What is a typical product manager salary?

Product management is one of the most coveted career paths for college and MBA graduates. Glassdoor recently called it one of the top 10 best jobs in America. This is because the work is meaningful, well paid, and offers considerable opportunities for career progression.

How much does a product manager typically make? According to salary sites like Glassdoor and Payscale, typical salaries among product managers can range anywhere from $63,000 to over $200,000.

There are a number of reasons why this salary range is so broad. Hiring managers typically weigh factors like experience, geographic location, education, and industry expertise when making an offer.

Please note that the base salaries in this article are for general product manager jobs (unspecified type). All salary information was reported by Glassdoor in July 2020.

Seniority

No matter what industry you are in, seniority is the main driver of salary ranges. Product management is no different. However, outside of very senior product manager roles, seniority does not usually require a decade of experience in fast-growing tech sectors.

  • Associate product manager: $96,000
    The easiest way for a new graduate or someone making a major career change to break into product management is to join an organization as an associate product manager. Most companies will require a college degree and anywhere from zero to two years of previous work experience. Since this is an entry-level role, larger companies have even started recruiting out of colleges and universities to fill their associate product manager positions.

  • Product manager: $109,000
    Three to five years as an associate product manager or related role (such as in engineering, sales, or product marketing manager) is generally enough experience to be considered for a product manager role. And that experience will likely come with a salary increase as well. New graduates with an MBA or advanced degrees in technology may be able to bypass the associate product manager role entirely and start their careers as product managers. However, those without relevant work experience will likely earn less than the average — which is still higher than most jobs available to new grads.

  • Senior product manager: $124,000
    Product managers are usually eligible to become senior product managers after about five to eight years of experience in a product management role. Senior product manager job responsibilities may include managing multiple products or an entire product portfolio.

  • Director of product management: $149,000
    Most companies require a director-level product manager role to have more than seven years of both product management experience and personnel management experience. And many times, companies are looking for industry-specific expertise. For example, a business-to-consumer SaaS company will look for a director who has experience delivering a SaaS product to consumers. The director of product management leads a team of product managers, and in smaller companies, they can take a place on the overall leadership team.

  • VP of product management: $181,000
    The VP of product management is almost always a member of the leadership team and owns the product vision for the company. In addition, they are responsible for mentoring and growing the product team. Most hiring companies require previous experience leading a team of product managers and look for industry-specific expertise. The salary for this senior product role can vary widely. Startups and smaller companies may not be able to offer sizable salaries, but they can offer equity. Of course, enterprise companies usually offer generous salaries and packages that include performance bonuses and profit sharing.

  • Chief product officer (CPO): $194,000
    The CPO is an executive-level role that is increasingly present in large enterprises. This role often reports directly to the chief executive officer and is responsible for the entire product management organization within a company. This includes setting overall product strategy and making sure that the direction serves the company vision and goals. While the average base salary for a CPO is just under $200,000, total compensation packages can reach much higher with annual bonus and stock options.

Location

Location impacts salary in two ways. Cost of living is the first factor. Simply put, a product manager in Silicon Valley is going to make more than a product manager in Houston, TX. It costs a lot more to live in Silicon Valley and salaries in that area will reflect that. The second way location can impact salary is demand. In cities where the demand for experienced product managers outpaces the supply, salaries naturally go up.

In the U.S., the median salary for product managers is $109,000. However, salaries are highest in major metros on the East and West Coasts. But when cost of living is factored in, most of the metro areas that offer the highest effective pay (meaning the salaries are higher and the cost of living is lower) are in the middle part of the country.

Like other competitive career tracks, companies will often pay to relocate outstanding product management candidates. Product management roles are typically well above the median salaries.

It is worth considering general median salaries and cost of living when reviewing product manager salary offerings.

  • U.S. West Coast

    Median salaries for product managers:

    • Los Angeles: $108,000

    • San Francisco: $129,000

    • Seattle: $119,000

    Compare these salaries with the average cost of living in each location:

    • Los Angeles: 43 percent above national average

    • San Francisco: 80 percent above national average

    • Seattle: 49 percent above national average

  • U.S. Midwest/Rocky Mountains

    Median salaries for product managers:

    • Chicago: $99,000

    • Denver: $95,000

    • Minneapolis: $103,000

    The average cost of living in Midwest states tends to be closer to the national cost of living average.

    • Chicago: 23 percent above national average

    • Denver: 12 percent above national average

    • Minneapolis: 5 percent above national average

  • U.S. East Coast

    Median salaries for product managers:

    • Boston: $109,000

    • New York: $107,000

    Much like the West Coast, the average cost of living in East Coast states tends to be above the national cost of living average.

