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Market update: Product Manager demand and salaries in Australia 2022

By Academy Xi

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Considering a career in Product Management and assessing if it’s the best move for you? We’ve rounded up the latest industry insights and stats to assist your research.

What does a Product Manager do?

A Product Manager is tasked with identifying the true needs of the target customer market, along with the key objectives of the business that a new product, service or feature will fulfil. The Product Manager then assembles a team that can bring this new idea into the real world, firstly establishing a clear picture of what success will look like, then setting achievable goals and keeping everyone motivated along the way. 

In addition, Product Managers need to have an understanding of what the competition is offering for the same market and how what is being proposed fits in with the wider objectives of the company.

Career prospects are plentiful, with any company offering a product or service needing a Product Manager. 

“The role of 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” (McKinsey)

Product Managers salaries in Australia

Demand for Product Managers in Australia is steadily rising, with national employment rates set to increase by 10.3% in the next five years

The average annual salary for Product Manager jobs in Australia ranges from $120,000 to $140,000. Industries offering the highest average salaries for Product Managers include:

  • Insurance and superannuation
  • Information and communication technology
  • Banking and financial services

Junior Product Manager salary

Entry-level Product Manager positions start at around the $115,000 mark, but be mindful that this is an overall national average. Starting salaries can differ greatly depending on the industry, any transferable skills you bring to the table from previous positions and the quality of your training.

Once you’ve been in the game for a while you can expect a mid-career Product Manager salary average of approximately $137,000 per year.

Senior Product Manager salary

The most experienced Product Managers attract salaries in the ballpark of $170,000 per year, but again this will be dictated by the hiring industry and prior experience of the candidate.

Can you be a freelance Product Manager?

It’s possible to freelance with many speciality skill-sets in today’s working world, and Product Management is no exception. In order to land contracts with companies as a freelance Product Manager, having a solid employment history with a range of examples of your work is paramount, as is knowing a network of contacts who are willing to refer you for any work opportunities. 

While freelancing as a Product Manager is entirely possible, it isn’t likely to be the first stage of your Product Management career. It’s recommended that you work in-house for at least a few companies to begin with. Doing so will provide you with much needed experience and also assist you in discovering which industries you might prefer working in.

How much can freelance product managers make?

As a freelance Product Manager, you can set your rates by hour, day or project. In terms of what to charge, you need to factor in all of the outgoings that your standard in-house salary would cover, including sick leave, superannuation, and additional training costs. 

Day rates for freelance Product Managers could range from $500 per day to anything north of $1000. It really will depend on the industry, project, allocated budget and how well aligned your experience is to the project requirements.

Freelance rate calculators can be a helpful tool to guide your rate, along with researching what others in the field are charging. It pays to do your research. You will also have an idea from your time working in-house of what different companies have paid for contractors, which can help shape your expectations.

What skills are needed for Product Management?

product managers skills salary australia If you’re new to the game, or looking to sharpen your existing abilities, there’s a number of soft and hard skills every Product Manager needs in their toolkit. Here’s a few to get you started:
  • Web development

Don’t fret, you don’t need to be a full-stack developer to be a great Product Manager, but having an understanding of web development will be highly beneficial. Having this understanding will give context to your work and enable you to communicate more thoughtfully and effectively with your IT colleagues.
  • Market research

Establishing the true needs of the target audience and gathering customer feedback is all part of effective market research. Having the skills to conduct this research is vital in Product Management. 
  • Understanding UX

As a Product Manager you will be working with User Experience (UX) Designers, so having an understanding of the best practices will enable you to better collaborate with these members of your team and have an appreciation of their responsibilities. On the soft skills front, Product Managers need the following on their side:
  • Communication skills
  • Time management
  • Creative problem-solving 
  • Critical thinking 
  • Flexibility 

How to start a career in Product Management

Whether you’re looking to upskill or venturing into a new career direction with Product Management, quality industry-focused training is highly recommended to ensure you’re equipped with the right skills and mindset.

