn similarly in both positions?

Let's find out. In fact, these roles differ and so do the salaries. A project manager is responsible for the execution of a specific project, while a product manager has an eye on the entire product line. On average, product managers in Germany earn about 82,000 euros per year, while project managers earn an average of 76,000 euros. But before you immediately say "Au revoir!" and move into product management, keep in mind that both roles require different skills and responsibilities.

Your salary as a project manager compared to an operations manager

Now let's take a look at the Operations Managers. They are responsible for ensuring that all departments work together smoothly. That's a big job, of course! But what about the salary?

An operations manager can earn an average of 95,000 euros per year in Germany. That is actually more than a project manager. But don't worry! Focusing only on salary would not be fair to your role as a project manager. As a project manager, you have the unique opportunity to play a key role in the successful execution of a project and to experience success directly.

Overall, the choice of position does not only depend on salary, of course. It also depends on your skills, interests and career goals. Use this comparison as a guide and make a decision that makes you happy.

Project manager salary: How your earnings develop over the course of your career

It's no secret that salary prospects are a key factor when you decide to pursue a career as a project manager. The good news is that your salary as a project manager can increase steadily over time. Experience, development of your skills and knowledge, and even moving to a different industry can increase your earnings over the years. Let's delve into the details.

From beginner to professional: the evolution of salary

When you're at the very beginning of your career as a project manager, your salary may not be stellar. But don't worry, because that changes over time. The more experience you gain, the higher your earnings will be. With many years of work under your belt, you can earn a substantial salary. Continuous learning and adaptation is important here. Learning new skills and expanding your knowledge can make a significant difference.

With every project you complete and every new skill you gain, your value in the job market will increase. You'll see that the investment in time, effort, and sometimes even stress, pays off. With each step up the career ladder, you can expect higher pay prospects. After all, all that hard work should pay off!

Does a change of industry change the salary?

In short, yes! In fact, moving to another industry can have a significant impact on your salary as a project manager. Each industry has its own peculiarities and requires specific knowledge and skills, which affects the salary.

Let's say you've worked in marketing for years and then decide to move into IT. You may find that with your existing skills and experience, you've stumbled upon a more lucrative career path. Of course, you may need to learn additional skills or adapt your knowledge, but it could prove to be a golden opportunity.

At the same time, it's important to remember that it's not just about the money. Changing industries can bring new demands, challenges and a change in work dynamics. So you have to weigh whether the salary increase is worth these changes.

Overall, it shows that the salary of a project manager develops significantly over the course of a career. Experience and continuous learning definitely pay off, and moving to a different industry can mean a significant salary increase. So don't worry if your starting salary isn't what you expected. Keep at it and take every opportunity to develop and advance. Your future looks bright (and financially rewarding)!

Salary increase opportunities for project managers

Who doesn't want to earn more money? As a project manager, you have many options available to you to increase your career and income. Let's take a closer look at how you can increase your salary as a project manager.

Earn more money with the right training

Have you ever heard the saying "Invest in a good education and the return is unbeatable"? Well, it's applicable to project management too! If you're looking for a salary increase as a project manager, you should consider additional qualifications. Acquiring recognized certificates and trainings, such as PRINCE2, Agile and Scrum, can help increase your salary. Such certificates are recognized worldwide and are often a deciding factor in determining your salary. The more expertise, the more money!

You could also consider studying project management. A bachelor's or master's degree in this field will significantly increase your attractiveness on the market and allow you to negotiate a higher salary. Nowadays, many universities and business schools offer specialized project management degree programs. Granted, this requires time and money, but it is definitely worth it!

Climb the career ladder

Another way to increase your salary is through professional development. In project management, this means moving up from managing smaller projects to larger, more complex and challenging projects. Larger projects mean more responsibility, of course, but also greater rewards!

Are you ready for more challenges? How about the position of a program manager? A program manager is responsible for managing and coordinating multiple projects at once, which of course means a higher salary. Or you can take a big leap and apply to be a project management consultant. This position requires a high level of expertise, but you'll be rewarded accordingly.

Have you ever thought about becoming a freelance project manager? Freelancing as a project manager offers many advantages, such as flexible working hours and the freedom to make your own decisions. Compensation is often time- or project-dependent and can be significantly higher than salaries for permanent employees.

But always remember - it's not just about the money! Satisfaction and joy at work are just as important. Your job should be fun and motivating. It's not just about how much money you make, but how you make it. Make the most of it and good luck on your way!

Share this post

About the Author: Sven Emmrich

Sven Emmrich avatar
Sven is a business graduate, DEKRA-certified coach and passionate entrepreneur. As CEO of Karrierehelden, he has been writing for many years on all career topics such as job applications and job changes, money and salary negotiations, leadership skills and management issues, psychology and personality development, communication and conflict management, self-confidence and entrepreneurship, and the line between work and private life with work-life balance... or much more work-life integration. Sven has coached over 1,000 academics, professionals and executives with his team and is happy to help you too.
Share post

latest video

news via inbox

Nulla turp dis cursus. Integer liberos euismod pretium faucibua