How much does a project manager earn?


Who hasn't wondered how much they should earn, or how much they should pay for a project manager for a company, venture or project? Knowing how much a project manager should earn is key in a selection process. In addition, we must consider what factors change the perceived value of an offer. It doesn't matter if you are the candidate or the person in charge of hiring.

This article will help you understand what makes up the salary and how to calculate - yes, below is a salary calculator - how much you could earn as a project manager or offer for such a position.

Last update: February 2022 - for reference of values and sources

Benefits: more than just salary

Before we get into that, I want you to know that not all benefits can be quantified in money. That said, keep in mind that your salary negotiation includes more than just the amount you receive at the end of the month - or every two weeks.

The Royal Academy of the Spanish Language defines the salary like: regular pay or remuneration, o the amount of money paid to employed persons. And, although the famous saying goes ".for the money the monkey dances"popularized a couple of decades ago by Wilfrido Vargas in a catchy and moving song - today more than ever we know that it's not only for money that you work.

To a large extent, generational replacement - understood as the presence of a majority of millennials y centennials in the workforce - has also driven a new and renewed view of work. Personal life, work, and the relationship between the two has changed substantially. This new view of the world and work lives on in the collective imagination and reshapes our view of what it means to be a person and work. gain y remuneration. Therefore, defining how much money a project manager makes is only part of the equation.

This paradigm shift has brought us a new term known as emotional wage. For this reason, and before moving on to the numbers, I will share with you the factors that could define or "boost" a job offer, beyond the salary.

Elements that make up the emotional wage

All of your non-cash compensation is a fundamental part of how satisfied you are with your job or work. This is called emotional wageand we could say that it is part of what a project manager earns.

Some of the key factors are:


This is one of my favorite words in the context of management, teams and leadership. Autonomy requires two fundamental things from the parties involved:

  1. Trust in others
  2. Talent and commitment.

You should never confuse autonomy with independence. Autonomy is the freedom to do your work within an interdependent context with others and the organization you work for.

What's the point of applying for a management job if all you have to manage is your fingers on the keyboard typing reports or sending emails? This is not autonomy. Managing always involves decision making, teamwork and something that is difficult to translate "accountability".

We've all made, seen or heard memes, mockery and comments about those superiors who micro manage - micromanagement. Those bosses who suffocate you and don't let you do your job. Autonomy is the first victim of micromanagement. However, autonomy is very good if you have the experience and skills necessary to perform well in your position and responsibilities. Otherwise, for example, if you are in a learning process, starting your career or opening new horizons, it is wise to sacrifice some autonomy while you gain experience and confidence.


Highly recognizable meme about a person at a job interview talking about how passionate he is about working there... and not starving to death without a job.

Many define opportunity as the personal growth or the professional growth. I define opportunity as CVY - a popular Colombian expression associated with corruption: CVY = ¿Cómo Voy Yo? or What's in it for me? - in English, it is also a popular concept known as "How am I doing?what's in it for me".

When you evaluate or make an offer, always keep in mind what the opportunity is. It cannot be earn money o learn how we do things here. The new generations, and in general the post-pandemic world of 2020, have collectively redefined the meaning of successful life y dream job. Anyone who has worked in recruitment or staffing in the last few years knows what I mean.

So the opportunity may be grow personallyIt can be character building, developing empathy, or broadening your world view. And it can be grow professionallyYou can specialize in your profession or a particular job, or achieve mastery in something you love or are passionate about.

Inspiration and Purpose

There's a wonderful video that I hope you've seen sometime, known as the connecting dots or connecting dots. This is a speech by Steve Jobs to a group of college graduates. Beyond admiration for the professional accomplishments of this iconic tech figure - not so much his personal life decisions - they talk about how the choices we make in our lives slowly connect to a purpose or end result.

While Steve's story is inspiring, it makes me reflect on the importance of giving our decisions time. And I don't mean trying to control the future, but giving our future selves more chances to connect.

Here's the video in case, for some strange reason, you haven't seen it.

And don't worry if you haven't yet discovered your purpose in life - I'm not sure if I've found mine yet or if, on the contrary, we have a single purpose or if it changes over time. Sometimes, a job offer can have the purpose of helping you build a more complete vision of the world and especially of yourself.

Stability or Adaptability

Well, this criteria depends on what you are looking for. Surely, your personal context will be key to define what you would like and identify offers for you.

If you need a stable salary, benefits and supplemental plans in health, retirement, education - for you or your children (if you have them) - it's something to consider. Some management positions in some companies have benefits packages.

On the other hand, if you want to travel, work remotely, or establish a nomadic lifestyle, supplemental plans are definitely not the most appealing. You should look for flexibility, goal-based work or even contractor income models.

In any case, it is your responsibility to define what you are looking for or offering.


This is something I stress in all my classes. Work is, ultimately, a daily and continuous effort that we make for something. Whether you're a corporate executive, a cook, or the guy who serves coffee in a quaint little place, if you don't enjoy what you do, what's the point of doing it?

