Study on status of project managers in 2018

Among those practicing Agile, Scrum is the number one choice. 64% of all Agile projects use Scrum!Click To TweetIn 2016 we did a very small study and surveyed around 100 project managers to find out more about where they work and other details about their work. We published our findings here.

For 2018 we have done a much more comprehensive study of the project manager’s profession.

Specifically, we wanted to know what PMs feel about their professions, their salaries and which methods they use at work, and what issues keep them awake at night.

We also wanted to know if there is a salary gap between male and female project managers and how female project managers feel about their work.

To find out, we created a detailed survey to answer the following questions:

  • How many project managers are there in the world?
  • The Project managers’ Gender?
  • What is the Project managers’ age?
  • Where do they live and work?
  • What Salaries that female project manager make?
  • What Salaries that male project managers make?
  • Which industries project managers work for?
  • What level of satisfaction do they have with their jobs?
  • What issue do they face at work?     
  • What methodologies do they use for their projects?
  • What is the Project Managers’ educational background?    

We used LinkedIn, PMI, and Glassdoor as resources to find answers to our questions. We also surveyed 1080 project managers in the USA, UK, Europe, Israel, India, and Japan.

The result of this study is published here for the benefits of project managers and the companies they work for.

We are still going through the data we have collected. We will update this report as we gain more insight as to how the PMs work and the issues they face in their work.  

How many project managers are in the world? 

There are around 2,220,000 project managers in the world as of January 2018. This is a slight increase of 1.4% compared to 2016.                              

PMs Gender?

Although there are twice as much male PMs compared to female ones, women are gaining steadily in the project management job market. The number of female PMS has increased by 1% in 2 years.

  • 69% of all PMs are male
  • 31% of all PMs are female, a slight increase from 2016   

project managers gender

                                    PM’s Gender

PMs Age?

The majority of the project managers are between 30-60 years old. The exact breakdown is shown below.

  • There are 154,000 PMs from 20 to 30 years old
  • There are 454,000 PMs from 31 to 40 years old    
  • There are 854,000 PMs from 41 to 50 years old
  • There are 634,000 PMs from 51 to 60 years old
  • There are 223,000 PMs 60 years and older  

project managers age

                                     PMs’ Age

It seems PMs work at an older age in the project management field compared to other groups like engineering and business professionals.

There could be two explanation for PM staying longer as project manager, either PMs really like their job, or upward mobility is limited to them. 

Where are they located?

The majority of project managers are located in the USA and Western Europe. That data is not a surprise, but in developing countries, the number of PMs is growing faster than developed countries.

The list below shows exact numbers of PMs for each country

  • The USA- There are 675,000 PMs in the USA
  • England- There are 137,000 PMs in the UK
  • Europe- There are 276,000 PMs in Europe (excluding the UK)
  • Canda-There are 82,000 PMs in Canada
  • India- There are 130,000 PMs in India
  • Japan- There are 147,000 PMs in Japan
  • Israel- There are 12,000 PMs in Israel
  • Other- There are  761,000  PMs in all other countries      

project managers by country

                                   PMs by country

We could not cover China in this study. We found it very difficult to find exact and reliable information on Chinese PMs with the limited resources we had.    

PMs’ Salaries

As expected PMs in western industries make more money than other places. Their salaries are comparable to other managers in the industry.

Although in places like India the average salary of a PM is much lower than in western countries, project management profession is seen as a prestigious job like doctors and engineers.

  • The average Global annual salary for all project managers is $59,000
  • The average salary for PMs working in the USA is $82,700
  • The average Salaries for PMs in the UK is $58,500
  • The average salaries for PMs in Canada is $84,200
  • The average salaries for PMs in India is $16,100     
  • The average salaries for PMs in Israel is $76,500
  • The average salaries for PMs in Europe is $81,000
  • The average salaries for PMs in Japan is  $63,900  

project managers salaries

                                    PMs Salaries

Interestingly we found women and men PMs make the same amount in the project management industry and there is no wage disparity between men and women in this field.     

PMs Job Satisfaction

Most PMs are satisfied with what they do. Men are slightly more satisfied than women with their work.

  • 67% of male PMs are happy with their work
  • 59% of female PMs are happy with their work
  • 42% of male PMs think their career path is limited
  • 47% of female PMs think long hours are a big problem
  • 63% of PMs think lack of recognition by senior managers is limiting their career advancement
  • 41% of PMs have a technical degree and moved to management after working in their field
  • 64% of PMs would like to advance to product manager positions if they are given the chance                             

project managers job satisfaction                                   PMs Job satisfaction    

We attribute the lower satisfaction level by female PMS to issues with work-home life balance. Due to the nature of project management, remote work is discouraged and PMs stay at work until much later hours at night.

Which Industries do PMs work?

The origins of project management are auto and construction industries. Later one Software industry became a force in the project management field. 

  • 21% of all PMs are employed in the construction field
  • 19% of all PMs are employed in the manufacturing
  • 16% of all PMs are employed in Software and IT Industry
  • 9% of all PMs are employed in digital agencies and PR organization
  • 13% of all PMs work in the health industry
  • 11% of all PMs work in the Oil and Gas field 
  • 9% of all PMs work in the consultancy industry
  • 12% of all PMs work in other industries

project managers by industry

                                    PMs by Industry

In all industries except the PR and digital agencies, the male PMs outnumber female PMS. In the PR and digital agencies, there is more women project manager than men.

53% of PMs in PR and digital agencies are women compared to 47% who are men. 

The situation is reversed in Oil and Gas industry. There are more male PMs than females one by a factor or three to one. 75% of PMs in oil and gas industry are men compared to 25% who are women.

Which project methodologies are used? 

PMs use a wide variety of project management methodologies. In most cases, the PM chooses what method will be used in a project, but in some cases, they use methods dictated by the companies their work.

project managers by methodology

                              Methodologies used by PMs

In this survey, we found out the younger project managers prefer Agile over other methods. Older PMs prefer traditional waterfall method over other methods.

Among those practicing Agile, Scrum is the number one choice by a wide margin. 64% of all Agile projects use Scrum. 

PMs Educational background?

Most PMs are highly educated and have college degrees. For this study, we did not ask if the project managers have a Bachelor or Masters college degree.

Most PMs come from technical or business disciplines. As they gain management experience working on projects they move to managing projects.   

  • 31% of all PMs have technical degrees
  • 40% of all PMs have business degrees
  • 25% of all PMs have other degrees
  • 4% of all PMs don’t have college degrees  

project managers education

                               PMs educational background

The percentages of female PMs with college degrees is slightly higher than men. We attribute this to the fact that majority of PMs in oil and Gas Industry are men and in this area, in which fewer PMs have college degrees than other industries. 


Overall project managers are happy with what they do. Most see product manager‘s position as a way to advance to higher positions in their place of work.

The number one complaint by the Project managers is the lack of visibility and recognition in their organization for the work they do.

Most project managers believe what they do is very important and the data we collected shows that.

Projects which have a dedicated project manager finish on time and on the budget at a much higher rate than those projects which don’t have a dedicated project manager. 

In fact, for large projects, the success rate increase by 65% when a dedicated project manager is assigned to the project from the start of the project.

I sincerely would like to thank all the project managers which worked with us on this study. They spent many hours discussing with us what is important for their professions.

Finally, I would like to thank the VP of Business development at CovercyDan Robins who helped us with the design of the survey and introduced us to many project managers in Israel and in the United States for the survey.     

Dan Smiljanić

Dan is a practitioner of project management and our resident geek. With a background in computer science, Dan is the lead product tester at Binfire. When Dan not writing code, you will probably find him cycling and hiking with friends.


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