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Does a Project Manager Make More Than a Business Analyst?

by Dana Severson, studioD

As the name suggests, project managers manage all components of a project. They start by determining the goals of a project and then develop a strategy to see the project to fruition. These managers communicate with team members, assign tasks, oversee schedules, monitor budgets and measure progress to ensure that their organizations meet all objectives are met. Business analysts perform many of the same tasks as project managers, but their goal is almost exclusively to improve the efficiency and profitability of a company by making recommendations on business processes. Salaries are comparable between these two roles, with project managers just slightly outearning business analysts.

Project Manager Salaries

A survey by the Project Management Institute found that half of project managers brought home at least $100,000 a year, as of 2010. But salaries vary by experience. With less than one year on the job, managers had a median salary of $86,000 annually. Project managers with one to five years of experience earned $100,000, while those with five to 10 years of experience earned $108,206. For managers with more than 10 years on the job, salaries often exceeded $118,000.

Business Analyst Salaries

Median earnings for business analysts were roughly 27 percent less than those of project managers. Business analysts bring home $78,600 a year, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports. As with project managers, analysts' salaries vary by experience. A survey by Robert Half Finance & Accounting, a national financial recruiter, found that entry-level analysts earned anywhere from $46,750 to $62,000 a year, depending on company size. With one to three years of experience, analysts' salaries ranged from $56,750 to $78,750. At the senior level, business analysts earned $73,500 to $97,250, while managers brought home $86,250 to $119,000 annually.

Contributing Factors

The relatively high salaries for both positions are partly due to education. For project managers, employers typically seek candidates with at least a bachelor’s degree in a field related to the company’s industry. Employers often prefer a master’s degree in project management. In fact, this level of education could improve employment opportunities. The same also holds for project management certifications. Business analysts, on the other hand, often need a bachelor’s degree in business, management, accounting, marketing or a related field to work in entry-level positions. To advance in the career, business analysts may want to consider earning their MBA; 28 percent of all analysts held this level of education in 2010, according to the BLS.

Career Outlook

The outlook for employment opportunities for project managers varies by industry. In advertising, for example, the BLS expects employment to grow by 13 percent through 2020. Those working in administrative services will likely enjoy slightly better opportunities, with a job growth of 15 percent during this same time. Business analysts have an even brighter future, with average job growth of 22 percent predicted.

About the Author

Based in Minneapolis, Minn., Dana Severson has been writing marketing materials for small-to-mid-sized businesses since 2005. Prior to this, Severson worked as a manager of business development for a marketing company, developing targeted marketing campaigns for Big G, Betty Crocker and Pillsbury, among others.

Photo Credits

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