How Much Do Program Managers Make?

Program Manager SalaryProgram managers face new challenges in how they oversee and coordinate their company’s or client’s various projects and initiatives post pandemic. Now more than ever, company leadership is counting on program managers to help increase project performance, anticipate stakeholder needs, improve quality of schedules, and grow the company’s PMO capabilities.

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Program manager role and responsibilities

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A program is a group of related projects and programs that support a strategic business initiative. A program manager (PgM) is similar to a super project manager. Program managers provide high-level view guidance to project managers who may not be able to see the bigger picture when focused on a single project. PgMs coordinate multiple projects and reconcile interdependencies among them. They also facilitate the communication among the program’s cross functional team. This can include the development team, product managers, and decision makers.

Read also: Key Differences Between Project and Portfolio Management

Program management salary by location

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Because of the economic consequences of the pandemic, salaries around the world have adjusted accordingly. Based on the latest salary surveys, these are the top eight countries that offer the highest program manager salary:

  1. Germany: $97,532
  2. Australia: $94,150
  3. New Zealand: $94,011
  4. USA: $93,396
  5. Ireland: $79,236
  6. Switzerland: $73,351
  7. Netherlands: $73,141
  8. Canada: $72,817

According to Zippia, the top eight US cities with the highest average program manager salary per year are:

  1. San Francisco, CA: $101,002
  2. Washington, DC: $98,666
  3. Arlington, VA: $95,591
  4. Baltimore, MD = $86,369
  5. Cary, NC: $85,667
  6. Boston, MA: $85,549
  7. Philadelphia, PA: $84,140
  8. New York, NY: $83,641

Program manager salary by number of years of experience

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Program manager salary is dependent on many factors, including the number of years of experience. The range depends on many factors, and salary range increases with tenure. In some firms, senior program managers can also earn equity and other perks as part of their overall compensation package. Below is the median salary in relation to years of experience:

  • Less than 2 years = $60,000
  • 3 to 5 years = $84,000
  • 6 to 8 years = $105,000
  • 9 years or more = $115,000

Program manager salary by role or position

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Program managers gain a unique strategic view compared to other managers, such as the project manager or product manager. They can see goals, risks, resources, and budget limits of every initiative of the company simultaneously, which puts them in an invaluable position. Some companies offer higher salaries for the program manager position. Zippia lists these eight companies that pay the highest for the position:

  1. McKinsey & Company: a global management consulting company
  2. First Republic Bank: an American bank and wealth management company in San Francisco
  3. Stripes Stores: a chain of convenience stores in Texas, Louisiana, New Mexico, and Oklahoma
  4. Headstrong: an IT provider and consultation service for the global financial services industry
  5. Eliassen Group: a provider of strategic consulting solutions based in Reading, MA
  6. Google: an American multinational technology company
  7. HTC Global Services: an IT services, solutions, and BPO services provider
  8. JPMorgan Chase: an American investment bank and financial services holding company

Technical program manager

The technical program manager oversees technical projects of all types through every stage of development. They lead teams of project managers, developers, and designers to develop new products, lead design teams, manage program processes, and track technical issues. Technical PgMs are highly detail-oriented with strong leadership skills who can turn ideas into products. Their salaries can range from $84k to $164k, with an average yearly salary of $125k.

Senior program manager

A senior program manager coordinates various operational aspects of a project. Some of the tasks they perform include recruiting and training project managers, monitoring work progress, budgeting, and solving issues and conflicts. One of their main objectives is to ensure that teams complete projects on time, within budget, and meet all customer requirements and quality standards. Daily responsibilities include program scheduling, planning, and pricing. Senior program manager salary can range between $69k to 158k, averaging at $119k.

Non-profit program manager

Sometimes referred to as a non-profit program administrator, the non-profit program manager is in charge of teams that coordinate programs for a non-profit organization. They design programs that align with the organization’s mission and support its goals. Responsibilities include establishing fundraising and development goals, identifying potential donors and sources of funding, and planning outreach strategies. Because of the nature of the organization they work for, salaries are lower and range from $39k to $78k, with an average of $53k yearly.

IT program manager

IT program managers are responsible for a range of initiatives to achieve a particular outcome. They lead teams of IT professionals and engineers, help deploy various IT systems, develop PMO strategies, communicate critical project updates, solve issues, mitigate risks, and build strategic plans for different levels of the organization. It is an administrative position that combines managerial work and technical skills. The salary range of an IT program manager is between $73k and $150k, with about a $114k average.

Software program manager

Software program managers are in charge of implementing software development projects. They demonstrate project management expertise, leadership skills, software development knowledge, time management, analytical thinking, and self-motivation. Software PgMs hold degrees in software engineering or information technology with responsibilities for developing software products, managing the development process, and helping with the product launches. A software program manager receives a salary that range from $69k to $147k, with an average of $107k.

Read also: Senior Project Manager Roles & Responsibilities

Ready to pursue a program manager career?

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Most program managers that enjoy a high salary hold at least a Bachelor’s degree, although an advanced degree does not ensure a higher pay. Aside from the common baseline skills, employers request program manager candidates to demonstrate proficiency in project management, program management, budgeting, scheduling, staff management, project planning, and customer service. Also, some positions require professional certification such as PMP or PgMP, depending on the role the program manager will assume.

Jose Maria Delos Santos

Jose is a subject matter expert and member of the writing team for Project-Management.com and Bridge24. He has written hundreds of articles including project management software reviews, books reviews, training site reviews, and general articles related to the project management industry.