Which company gives a salary twice a month

“The entirety of management tasks, organizations, techniques and resources for handling a project” - this is how the German Institute for Standardization, or DIN for short, defines the term “project management”. This planning and implementation of a project is generally paid for as good to very good; however, there are big differences. The German Society for Project Management (GPM) regularly conducts salary studies and records those factors that affect the salary of project managers. The hierarchy level (32 percent) and professional experience (28 percent) have the greatest influence. Also play a role:

  • the sales volume (21 percent)
  • the responsibility that the project manager assumes (14 percent)
  • the gender (four percent).

From junior to senior project manager: what is the average salary?

Right from the start of their careers, project managers earn an above-average amount. According to the GPM salary study, the average salary in the first two years of employment in 2019 was 54,600 euros. It rises significantly over the course of a career: after 20 years in professional life, earnings of 114,100 euros were more than twice as high as the starting salary. The average salary of project managers was 87,000 euros.

The salary of project managers is usually performance-related. In 2019, an average of 91 percent of total earnings were based on the base salary, the remaining nine percent were performance-based payments.

What role do company size, gender and responsibility play in salary in project management?

The majority of the respondents in the GPM study worked as project managers in large companies with more than 5,000 employees. The average gross annual salary there was 102,000 euros. If you don't want to work in a large corporation, you have to make significant financial cuts: project managers in small companies with a maximum of 100 employees earned an average of 76,800 euros.

Gender is also a significant factor influencing earnings. According to the 2019 GPM survey, women who work full-time as project managers were on average 11.3 percent less on the pay slip than men. It was especially big Gender gap among project directors, partners and office managers - women earned 26.3 percent less than men. The good news: the income gap is narrowing. In 2015, the difference in salaries between female and male project managers was just under 24 percent, in 2017 it was around 14 percent.

The more responsibility, the higher the salary

Even when viewed according to areas of responsibility, women performed worse - unless they had overall responsibility: According to the GPM, they then earned 2.2 percent more than their male colleagues in 2019.

In which industry do project managers earn the most?

Every two years, the GPM also records in its studies how high the incomes are in the individual sectors. What stood out in the 2019 survey was Automotive-Business: Here project managers recorded an average gross income of 107,900 euros - a significant increase compared to previous surveys. This is followed by the financial services sector (96,000 euros), the pharmaceutical / chemical industry (93,400 euros) and other manufacturing industries (91,300 euros). According to the survey, project managers in the electrical engineering division also earned an above-average amount with a gross annual income of EUR 90,600.

On the other hand, significantly less was paid in the construction industry in 2019: Here project managers were able to book an average of 82,500 euros. The IT and telecommunications sector landed in last place: According to the latest figures, a project manager there received an average of 76,800 euros.

Starting salary and more: How does earnings develop?

Many project managers start out as support staff in project management. However, there are no clearly defined specifications as to when the next hierarchical level will be reached. The GPM distinguishes between five levels: employee, sub-project manager, project manager, senior project manager and project management director.

In order to climb the next career level, many project managers acquire a certification that confirms a certain level of knowledge and that can offer an argument when negotiating with superiors. Because salary and development talks are worthwhile, as a comparison of the average income depending on the hierarchy level shows.

What does a freelance project manager earn?

For cost reasons or due to fluctuations in orders, companies often resort to external freelance workers for work-intensive phases. While freelancers in many other industries often have a lower income than salaried employees, the freelance project managers were among the higher earners in 2019.

With an average Daily rate of 1,008 euros on average they achieved one according to the GPM study annual average profit of 111,761 euros - Expenses for insurance or office supplies have already been deducted from this amount. If you are not afraid of the entrepreneurial risk of freelance work, you should definitely think about this form of work from a financial point of view.

More salary thanks to certification?

In addition to bachelor's and master's degrees in project management courses with specific industry focuses, the certifications of the International Project Management Association (IPMA) are a qualifying feature of project managers. They are internationally standardized: the specialist knowledge is tested with several written and oral tests, workshops and a thesis. The certification is awarded in different stages.

In the opinion of GPM, a certificate in the agile method Scrum had a particularly strong effect. Project managers with few or no agile competencies earned an average of 83,900 euros gross per year, those with average 85,900 euros and project managers with very good agile competencies 96,800 euros.


Further guides on the subject of project management