What do most PMs max out at salary-wise? I’m only a few years in and curious what the trajectory is like. I know this is a broad question as it depends on the company, location, etc. but always curious to hear from other PMs.
In the US - SFBA, NYC, Seattle, LA, etc
For established tech companies (base + bonus + vesting equity):
- Some companies VPs will make $2-5m+ (“+” can mean $5-10m or more). Some companies’ VPs will make $400-800k.
- Some companies Directors (~L8) will make $500k to 2m+. Some companies Directors will make $250-400k.
- Some companies Group PMs (~L7) will make $400k to $1m. Some companies Group PMs will make $200-300k.
- Some companies tenured PMs (L5/6) will make anywhere from $250-650k. Some companies’ tenured PMs will make $150-250k.
For startups (Series A/B)
- VP Product will likely top out at $200-250k cash + 1-2% equity
- Director of Product will likely top out $175-225k + 0.5-1% equity
- Tenured PM likely top out $150-180k + 0.3-0.5% equity
In the UK - London
At major established US tech companies based here - think Google, FB, Yelp, Twitter, Amazon, Microsoft etc (base + bonus + vesting equity):
- Top end (L7 / L8) is likely anywhere from £150k to £1m+
- Tenured PM (L5 / L6) is anywhere from £100k to £500k
At local tech companies (mostly startups / unicorns, we don’t have that many established companies):
- Top end (VP / Head of / Director / Group) is probably £80-150k + equity
- Tenured PM (Sr / Lead) is probably £60-100k + equity
Can’t comment on comp outside of tech companies.
Obviously, one level above VP is SVP / C-suite but that’s an entirely different ball game there.
There isn’t a ceiling. PM and eng salary bands have been the same in all of the tech companies that I’ve worked for. A strong equity component at a growing public company can make salaries ridiculous.
Some things that helped me do well career-wise:
- make genuine friendships - people remember kindness and give it in return in multitudes if you prioritize relationships over whatever temporary business outcomes. I got this position because the CEO is a person I worked with previously and so he bypassed some requirements (years of work experience mostly).
- study outside of work - spent the past year or so for 30 minutes each day, catching up on all things PMing, strategy, etc. People only tend to study during interview season or try to rely on their job to give them the necessary skills. Makes you go much slower IMHO. Cracking the PM career (new book), Lean Product Playbook, On Design Thinking are great books to jump off from. Reading wired , the information is a great way to keep up with how other companies approach problem-solving.
- Do product teardowns - try out products, figure out why they prioritized some features over others, figure out what they else they could have done. Removes some magic from the world…but makes you an awesome PM!
- stop trying to control your professional career - this was the absolute toughest. I used to spend a lot of time strategizing my next move, thinking about what I wanted my resume to look like, looking at LinkedIn profiles of conventionally successful people. All I ended up doing was hurting my mental health, becoming less creative and burning out. I started focusing on becoming a good product manager over trying to reach whatever potential I thought I was entitled to reach.
that’s great advice, how do you come across product teardowns you got any resources?
Would suggest starting with the recommended books and then seeing what else you need. I also found the following collection of product design reviews very helpful in building my product sense -
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