Product Manager Salary: What to Expect with Experience, Education

Product manager jobs occupy a vital role within companies, which is why the average product manager salary is often quite high. In exchange for that solid compensation, employees in this role must juggle a variety of responsibilities, from keeping production on-track to ensuring that team members are communicating effectively. 

In a technology context, product managers often supervise the launch and maintenance of apps and services. They must also act as a communication channel of sorts between the teams creating the product and upper management (which places a lot of emphasis on their “soft skills” such as communication and empathy). Mastery of the product manager role requires not only the ability to see the product and project in a holistic way, but also focus on the small details.  

With all that in mind, let’s dig into product manager salary and what’s needed in order to maximize compensation. 

What is a product manager’s starting salary?

According to Burning Glass, which collects and analyzes millions of job postings from across the country, product managers with zero to two years of experience (i.e., just starting out) make a median salary of $83,000, although those in the upper quartiles can make over $100,000 at the beginning of their careers. Check out this full chart to see how experience in the profession translates into pay:

Of course, simply sticking around in the role isn’t enough to ensure the highest salaries on the above chart; in order to unlock the top tier of compensation, product managers must develop a strong track record of accomplishment. They need to sit down during the product manager interview and show that their products have not only been released on-time and on budget, but proven a marketplace success. 

What is a product manager’s average salary?

The median project manager salary now stands at $102,512 in the estimation of Burning Glass. The analyst firm places product manager salary ranges at anywhere from $62,000 all the way up to $140,000—suggesting there’s quite a bit of room for new product managers to grow their salaries upwards.

It’s also interesting to note that more advanced degrees have a significant but not seismic effect on product manager salaries:

When it comes to applying for product manager positions, employers are as interested in your skills and actionable experience as they are your degree; even if you haven’t obtained an advanced degree, if you have a solid track record of success in the field, you’ll attract the interest of recruiters and hiring managers. 

It can also help to have a well-prepared product manager resume before even going into your interview.

Are product managers in demand?

The short answer is “yes.” The average time to fill a product manager position, according to Burning Glass, currently stands at 36 days. This suggests employers are burning quite a bit of time to find available, qualified candidates. Over the past 12 months, employers have published almost 100,000 product manager job postings nationwide. 

Is product manager a dying career?

Burning Glass also projects product manager growth at 10.1 percent over the next decade. That’s a pretty strong rate of growth, which makes perfect sense: No matter what the circumstances, companies must continue to produce products, and they need managers to oversee that production.

What are the most valuable skills for a product manager?

As mentioned previously, product managers must rely on a combination of “soft” and practical skills in order to succeed in the position. Here are some of the skills that crop up most often in job postings, according to Burning Glass:

Intensive knowledge of marketing, sales, and development is key; in a software context, for example, a product manager will have a solid grasp of the programming languages and frameworks involved, as well as typical development timelines. The ability to solve problems (hopefully with some creativity) is also important.