This article details general Product Manager salary data based on salary information reported by Salary.com and Hired.com in January 2021.
Interest in product management roles has soared in the past five years. A Google Trends analysis shows that interest in the search term “product manager jobs” has increased by 104% since January 2016 and interest in “product manager salary” by 55%. And that’s no surprise. A Product Manager does meaningful work as he or she is one of most critical strategic drivers in a company, outside of the executive team.
The unique role touches all aspects of the business, involves a deep understanding of the customer’s pain points, and dishes out a high salary (yes!). But with great reward, comes great responsibility. Product Managers are ultimately responsible for the success or failure of their products. Their contribution and direction are crucial to the success of high-performing organizations—and their bottom line. Let’s review the current salary ranges by seniority and what steps you can take to boost your own pay.
Product Manager Salary for 2021
Many looking to jump into the field ask two questions: “Do Product Managers get paid well,” and “Do Product Managers get bonuses?” Though a Product Manager’s salary will vary depending on experience, industry, and location, salaries stay strong. Many companies offer Product Managers a bonus based on some kind of Objectives and Key Results system, and some offer equity, but this, will all depend on the company you land in.
All salary data listed below was reported from Salary.com, based on U.S. averages.
Product Manager Salary $130,867 Total Compensation
The Product Manager advocates for, and is essentially the voice of the customer. This role leads the development and growth strategy for a product —including driving vision and innovation, producing roadmaps, prioritizing initiatives, and helping articulate features and benefits to the market.
An entry-level Product Manager salary in 2021 stands at $86,005 Base.
Director of Product Management Salary $254,844 Total Compensation
The Director of Product Management is the champion for a portfolio of multiple products, product processes, and tools. Typically responsible for providing product vision and roadmaps across the portfolio, this role leads a team of product managers who handle end-to-end product development, from Product requirement documents to product launches.
VP of Product Management Salary $410,245 Total Compensation
The most senior Product Manager salary we’ll review is the VP of Product Management. The role functions as a member of the executive team of either a division of a large company or the whole company itself. They make sure that the division or company as a whole is building, shipping, and supporting the right products.
Product Manager Salaries by Location
According to Hired.com, Product Managers are highest in demand in the San Francisco Bay Area, New York, and London. For 2021, the top three salaries are offered in major cities on the west coast: $169,195 in the San Francisco Bay Area, $160,000 in San Diego, and $156,490 in Seattle. These locations boast major tech giants like Amazon, Google, and Qualcomm.
How to Increase Your Product Management Salary in 2021
Product Managers at large companies (>500 employees) compared to small or mid-sized companies (<500 employees) have different and notable experiences.Notice some of the big items of those surveyed include: 51% aim to become a product leader, 31% are setting aside budget for product tools, and their most important strategic activities surround product development and managing the roadmap. Does this sound like you? Do you have the drive to become a leader? Do you feel it is important to invest in good product tools for you and your team? These are some of the attributes you may need when looking to land a role in these larger companies.
Bonus Tip: As a candidate, don’t overlook the soft skills. Brandye Sweetnam, Director of Product Management at Netflix, says “I prefer to hire for soft skills over hard skills as those are much harder to learn on the job. I look for common sense, communication, and problem-solving skills when hiring as these are all critical to a Product Manager’s success.”
Yes, companies in more expensive job markets tend to provide those higher salaries. But due to the pandemic, the chance for remote workers to jump onto those markets has increased. Many companies have opted to (and many required) to make the switch to a fully remote or hybrid-type structure. It gives them the freedom to tap into talent outside of their geographic area, and in turn, gives candidates who wouldn’t otherwise have the opportunity a chance to land those roles—without the huge move. Our map above shows some of the highest Product Manager salaries by location. It won’t be easy to land a job in these markets—just knowing your stuff won’t be enough. You may have a deep understanding of the job, but you’ll need to demonstrate that in the interview.
You’ll also want to get a handle on a clear interview strategy. According to Ken Kranseler, who has hired dozens of Product Managers at companies like Microsoft and Amazon, “the expectation of the ‘perfect Product Manager’ is a myth and hiring companies realize this. You should understand which aspect(s) of this ‘perfect PM’ are most important for the role, where you might be deficient, and how to compensate.”
Bonus Tip: Check out this list of go-to interview questions fielded directly from Directors and VPs of Product Management. It includes the types of answers they are looking for from candidates.
Climbing the ladder
One of the quickest ways to move up the ranks is to skill up. Sharpening your Product Manager skills is vital to your success in the role, which affects your seniority level, and therefore, your paycheck. You’ll want to up-level by gaining more experience and undergoing formal product management training. This will give you the opportunity to deepen your knowledge and understanding of the core Product Manager skills. Our survey reported that 50% of those who lead product management teams have received formal training, with at least 15% higher levels of training compared to individual-contributor Product Managers.
Make This Year, Your Year
Salary data aside, dollars alone won’t make for a fulfilling career. Product Management is meaningful work as it allows you the chance to innovate and better serve humanity’s needs with great products. If you love the work and want to get better at it, there’s one big key: Never stop learning. Make a plan on when and how you will work to grow yourself professionally.
Boost the skills—boost the dollars.