If you’re looking at a career in product management, you’re in a good place. As long as a company has a product, it requires a product manager.
This is a view supported by the US-based management consulting firm, McKinsey & Company. The company says that “the role of the product manager is expanding due to the growing importance of data in decision-making, and increased customer and design focus, and the evolution of software-development methodologies” (Source).
If you love understanding who the customer is, their needs, and why they behave in a certain way, you may do well in a product manager role. Added to this, you will need to have a keen interest in competing products, determine the role of the product in the bigger scheme of a business, and define how it will be marketed to the customers.
If the product manager role intrigues you, here are 15 statistics about a career in product management you need to know:
1. How Many People Work As Product Managers?
In an attempt to get an idea of the number of product managers out there, we ran a search on the social network for career and business professionals, LinkedIn. We found that 698,945 individuals listed their profiles as a product manager (August 22, 2020). Of course, the actual numbers are likely to be higher because some people may not have profiles on LinkedIn.
A user of the American question-and-answer website, Quora, reports that a LinkedIn search in 2014 using the words “How many Product Managers are in the United States” revealed that the number was at 146,333. This indicates a growth of over half a million in about six years.
2. What Is The Gender Balance In The Product Management Space?
Product School, a global provider of product management training, carried out a survey involving over 500,000 members of the product manager community and released a report titled “The Future of Product Management” in January 2020. The results show that 66.1% of the respondents were male and 32.1% were female. The other 1.3% of respondents preferred not to state their gender.
3. What Do Product Managers Spend Their Time Doing?
According to McKinsey & Company, almost 80% of product managers are involved in design activities. The same percentage is involved in go-to-market decisions, with half of these also taking part in making decisions involving pricing. The same organization reports that “60 percent of product managers have basic analytics skills that enable them to dive into metrics and draw insights without relying on analysts” (Source).
The pie chart below, provides an idea of what most product managers say they spend most of their time doing.
4. Percentage Of Time Spent By Product Managers On Unplanned Fire Fighting
In this age of the Internet and where information travels at lightning speed, it’s easy to understand why product managers find themselves often involved in an attempt to deal with problems emanating in the late stages of the product development lifecycle. Customers also generally tend to have more information, making them more demanding. Consequently, product managers report that they spend 52% of their time on unplanned fire-fighting activities (Source).
5. What Percentage Of Graduates Take Up Jobs As Product Managers?
A Wall Street Journal article reported that 7% of Harvard Business School graduates took jobs in product management. The same article also reports that Harvard Business School reports that it is only able to accept one in every three applications to its Product Management 101 course.
6. Average Salaries Of Product Managers
Finding the average salary of a product manager is quite complicated because different sources use different methods in providing answers. However, it is essential to note that salaries are affected by demand, location, cost of living, and standard of living in various parts of the world.
One of the go-to sources for salary information, Glassdoor, a U.S. job portal, analyzed 40,713 salaries and put the average base pay for a product manager at approximately $108,992. With the 2015 U.S. Census data showing that the median household income in the U.S. was $56,516, it’s easy to see that product managers are well paid.
Globally, the average base pay for a product manager is $110,916 per year (Source). The United States of America holds the highest average base pay of $108,992. In contrast, India pays an average of $21,687 per year to product managers.
7. Where Are The Highest And Lowest Product Manager Salaries In The U.S.?
Product managers in the East and West coast areas are among the highest-paid U.S. product managers. According to the U.S. software company Aha!, San Francisco product managers earn a median salary of $129,000. Product managers also earn median salaries of $119,000 and $108,000 in Seattle and Los Angeles. In New York and Boston, they earn median salaries of $107,000 and $109,000, respectively (Source).
The U.S. Midwest/Rocky Mountains pay the lowest median salaries to product managers. Chicago and Denver pay $99,000 and $95,000 median salaries, while Minneapolis pays $103,000 (Source).
8. Which Industry Pays Product Managers The Best Salaries?
Some product managers at Google, Slack, Uber, and Microsoft can earn average salaries of over $200,000 a year. These companies are considered some of the best places to work as product managers (Source).
When it comes to which companies hire the most product managers, it’s clear that the leading technology companies take the front row. The online courses provider Upgrad.com identifies the top three companies hiring product managers:
UBER: It’s easy to understand why many product management graduates would head for a company like UBER. The ride-hailing company says that it made 7 billion trips in 2019. To accomplish such a feat, it requires “heavily data-driven product development strategies in sync with the vision and mission of the company” (Source).
Microsoft: With an average salary of $188,924, and the kind of reputation that the company holds across the world, many people are likely to see this company as a place that would provide job security and a great working environment.
Amazon: With as little as two years’ work experience and a Master’s Degree in Business Administration, Marketing, Finance, or Engineering, you could find yourself working as a product manager at Amazon (Source).
Companies like Apple, Facebook, Uline, Zillow, SAP, Adobe, and LinkedIn all have positions open across different levels in different cities across the U.S. and around the world (Source).
10. How Much Education Do Product Managers Have?
A Business Bachelor’s degree is enough to kickstart a career in product management. This provides you with essential skills, such as marketing, operations management, and finance.
A master’s degree will make you an ideal candidate for a senior product management role. It provides you with additional communication skills when dealing with stakeholders and the credentials that will make other executives respect you (Source).
12. What Is The Average Experience Of Product Managers?
Pragmatic Marketing Inc., a company that provides product management and marketing training, carried out a product management survey in 2016. Over 2,500 product managers participated in the survey (Source).
According to the results, 26% of the product managers polled had 3-5 years’ work experience. This was followed by 24% with 6-10 years’ work experience. The study also showed that about 39% of the polled sample were within the ages of 35-44 years of age. You can see the rest of the report here.
13. What Company Size Do Most Product Managers Want To Work For?
According to a Product School survey, 55% of product managers prefer working for small-to-medium enterprises (SMEs) because of such enterprises’ flexibility and willingness to try new things. The proportion of product managers who prefer to work for bigger companies with more resources and better compensation is 45%. The other 5% report that they would work for any company that meets their personal preferences.
14. Growth Demand For Product Managers?
Glassdoor puts a product manager position as the 4th best job in the United States for 2020. The job portal currently has about 12,173 product manager listings.
In the U.S., interest in product management has doubled in the last five years. It can be expected that product management isn’t going to disappear anytime soon because the need for products will always be there (Source).
15. What Are The Leading Product Management Skills For The Future?
Product managers need a mix of skills. They must have soft skills (such as leadership and communication) and hard skills (like artificial intelligence, data handling, and working knowledge of tools such as product management software or product development software). Professionals in the field are expected to find the proper mix between these two sets of skills.
According to LinkedIn’s ‘The Most In-Demand Hard and Soft Skills of 2020’, AI, data, and UX design are the top three hard skills that will be the most sought after in the future amongst product managers. For soft skills, leadership, communication, and creativity are the top three skills (Source).