Product School

The Hard Truth About Product Management Salaries in Today's Economy

Nathan Thomas

Author: Nathan Thomas

January 26, 2023 - 5 min read

Updated: January 24, 2024 - 5 min read

At the time of writing in January 2023, almost 360,000 Product Manager roles are currently open on LinkedIn. As the economy wobbles, one thing remains constant: Product matters. As our CEO put it, the best Products win. The best products win because:

  • When times are tough, people are more selective

  • When discretionary spending is scarce, people seek out value

  • Good products can adapt to changing circumstances and stay relevant

Product is paramount. But that’s not all: Software has eaten the world, and virtually all companies are now, to some extent, user experience companies. Product Managers own the customer experience, they own the Product, and so their role is even more critical in today’s economy.

This is rosy news for those seeking their first Product Manager job. Basic economics confirms that when demand exceeds supply, prices go up. But how far up do they go? 

Product Managers are in demand. But the sky is not the limit.

We surveyed 7,000 Product Managers at organizations of all sizes for our upcoming 2023 Future of Product Management Report. Most PMs we surveyed are currently seeking a salary increase of at least 20%, whether through a promotion with their current employer or through a more lucrative offer elsewhere.

We spoke to the recruiters. We looked at the figures. And I’m sorry, PMs, but we’re here to tell you: A 20% rise this year is in direct conflict with current market conditions. Yes, you’re in hot demand. You’ve been dealt a good hand. But you need to play it strategically.

And if you’re hiring Product Managers, you’re going to want to make an appealing offer, but also look beyond salary to find other ways to attract and retain Product talent in today’s economy.

First, let’s take a look at the Product Management salary bands that are realistic: Fear not, they are still highly competitive against other professional occupations!

What Do Product Managers Make Today?

Income, rather like the weather, the side of the road you drive on, and the options available on Netflix, varies depending on where you live. We’re a global company with our home base in Silicon Valley, so let’s check out some typical Product Management salaries in the US, as of 2023:

  • Associate Product Manager (APM): Average Salary: $80,000 / year

  • Product Owner (PO): Average Salary: $95,822 / year

  • Product Manager (PM): Average Salary: $110,422 / year

  • Product Leader (PL): Average Salary: $123,739 / year

  • Senior Product Manager (SPM): Average Salary: $142,105 / year

  • Group Product Manager (GPM): Average Salary: $172,198 / year

  • Principal Product Manager (PPM): Average Salary: $180,934 / year

  • Vice President (VP) of Product: Average Salary: $199, 563 / year

  • Chief Product Officer (CPO): Average Salary: $262,880 / year

If you’re hiring Product Managers, ask yourself, taking into account regional differences and the industry that you’re in: Is the salary you’re offering competitive? And if you’re seeking your next pay rise, ask yourself if a 20% increase is really in line with market realities. And in both cases, take a peek beyond simply monetary compensation…

Beyond salary, other things matter in a Product Management job offer

Salary matters. But so do other things too. We’ve explored this topic in depth in articles like Recession-Proof Retention: How to Maintain and Motivate Your Product Teams During an Economic Downturn. Broadly, Product Managers value three areas beyond salary:

The Employee Experience

Product Managers are prepared to work hard, but also proactively seek out work-life balance. Hybrid or remote work is highly praised, as are employers that are considerate about their employees mental health and work hard to foster a positive, tolerant, diverse, and accepting workplace

The Meaning of the Work Itself

Product Managers value work that has an impact. This could be at the high level of the mission of the company, but it can also be at the more everyday level of solving interesting problems and working on challenges that feel important. Not every company is trying to change the world, and that’s OK, but the purpose of the work PMs are doing should be clearly communicated.

The Opportunity for Career Advancement

Spoiler alert: Only 35% of companies regularly assess their content team’s level of maturity. Product people are future-focused and want to learn and grow. Building out clear career paths and providing training opportunities to help PMs reach them is a long-hanging-fruit opportunity that companies can lean into now.

Whether you’re hiring your dream PM team or you have your eye on your next job or promotion, salary matters. Setting realistic expectations that factor in both talent demand and economic realities will help connect the right jobs with the right job seekers. Salary is important but it's not everything: Considering employee experience, meaningful work, and opportunities for advancement will help both employers and job seekers create teams that are a joy to work for.

Updated: January 24, 2024

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