Life, more than a destination, is a journey. We are not going to a place, we are traveling in time. We live, we share, we suffer, we cry, we laugh, sometimes we hurt, sometimes we enjoy.

The key is to understand that we also live at work and, therefore, we should allow ourselves to enjoy it. This does not mean that work is easy or that we do not have problems and difficulties. It means that our position in the face of difficulties is, ultimately, one of good vibes.

Personal anecdote about enjoying and sharing

A few years ago I had the fortune to share with wonderful people in my work. It was truly a very happy time in my life. I remember in the mornings we would meet several colleagues to go to the office in a single car - carpooling the connoisseurs would say. And before setting off we would stop at a bakery and one of us would buy large quantities of freshly baked bread. And so we would set off for the office, happy, laughing and smelling delicious fresh bread.

Bakery with freshly baked breads

It didn't matter who was driving the car, it was sure to end the trip full of bourbon. Sometimes we would eat the whole loaf of bread before we got to the office to share it - goodbye to diets! They were fun and joyful moments that prepared us for a day full of hard work and - in my case - problems.

As time went by, little by little the group distanced itself, some changed their place of residence and others were simply no longer there. As the months went by, the problems, the gossip and the feeling of mistrust took over my environment. I remember arguments that had little or nothing to do with work, and little or nothing to do with what I did or said. It didn't matter how good I was or how hard I tried.

I stopped enjoying myself. Soon after I quit. It wasn't me. I didn't understand what had happened. But it sure wasn't the environment we had built. Sometimes companies grow so big that one day you get to your office and realize you're working with strangers. [1]If any of those people who shared the route With me reading this article, know that I will always remember those moments with great joy and nostalgia.

How to calculate the remuneration?

Of course I'm not going to talk about tax issues or additional considerations about retirement plans, that my dear reader, is your absolute responsibility. But I can give you useful information about how much you should earn per year, according to your experience and the certifications you hold.

Factors that determine how much a project manager earns

When it comes to calculating compensation, you must consider several factors, the nature of the position and the company to which you are applying. It is not an obligation or absolute rule to comply with all these considerations that I present below, however, they will help you in your process.


Without discussion, experience is key. The road you have traveled is what has forged your skills. You can acquire knowledge at school, university or course, even self-taught. Applying that knowledge, and applying it well, is not. Experience demonstrates mastery. That is why this is the fundamental criterion for establishing the value of your time.

Many years ago I learned to do mathematical calculations, let's say, a bit more than basic addition and subtraction.[2]A mathematician by profession would probably say that I am a monkey with a pencil who knows how to add.. However, rarely in my professional life have I needed that knowledge for anything. Whether it was programming or doing some projections and estimations. Today, I can't even think of something to apply that knowledge that could substantially modify my living conditions. So, this knowledge has no experience - it sure has a lot of utility in contexts other than my own. If there is no experience, then there is no judgment and wisdom in the application of that knowledge. This can only come from experience - there are no shortcuts.


Degrees, the formal qualifications earned by our undergraduate studies - or undergraduate, master's and doctoral degrees, are what are known as degrees. And they are not to be confused with certifications.

Degrees demonstrate dedication and commitment to a specific subject. Whether it's engineering, management, philosophy, education, physics, medicine.

Photo of a woman smiling with her graduation diploma in her hand, wearing a cap and gown.

Although in the world of tech entrepreneurship we love the characters who didn't complete their studies and succeeded in life and are successful, the truth is that beyond all that froth, those people simply failed in one aspect of their life and succeeded in another. Degrees should not be dismissed, as long as they are backed by a track record that is consistent with the area of study.

The importance of formal education

In a world of YouTube and TikTok millionairesIt may seem counterintuitive to invest money and time in studying at a university. But, let's not lie to ourselves, if you get sick one day and end up in the hospital, you want the person who is your doctor or surgeon to have gone through the best universities and studied with the best. You're going to want the experience and wisdom that will accompany a better diagnosis and excellent treatment. I don't want to imagine the day comes when the doctors who treat you are self-taught from the "yutub"and the "ticking".

It is true that, for some people and trades, not going through formal education - technical, professional, masters and doctorates - is not synonymous with failure. There are countless trades that you can learn through non-formal education platforms and that, surely with discipline, dedication and commitment, you could master with mastery. However, just because that's possible doesn't mean that going to university and taking the formal education route is a mistake as some people preach.

Quality education has always been the path to a more just and equitable society. Not the opposite. Mediocrity cannot be the norm. Formal education cannot be discarded. And to promote that for a position or a job offer "what matters least" are the years that a young person has invested in learning a trade, or an adult in achieving a master's degree or updating their knowledge leaves me speechless. Are we really in a world where someone who dedicates part of their life to study something, beyond what they are passionate about, and have a broader vision is someone who "wasted their time"? I hope not. I sincerely hope not.


Certifications are another way to demonstrate or guarantee the knowledge and/or experience you possess. This issue of certifications can be a great differential for job seekers, and a safer way for those looking for talent with some qualities.

