Insights into the 7th study on salary and career of project managers in German speaking countries

Last year, the German Project Management Association (GPM), together with its counterparts in Austria and Switzerland, conducted a survey on salaries and career prospects for project managers in the seventh year. The study was published in German, the most important findings will be summarized here.

A total of 1,650 people with an average age of 41 years participated in the study, of which (only) 23% were women, 37% had an engineering degree and more than half came from a company with more than 1,000 employees. The level of salary in project management is influenced by a number of factors, including but not limited to the experience, level of responsibility, industry and, of course, qualification and certification. In Germany, the average annual gross salary in 2019, including all flexible payments (approx. 9%) and special benefits, was 87,000 euros. Compared to the last survey in 2017, this corresponds to an increase of approx. 9%.

Depending on the industry, this salary sum can vary considerably, the study found an average salary for project managers in the automotive industry of more than 107,000 euros and in the IT/telecommunications industry approximately 73,000 euros (only). Larger companies pay considerably more than small and medium-sized enterprises. The difference can even be more than 20,000 euros on average. Even though the gender difference in the pay of project managers is not as significant in the previous surveys, women are still paid 11% less than men in a comparable role. By the way, the higher the responsibility, the greater the difference.

It is self-evident that personal development along the IPMA 4-level model pays off in project management, with a project director receiving an average total salary of 123,712 euros, a senior project manager 101,808 euros, a project manager 73,734 euros and a sub-project manager 67,441 euros. The more duties outside the project manager role, e.g. disciplinary, budgetary or management responsibility, the more flexible salary components are feasible. For example, a project director receives an average of 13% of his or her salary as variable remuneration. A similar situation can be observed with program and project portfolio managers. Knowledge in agile approaches influences the salary level too, by the way, this is currently especially true for “Scrum Master” and “Scrum Product Owner”.

The study concludes that the hierarchy level has the greatest influence on the salary level with 32%, followed by work experience with 28%, volume of turnover with 21% and taking on responsibilities with 14%. The study also gave clear indications that agile approaches are gaining in importance and that further development is also possible in salary

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Author: Reinhard Wagner, CEO of Tiba Managementberatung



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