The Average Salary Of A Banking Project Manager

Ever wondered what's the average salary of a project manager? The remuneration varies quite greatly - from seniority of the PM to the industry that he or she is in.

Also, if you're working in different geographies, the salaries vary. A project manager working in the US will command a different salary from one working in Asia, even if they have the same skill set.

Now, because I'm based in Singapore, I can give you a perspective on the average salary of a PM is in Singapore. Specifically, I can tell you the range for a banking project manager because that is the industry I am in.

So let's take a look.

1. Junior Banking PM

A junior banking project manager in Singapore would expect to command about US$50,000 to US$90,000. That's excluding any sign-on bonuses, annual bonuses, stock options or other incentives.

What's a "Junior Banking PM" you ask? Let's try to answer this.

In charge of 3 to 5 resources

A junior banking PM is usually in charge of about 3 to 5 resources and will run small projects in the bank or for a consulting firm that deals with banking clients.

About 5 years of working experience

He or she probably has about 5 years of working experience and is quite articulate and able to speak comfortably and influence department heads and ground level staff.

Sometimes doubles up as a Lead BA

Sometimes, this type of PM will still be doing a Lead Business Analyst role (something many junior PMs do before becoming a PM).

So he or she might still be doing the actual "work" (e.g. creating Powerpoint slides, running functional workshops and doing data analysis) while doubling up as a PM.

Below you can see a chart of amount of analysis work done versus the seniority of a PM. The more senior the PM, the less analysis work he or she does. Beyond a certain point, a PM no longer does any analysis work at all. He or she would be doing more stakeholder and resource management, as well as strategic decisioning kind of work.

average salary of a banking project manager 1 Amount of analysis work done versus the seniority of a PM

Minimal capability in PM tools and techniques

The junior level PM is unlikely to be PMP certified and also uses a more adhoc or emotive style of PM. Because of the lack of formal PM structure and techniques, he or she may just "go with the gut" and sometimes appear a little messy.

Employed in the bank or a consulting firm

Many junior level banking PMs are employed by banks. They work as internal staff driving projects of small sizes. They may find it hard to exert influence on stakeholders because these PMs are usually more cost centres than frontliners in the bank (i.e. relationship managers, traders).

Then there are other junior PMs employed by consulting firms. These are usually, pound for pound, more structured and mature than an equivalently experienced PM who has been working in a bank.

The reason is that consulting PMs have usually gone through structured training programs and dealt with multiple clients to amass a broad range of skills. They've seen "more of the world" as such - having worked for many clients during their time in consulting. Some of them also hold MBAs.

So in terms of renumeration, for the same job, do expect that a consulting PM will command a slight premium over a banking PM.

2. Mid-Level Banking PM

A mid-level banking project manager in Singapore would expect to command about US$100,000 to $200,000. Again, excluding any bonuses and other perks.

The profile of a "Mid-Level Banking PM" is as follows.

In charge of 10 to 20 resources

A mid-level banking PM has a "larger army" under him or her, so to speak. He or she may also have people management responsibilities, being in charge of promotion and career progression of his or her team members.

About 10 years of working experience

A mid-level PM will have accumulated about 10 years of working experience. This person will be very mature and can hold his or her own when facing C-level executives and the members of the board room. They can envision the future of the company and often provide strategic advice on where the company is heading within the context of the project. This person is also usually well versed with the banking domain and maybe a solution, having spent so many years working in banking projects. He or she is usually a well respected domain expert.

Case Study: Let's talk about me! I'm a mid-level PM in an American consulting firm right now. I mainly project manage system implementation projects, although I also do IT strategy, vendor evaluation and business process re-engineering.

In my work, I usually deal with the C-level folks like the COO or CIO. I need to be comfortable in presenting findings and project status reports to the CEO and some very senior management staff. It's pressurizing at times but also very rewarding.

Does not do BA work

A mid-level PM should not be doing much BA work anymore. Given the number of resources and project issues, plus the very senior stakeholders to manage, this PM will not have time to do data analysis and functional work. Most likely, a few Lead BAs will report into the PM and let him or her know if there are issues with their individual project workstreams.

Very strong capability in PM tools and techniques

The mid-level PM is likely to be very well-versed in PM tools and frameworks. He or she is also likely to be PMP certified and also uses a more structured approach to project management. The better ones retain some element of emotive techniques, so that he or she can strike a balance to adapt to different project management situations.

Employed in the bank or a consulting firm

Mid-level banking PMs can also be employed in banks or consulting firms. Within the bank, the PM would most likely have established enough credibility to be a domain expert in a specific area. Although they belong to a cost centre, they are likely to play a strong strategic role in the bank and has the ear of one or more C-level executives.

For the mid-level PMs employed by consulting firms, there will be VERY experienced and some of these PMs I know will lead huge teams. On the flip side, most of the mid-level PMs in consulting firms are also weary of the intense pressure and hectic schedules - many of them opt to leave and work in-house in a bank.

3. Senior-Level Banking PM

A senior-level banking project manager in Singapore would expect to command about US$200,000 to $300,000, excluding any bonuses and other perks.

The profile of a "Senior-Level Banking PM" is as follows.

In charge of 50 or more resources - or entire departments

A senior-level banking PM will have immense clout in the organisation (bank or consulting firm) and will have a team of junior PMs report to him. He is more likely to be what is called a "Programme Manager", overseeing many projects at once.

About 20 years of working experience

A senior-level PM will have accumulated about 20 years of working experience. This person can probably run a company division or even take on a C-level role like COO or CIO if he or she wishes to. They influence decisions in the board room and have strategic insights into where the company should head. He or she is probably well-known in the field, gets lots of headhunter calls and may speak at industry conferences.

Does not do BA work

A senior-level PM is even further removed from BA work. For every one senior-level PM, there are probably up to 20 BAs in the team. Project managers will report into the senior-level PM so this person will usually not have much of a view of the ground level BAs. The better ones make an effort to keep in touch with the staff on the ground.

Very strong capability in PM tools and techniques

The senior-level PM is battled scarred and is a veteran of project management. Beyond just certification, he or she will have seen so many projects succeed or fail that they develop a gut feel as to whether something is going right or wrong. The good ones also tend to be both emotive and structured in their project management systems.

Employed in the bank or a consulting firm

Most of the senior-level banking PMs I know are employed in banks, not consulting firms. The reason is that within the bank, there is a place for a senior PM delivering projects.

In consulting firms, you also get senior-level PMs but much less - because most of them have either left or got promoted into business development or sales positions.

4. Other Factors

There are some other factors that affect the salary of a PM. For example, for a banking PM, renumeration in international banks tends to be higher than in domestic banks. And in the up and coming areas like private banking, PMs tend to be paid better than in traditional retail banking.

Wrapping Up ...

I hope the above has given you some great insight into the average salary of a project manager. If you're interested in coming to Singapore to work as a banking project manager, do drop me a note - I've got some good contacts I can hook you up with.

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