I've written about this in the past. Certifications play a central role in professional growth and access to more and better job opportunities. If you're interested in certifications, spend some time researching what certifications exist in your field and which ones offer a clear path within your tastes and interests.

Some certifications are simple files with gold-plated logos and fancy diploma lettering - which are, of course, useless. Others are backed by large institutions and communities dedicated to adding to a profession or trade. The latter surely represent a personal or professional challenge and need dedication and commitment.


Although I find it unbelievable and painfulThe reality is that data from different salary studies show that women earn between 10% to 20% less than their male counterparts. At least this is the case in Spanish-speaking countries - including Spain on the list. For example, on average, in Mexico women in project manager positions earn 16% less, in Colombia 14% less, in Ecuador 19% less and in Spain we are talking about 10%.

I have never considered gender to be something that changes a person's salary conditions. I've never considered gender to be something that changes a person's salary conditions. I am proud to share that many of my teams, business partners, allies and mentors are wonderful, intelligent and certainly more capable women than me.

You'll see below, in the salary calculators I've designed, that I don't even ask the question about gender. I hope that we will become more and more equitable, not only with women, but with young people and people with different abilities.


Jobs in your country, region or city may have considerable salary differences based on where you are located. For example, the cost of living in a capital city tends to be higher than in other regions of the same country. So, it's not uncommon to see such differences. Be consistent.

Many people move to the big cities in search of better salaries, but they are often unaware that the cost of living also increases in those cities - not so much the cost of living in the big cities. quality of lifewhich is not only measured in the amount of money you receive each month.

Remote working: the possibility to work from wherever you want

Before the pandemic, remote work was not an option for everyone. A few years ago - more than 5 - I had a position where I was able to lead the process of relocating people who sat a few feet away from me.

The first, a very dedicated and committed engineer who had decided to work from his hometown. A much smaller city than the city where he lived and with some advantages for his family dynamics. Even today, this person is still working in the company and working remotely.

The second case was very particular. Two engineers wanted to work from a small coastal town and, by the way, learn to dive (both at different times for different projects, but in the same city). They were committed people and good at their job. I helped and a few weeks later "their dream came true". As the weeks and months went by, they both decided to return. For different reasons, they discovered that the "romantic" view of beach life had its drawbacks. Sometimes, from the outside, a city seems perfect, and living it clarifies some fantasies.

Don't let an idealized and romantic vision of a city cloud your judgment when it comes to accepting or rejecting an offer. Put on a sheet of paper the pros and cons of each city and each offer. Discuss this with your family or close friends. It's a good idea to look for people who live or have lived that experience - it won't be the same as yours for sure, but it will help in your evaluation.

How much does a project manager earn?

At this point, I'm sure you've got a pretty good idea of what it means to salary y wellness at work. So let's get down to business. Below, I make a discrimination by country, based on the available information and the most recognized salary studies for the profession in the market, all so that you have the best information available.

Keep in mind that they are reference values. Some industries - or business sectors - are likely to have considerable variations.

How much does a project manager earn in Chile?

How many years of experience do you have as a project manager?
What is your level of schooling completed?
Do you have PMP certification from PMI?
Do you prefer to see the monthly or yearly value?

How much does a project manager earn in Colombia?

How many years of experience do you have as a project manager?
What is your level of schooling completed?
Do you have PMP certification from PMI?
Do you prefer to see the monthly or yearly value?

How much does a project manager earn in Spain?

How many years of experience do you have as a project manager?
Do you have PMP certification from PMI?
What is your level of schooling completed?
Do you prefer to see the monthly or yearly value?

How much does a project manager earn in Mexico?

How many years of experience do you have as a project manager?
What is your level of schooling completed?
Do you have PMP certification from PMI?
Do you prefer to see the monthly or yearly value?

How much does a project manager earn in Peru?

How many years of experience do you have as a project manager?
What is your level of schooling completed?
Do you have PMP certification from PMI?
Do you prefer to see the monthly or yearly value?

The countries where a project manager earns the most

Below, I present you the ranking of countries where there are the best salaries for project managers - out of a total of 42 countries. Values are USD$ for annual income (before taxes and deductions) - i.e. not "salary in hand".

Source: Earning Power: Project Management Salary Survey-Twelfth Edition (2021)

Source of data

These salary calculators are for reference only - of course there are more variables that can alter or modify the conditions of a salary offer. How much a project manager earns depends on the industry or business sector, the company - and its economic capacity to assume more or less benefits - and, of course, the project for which a project manager is considered (its complexity, the effort involved in leading it and the team in charge, to name a few).

The calculators presented here are based on:

  1. PMI salary survey - salary survey - salary survey
  2. IT Project Management in Colombia Report
  3. Data available on recruitment sites

The model does not consider all possible variables, but relies on data series and linear and exponential regressions (as appropriate) to provide reference values. I hope you find them very useful. And if you did, tell us about your experience in the comments.


Author's comments and notes[+]

Alberto Dominguez
Alberto Dominguez

Leading teams from theory to real and sustainable delivery of innovative IT products and services.

Articles: 44


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