For those interested in a career that can take them anywhere around the world, project management might provide the answer. It’s also a great career for those who are willing to stay in the profession and reap the benefits of experience.

That’s especially true for those who earn certification in project management and process improvement methodologies such as Six Sigma.

The 2018 Project Management Salary Survey from the Project Management Institute (PMI®) offers a look at the opportunities around the world for those wanting to make a career in project management. The results show that salaries have increased for 70% of those surveyed in the past 12 months.

And 26% reported increases of 5% or more during that same period.

Global Reach

The project management profession has taken flight around the world. The PMI survey included 33,000 project management workers in 37 countries.

PMI estimated last year that by 2027, organizations around the world will need a staggering 88 million people working in project management. Of that number, about 75% will be in China and India, two countries with large populations that are experiencing massive growth.

Of the workers included in the 2018 salary survey, those with certification in project management reported salaries that are 23% higher on average across all countries.

Six Sigma and Project Management

PMI has done studies on the connection between Six Sigma and project management, a topic the organization says has “not yet received the attention it deserves in project management conferences and publications.”

Six Sigma methodologies such as DMAIC and DMADV have been a main component of successful strategies for many businesses, including Motorola, Toyota, Boeing and DuPont. The benefits of Six Sigma include an understanding of what customers require from a product or service, eliminating mistakes in processes, improving product quality and delivery, reducing waste and costs and a commitment to continuous process improvement.

Six Sigma can be applied to a project to manage scope, quality, cost and time. PMI reports that the methodology has such potential in project management that it “may have the appearance of an impossible dream.”

That’s not the case, however, and those who apply Six Sigma coupled with project management certification present very attractive job candidates to potential employers.

Around The World

Where are the opportunities in project management? About a third of the 33,000 project management professional included in the PMI salary survey work in the United States. However, there also were large numbers of project managers in other countries. Those with the most included:

  • Canada
  • India
  • Spain
  • Italy
  • Germany
  • Australia
  • Brazil
  • United Kingdom
  • China
  • France
  • Japan

The highest median annual salaries – expressed in U.S. dollars – were in Switzerland ($130,966), the U.S. ($112,000), Australia ($108,593) and Germany ($88,449). However, median salaries in 15 countries were over $70,000 a year, and that includes project managers at all levels of experience.

Experience Pays Off

The survey also showed the wisdom of not only getting certified in the profession, but also the value of sticking with the profession. In every country, experience equaled significant increases in salary.

Salaries in the U.S. provide a good example. According to PMI, these are the median salary levels for project management professionals in the U.S., based on years of experience.

  • Less than 3 years: $75,000
  • Three to 5 years: $85,000
  • Five to 10 years: $100,000
  • 10 to 15 years: $115,000
  • 15 to 20 years: $122,000
  • 20 years or more: $130,000

That trend repeats itself across almost every country. Of the 37 countries surveyed, 12 reported median annual incomes of more than $90,000 after 20 years.

Clearly, project management offers a secure and potentially lucrative career path. It also gives people an opportunity to work around the world in profession that transcends political borders and unites people on the shared mission to improve how organizations operate.

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