In tech, product managers have a difficult job. They must prioritize business and customer requirements, manage a product through development and maintenance lifecycles, and work with a variety of stakeholders, including upper management and engineering. Fortunately, the job can also prove rewarding, especially in terms of pay—but which places in the U.S. offer product managers the highest compensation?
For an answer, we can turn to Blind, which surveys (anonymous) technologists on a wide range of issues. Blind queried its product-manager audience about their compensation, and used that data to assemble the following chart. As you can see, many of the top cities are in California:
If you’re interested in product managers' compensation and salary in more cities across the country, swing over to Blind’s site. In the meantime, there are some interesting things worth calling out here, most notably the gap between total compensation and salary. Of course, this is due to stock options; at California mega-giants such as Google and Meta, base salary is just one small part of the overall compensation package, which often includes stock. As we’ve seen with other technologist compensation breakdowns, stock becomes a much larger percentage of a technologist’s package as they climb the ranks; for very senior software engineers at Google, for instance, it can sometimes reach 2x of their base pay.
With regards to Blind’s list, the presence of so many cities in California and Washington speaks to the primacy of Big Tech when it comes to pay; Menlo Park tops the list because of Meta/Facebook, Cupertino is in second because of Apple, and Mountain View is third thanks to Google. Redmond, WA and Seattle made eighth and ninth on the list thanks to Amazon, Microsoft, and other large tech companies with satellite offices in western Washington. If you want a truly outsized salary, it pays to go for as big a tech company as you can, and then go for seniority.
If you’re interviewing for a product manager job, keep in mind that your technical knowledge is important (it always pays to know the technology underlying the apps or services you’re launching), but so are “soft skills” such as communication and empathy. So much of the job is conveying information to stakeholders, as well as securing buy-in for various plans and initiatives. If you succeed in this complicated role, your compensation will only increase.