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What is the typical project manager salary in Australia?

7 February 2023

If you’re looking to start or advance your career in project management with a Master of Project Management, you probably have one burning question: how much will I earn as a project manager in Australia?

Whether you’re new to the industry or a seasoned professional, it’s important to know how much you’re likely to make on the job before investing time and money into training and working your way up the career ladder.

So, what is the average project manager salary in Australia?

Well, it depends. According to Payscale, the median base salary for a project manager in Australia is around $100,000 annually. This figure may vary depending on several factors, including:

  • your level of experience
  • your geographic location
  • the industry
  • the economy
  • your qualifications

Let’s explore these factors in more detail.

The future of project management jobs in Australia

Project management will become one of the most in-demand careers in the coming years. Government investment, industry changes and economic factors have created growth across many industries requiring strong project management.

With such a bright future for these roles, there’s certainly potential to see great salary increases under the right circumstances.

How government spending affects your project manager salary

After many industries ground to a halt during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Australian Government committed billions of dollars to areas such as construction, health and transport. This funding has created an opportunity for more project manager jobs, particularly for qualified candidates.

In the 2022–2023 budget, the federal government allocated $55 billion towards road and rail infrastructure over the next four years. Meanwhile, state governments have also made this a priority. For example, the NSW Government increased infrastructure spending from $97.3 billion to $107.1 billion in 2023–2024 to support COVID-19 recovery.

So, what does this mean for the future of the average project manager salary in Australia?

The growth of these industries creates a marketplace that has many available roles and not enough skilled candidates to fill them. In response, employers may increase salaries to entice the best people into the job.

According to Hays Salary Guide FY22/23, 88 per cent of employers are planning on boosting salaries, versus 57 per cent in 2021. Additionally, 77 per cent of employers have cited the skills shortage as a key driver for salary increases.

Leading industries for project managers

Different industries bring in differing amounts of money, with some also benefiting from government grants or private investments.

Some of the project management industries predicted to grow in the coming years are:

  • infrastructure
  • construction
  • healthcare
  • social assistance
  • science
  • technical services
  • energy
  • insurance

Salaries will also vary depending on whether you work in the public or private sector. Public sector employees receive wages based on award or enterprise agreements, and the unions often negotiate pay increases; private sector employees receive payments as determined by their employers and negotiate raises themselves.

How inflation affects your salary

Inflation also affects how much you’ll earn as a project manager. Inflation has been increasing rapidly throughout 2022, sitting at 7.3 per cent in September 2022 versus 3 per cent in September 2021.

Effectively, this means that unless your salary increases at the rate of inflation, you earn less yearly. Why? Because inflation also increases the cost of living. In this case, the cost of essentials such as food and housing rises faster than your salary.

It’s important to know that not all employers will offer pay rises due to inflation. Traditionally, organisations offer pay rises based on merit and how much the employer contributes to the company. Inflation may also negatively affect organisations, making it difficult to offer raises. Others may bring in enough income and have room in their budgets to increase salaries to match the rising cost of living.

Current salary expectations for project managers

So, having considered all the factors that go into a project manager salary, let’s crunch the numbers.

According to Payscale, the salary range for project manager jobs in Australia is $70,000 to $160,000 per year, with the median salary sitting at $105,000. Of course, this depends on your seniority level and geographic location.

Let’s dive deeper into these factors and what they mean for your future income.

Project manager jobs and their salaries

Project management is a pretty broad term. To get a more accurate picture of the typical project manager salary, we need to explore the various roles that sit under this umbrella title and assess their level of seniority.

Junior project manager salary

A junior project manager may have a job title such as ‘Project Coordinator’ or ‘Project Administrator’. These are the roles you may find yourself in when you’re first learning how to become a project manager. The median junior project manager salary currently sits at $64,000 per year, with salaries ranging between $41,000 and $91,000, depending on the industry, location and your experience.

Senior project manager salary

Senior project managers usually have five or more years of experience in the industry and hold advanced qualifications such as a Master of Project Management. They work across projects at a high level while also managing employees. The median senior project manager salary is $142,000, with salaries ranging between $61,000 and $208,000.

Project management director salary

Project management directors are high-level strategic roles that sometimes sit at an executive level. They have high earning potential, with the median salary sitting at $166,000 per year. Salaries at this level range between $118,000 and $261,000.