    • Boston: 48 percent above national average

    • New York: 129 percent above national average

  • U.S. South
    Median salaries for product managers:

    • Atlanta: $102,000

    • Dallas: $101,000

    The average cost of living in the South is typically closer to or below the national cost of living average.

    • Atlanta: 1 percent below the national average

    • Dallas: 2 percent above the national average

  • Europe

    Countries with the highest general salaries in Europe are Denmark, Luxembourg, Sweden, Finland, and Ireland. The average salary for product managers in some major European cities varies widely.

    • Barcelona: €47,000

    • Berlin: €57,000

    • Brussels: €71,000

    • Dublin: €66,000

    • London: £55,000

    • Madrid: €47,000

    • Munich: €65,000

    • Paris: €52,000

    • Rome: €43,000

    • Zurich: CHF109,000

    European countries with the highest cost of living are Switzerland, Norway, and Iceland.

  • Australia

    The average salary for product managers in Australia is A$112,000. The average salary for product managers in major Australian cities remains fairly close to the national average.

    • Sydney: A$110,000

    • Melbourne: A$116,000

    • Brisbane: A$100,000

    • Perth: A$100,000

    The average cost of living in Australia tends to be higher than the rest of the world. It is 7 percent higher than the cost of living in the U.S. Worldwide, Sydney ranks as the 34th and Perth as the 71st most expensive city.

  • New Zealand

    The average salary for product managers in New Zealand is NZ$118,000. Like Australian, the average product manager salary in New Zealand's major cities is similar to the national average.

    • Auckland: NZ$100,000

    • Christchurch: NZ$103,000

    • Wellington: NZ$110,000

    Worldwide, Auckland ranks as the 67th and Christchurch as the 88th most expensive city.

Education

Most product managers have a college degree and many have an advanced degree like an MBA. College majors do not have a large impact on salary, but they can affect the chances of landing a job for new graduates. Along with relevant internships or co-op placements, a concentration in business or technology can help edge out other candidates.

  • College degrees

    Getting a degree in finance, computer science, or business can serve as a helpful foundation for developing the technical and analytical skills necessary to manage a product.

    Some schools are even creating specialized tracks for a career in product management. A few such programs are available to students at Harvard Business School, Cornell University, and Carnegie Mellon University.

  • Certifications

    Beyond a relevant degree and some work experience, product managers can build out competitive skills by obtaining professional certifications and periodically enrolling in continuing education courses. Many colleges and universities offer continuing education tracks for product managers. These are just a few of the other programs available to deepen product managers’ understanding and mastery of their craft.

    • Aha! Academy: Led by experts in building world-class products, Aha! Academy courses offer advanced product management training.

    • Association of International Product Marketing and Management: This professional association for product managers offers courses and study aids online and in person worldwide.

    • General Assembly: Dedicated to offering educational and professional connections, General Assembly offers both a 10-week, part-time course and an intensive, weeklong course in product management.

    • Pragmatic Marketing: Gain insights from six different certification levels designed for product managers and product marketing professionals.

    • Product School: Learn from other seasoned product managers during a series of 8-week, part-time courses offered in San Francisco, Silicon Valley, New York, and Los Angeles.

    • Project Management Institute: Although product management is different from project management, certification in specialized areas such as program management can be appealing to some employers.

    • Scrum Alliance: Scrum and agile trainings can edge out candidates in organizations that follow these methodologies.

Industry

Some fast-growing industries have a higher demand for product managers. If you have a lot of knowledge in any of the following fields, companies are willing to pay for it.

  • Aerospace and defense: $106,000

  • Banking and financial services: $98,000

  • Computer software: $107,000

  • Consulting: $106,000

  • Energy and utilities: $119,000

  • Information technology: $104,000

  • Internet and tech: $116,000

  • Recruiting and staffing: $99,000

  • Telecommunications: $108,000

  • Transportation and logistics: $96,000

Few industries can match the pay found in the tech industry. While the average salary for a product manager in tech is $116,000, salaries can get much higher within leading technology companies.

Low

Average

High

Amazon

$123k

$146k

$162k

Facebook

$160k

$195k

$218k

Google

$145k

$170k

$202k

Microsoft

$119k

$142k

$173k

Yes, product management is currently one of the best-paying jobs in technology companies. But the best part of the job is not the money. The true reward of being a product manager comes from making ideas a reality.


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