In an ever-growing economy determined to make money, product management has become one of the most sought-after careers, with Glassdoor ranking it the 3rd best job in the United States in 2021.
This article will break down salary prospects for product managers and the various factors that influence how much one can expect to earn. In addition, it will look at what the position of a product manager entails and the requirements to become one.
What does a product manager do?
A product manager is a professional role responsible for developing products for a company, whether a physical product line, piece of software or service on- or offline. Product managers need to facilitate communication among three main stakeholders to accomplish this: company executives, their team of managers, designers and engineers, and the target audience.
Successful product managers need to create a strong cohesion amongst cross-functional teams, as well as determine the overall product strategy, its features and development, and a business trajectory.
They need to understand the target consumer market and competitors’ products to develop a unique product vision that has worth for customers.
A product manager’s responsibilities include:
- Analyzing customer needs and current market trends;
- Presenting ideas for new products and features;
- Working with cross-functional teams (engineering, sales, marketing, and support teams) to develop and pursue product strategy;
- Interpreting market data to develop sales strategies and define product objectives for practical marketing ideas;
- Translating product strategy into detailed requirements for prototype construction and final product developments by engineering teams;
- Incorporating consumer feedback in product features;
- Conducting market research to monitoring the performance of competitors’ products;
- Developing, implementing, maintaining, and adjusting production timelines across multiple departments;
- Reviewing new product ideas and strategizing suitable to-market plans;
- Managing testing to detect and fix issues for required improvements;
- Tracking product success;
- Developing the business case for new business ventures.
- Bachelor’s degree in a relevant discipline (product design, business administration, computer science, engineering, marketing);
- Product management certifications such as AIPMM, One Week PM or Sum Foundations Training;
- Optional but popular: Masters degree (MBA).
- Outstanding knowledge of market trends;
- Being able to create technical product specifications, detailed requirements, and product features for new products;
- Knowledge of user experience (UX) best practices;
- Critical thinking and analytical skills;
- Leadership and the ability to take the initiative;
- Creative problem-solving;
- Time management;
- Communication skills.
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Factors determining a product manager’s salary
The national average product manager salary is approximately $94,704, with the highest wages being in major metropolitan areas on the East and West coast. But when the cost of living is factored in, most urban areas that offer the highest effective pay (meaning the salaries are higher and the cost of living is lower) are in the middle or south part of the country – Chicago, Dallas, Atlanta.
While relocating might present a lucrative opportunity, it is crucial to consider general median salaries and cost of living when reviewing product manager salary offerings.
2. Level of education
Most product managers have a Bachelor’s degree, and many have an advanced degree like an MBA. The field of study you have chosen for your completed degree will determine which industry you’ll be headed to work in and, therefore, the pay you can expect, with tech companies offering the beefiest salaries.
Getting a degree in finance, computer science, or business administration can provide a sufficient foundation for developing the technical and analytical skills needed to manage a product. Still, with an abundance of online courses to choose from, product managers can build out competitive skills beyond a relevant degree and work experience, by obtaining professional certifications and periodically enrolling in continuing education courses.
Product managers with a Master’s degree earn significantly more than those without, at $121,375 annually. Product managers with a Bachelor’s degree, however, can earn an average annual income of $109,984 compared to those without higher education, making $89,700 yearly.
Another factor that affects the salary of a product manager is what industry the job is in. Indeed, jobs in faster-growing sectors like technology, manufacturing, and retail tend to be the most profitable option.
For instance, a product manager can expect to make $102,783 annually while working for tech companies. Meanwhile, product managers working for manufacturing or retail companies can expect respectively $97,575 and $90,866. The lowest salaries are in the construction industry, offering a yearly salary of $73,053.
Generally, the product manager’s salary will increase with years of experience and continuous employment.
Salary by experience level
Early-career (1-4 years of experience)
An early-level product manager can expect to earn an average total salary (includes tips, bonus and overtime pay) of $80,694.
Mid-career (5-9 years of experience)
A mid-level product manager can expect to earn an average total salary (includes tips, bonus and overtime pay) of $111,438.
Experienced (10-19 years of experience)
An experienced product manager can expect to earn an average total salary (includes tips, bonus and overtime pay) of $115,925.
Late-career (20+ years of experience)
In their late career, a product manager can expect to earn an average total salary (includes tips, bonus and overtime pay) of $132,434.
Perks and benefits of the job
On top of a competitive salary, a product manager can expect various perks, including:
- Health, vision, and dental insurance;
- 401 (k) retirement savings plan;
- Paid vacation;
- Stock options;
- Commuter assistance;
- Parental/family leave;
- Fitness club discounts.
To sum up, those interested in becoming a product manager should always consider the several factors that play into the salary. Think of the state you would like to practice in, the amount of education you are willing to pursue, and most importantly, the industry you’d like to work in. The opportunity to move up with experience is tremendous, and choosing tech as your field of expertise will offer a lucrative career path for the foreseeable future.
Frequently Asked Questions
What salary can you expect as a product manager?
The median salary for a property manager in the United States is $94,000 per year. However, the average pay can vary between $80,000 to $135,000 because of numerous factors, including skills, experience, employer, bonuses, tips, and location.
What factors play into the salary?
Salaries can depend on several circumstances, including the education, industry expertise, and experience of a product manager, as well as their geographical location. However, one of the main factors to consider is industry, with tech companies leading the way big time. Indeed, with the mind-blowing advances in technology to better every inch of our daily lives, the job with the most growth and prospects will be in tech.
What are the tasks of a product manager?
A product manager’s primary objective is to help a company push a product to life by forecasting and researching the consumer market, tactical planning, and developing sales strategies. They are responsible for uniting teams of different expertise. Most importantly, bridging gaps between engineering- and commercially-oriented teams to bring product vision to fruition. It is essential that they stay up-to-date with market trends and competition as well as apply consumer feedback to product design.
How can you become a product manager?
Statistically, it looks like that over half of product managers hold a Bachelor’s degree, with the other half having obtained a Master’s (MBA). It seems, therefore, that advanced education might be the way to go for gaining an edge over other applicants and securing a lucrative career.