Average project manager salaries in Australia. Perth $110,000. Adelaide $91,000. Tasmania $90,000. Melbourne $100,000. Canberra $108,000. Sydney $105,000. Brisbane $101,000. Darwin $99,000.

Project manager salaries by location

How much you’ll earn within various project management jobs will also depend on where in Australia you’re working. Cities with a higher cost of living, a larger industry and more competition will usually pay higher salaries.

Here’s a breakdown of the typical salaries in Australia’s capital cities.

Project manager salary Sydney

  • Median salary: $105,000
  • Salary range: $70,000–$154,000

Project manager salary Melbourne

  • Median salary: $100,000
  • Salary range: $65,000–$149,000

Project manager salary Brisbane

  • Median salary: $101,000
  • Salary range: $67,000–$160,000

Project manager salary Perth

  • Median salary: $110,000
  • Salary range: $65,000–$175,000

Project manager salary Adelaide

  • Median salary: $91,000
  • Salary range: $62,000–$138,000

Project manager salary Darwin

  • Median salary: $99,000
  • Salary range: $61,000–$138,000

Project manager salary Hobart

  • Median salary: $90,000
  • Salary range: $66,000–$143,000

Project manager salary Canberra

  • Median salary: $108,000
  • Salary range: $64,000–$172,000

How training and education influence your project manager salary

Industries requiring project managers, such as construction, health and technology, are amid rapid evolutions. The growth of technology and economic changes has meant that these industries require agile, forward-thinking, educated managers.

Why employers want qualified candidates

While experience is important in project manager jobs, the evolving landscape means that the old way of doing things doesn’t always cut it in today’s fast-paced environment.

Some of the required skills for today’s project managers include:

  • working with large budgets
  • managing stakeholders
  • ensuring staff are working safely and effectively
  • embracing change and leading innovation
  • possessing a unique combination of digital, leadership, technical and business skills

As a result of these jobs becoming modernised, employers are looking for highly educated candidates and offering salaries reflective of their qualifications.

According to a 2020 survey, qualified project managers will earn 22 per cent more on average than those without a qualification. Additionally, over half of the companies surveyed were exclusively looking for qualified candidates.

Completing extra qualifications may feel daunting for project managers already established in their careers. As education is a priority for employers, many organisations offer training opportunities to existing staff to develop their careers.

In the same 2020 survey, 61 per cent of respondents reported that their organisation provided some form of project management training, while 47 per cent responded that their employer had provided a clear path for developing their career.

Project manager instructing a group of employees

How a Master of Project Management can help

Studying a postgraduate course, such as the Master of Project Management with SCU Online, gives aspiring and established project managers the skills and experience they need to maximise their earning potential.

Gain knowledge through study

Through robust course material, postgraduate students gain valuable knowledge that project managers may not be able to learn on the job. The Master of Project Management with SCU Online equips students with the skills required to deliver projects to a high standard by combining theoretical knowledge and real-world applications.

Students can also choose from a range of electives to suit their career goals, including units in business management, engineering and health services.

Flexible study options

Studying while working can be challenging, which is why SCU Online’s courses are flexible enough to complete on your own schedule.

Benefits of our online Masters of Project Management include the ability to:

  • Study whenever and wherever suits you.
  • Complete a postgraduate course while working full-time.
  • Learn at your own pace with accelerated and part-time options.
  • Access flexible exit and entry points, with the option to leave with a Graduate Certificate or Graduate Diploma in Project Management.

Learn from experts

Studying online allows students to learn from the best in the business, regardless of their geographic locations. Experienced academics help graduates thrive in their chosen industries by guiding them through coursework as well as real-world problem-solving.

Online learning also means you’ll be networking with people from all over the world and at all stages of their careers, from senior project managers looking to upskill to recent graduates wanting to enter the workforce as qualified as possible.

Maximise your earning potential with SCU Online

The dynamic nature of project management means there are always opportunities to grow and evolve in your career. Studying a postgraduate course is a great way to make yourself stand out and get the most out of your project manager salary.

Need more information about where to start learning project management online? Get in touch with one of our enrolment advisors today to find out how a Master of Project Management can help you thrive in your career.