At Academy Xi our Product Management courses are built with experts from Accenture, MYOB, PwC and Deloitte and will provide you with the latest frameworks and techniques to ensure you’re able to hit the ground running in your first Product Management role.

For those upskilling, Product Management: Elevate will see you gaining immediately applicable Product Management skills and give your professional development a serious boost.  

Product Management: Transform will take beginners to job-ready with in-depth practical training, live client projects and coaching from a Career Support Program that delivers 97% of graduates straight into the industry.

Graduate with highly practical skills and the ability to:

  • Conduct market analysis to identify strategic opportunities
  • Articulate a product vision and roadmap
  • Manage the design phase using human-centred design principles
  • Plan your product backlog using Jira
  • Develop a go-to-market strategy
  • Manage your Agile scrum sprint
  • Create financial modelling
  • Manage and improve products throughout their lifecycle based on data-driven insights
  • Use soft skills to get stakeholder buy-in and influence outcomes
  • Build desirable, viable and feasible products using cross-functional leadership

If you have any questions, our experienced team is here to discuss your training options. Speak to a course advisor today and take the first steps in your Product Management journey.

Academy Xi Blog

Market update: Project Managers demand and salaries in Australia 2022

By Academy Xi

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Are you curious about a career in project management and keen to find out what’s going on in today’s industry? We’ve put together this market update to bring you all the latest Project Management statistics and insights.

Industry Outlook Project Management

Demand: The number of Project Manager roles is set to grow by 6.1% in the next five years

Salary: The average Project Manager salary in Australia ranges between $105,000 to $160,000 AUD

Skills: A stand-out portfolio and practical industry training will help you break into the industry

A team without a Project Manager is a bit like a ship without a rudder; moving without any clear direction or purpose. Project Managers are a must-have for any successful company these days, bringing leadership, a high level of strategy and enabling projects to reach the best possible outcomes.

What does a Project Manager do?

The precise responsibilities of a Project Manager will depend on their industry, company and the types of projects they are tasked with overseeing.

Broadly speaking, Project Managers are normally tasked with planning, organising, and directing the completion of specific projects for a company, while ensuring projects are completed on time, within budget and in line with a predetermined scope.

By guiding complex projects from ideation to completion, Project Managers have the potential to alter a company’s trajectory, helping to reduce costs, optimise efficiencies and improve its profitability.

See your earning potential

The demand for Project Managers is set to expand by 6.1% in the next five years alone, with over 12,000 roles already available in the Australian employment market. 

Pay opportunities for Project Managers are representative of a profession that recruiters are actively searching for.  

Average Product Manager salary

The average salary for a Product Manager in Australia is $124,617 AUD.

Junior Project Manager salary

Entry-level Project Manager positions command an average salary of $105,081, but there are junior positions starting at much more. Industry conditions and the strength of your portfolio will impact your starting income.

Senior Project Manager salary

Once you’ve got some experience under your belt and you’ve climbed the industry ladder, you can expect a senior-level income of $161,652.

Can you be a freelance Project Manager?

Are you not stoked by the idea of working in-house and having a line manager to report to? Rest assured you can venture into the world of contract work as a freelance Project Manager and work on any project that captures your imagination. Many do.

Be mindful that having in-house experience is valuable before you embark on a freelance career. This means you’ll have a stronger portfolio of work and the professional contacts from your previous places of employment, all of which will positively impact your earning potential and ability to secure clients.

How much can freelance Project Managers make?

As with many contractors, the rates will vary and depend on your level of experience, training and skillset. 

Daily rates can range anywhere from $500AUD to $1200AUD+ and will be determined by the industry, complexity of the project and skills needed for the job. 

Remember, working a freelancer means you’ll need to pay for all of the expenses that an in-house salary would usually cover, including superannuation, sick leave, annual leave and learning and development costs. These all need to be taken into account when deciding on your rates. A freelancer rate calculator can help you when setting your prices, as can looking at what other professionals charge in the same field.

What skills are needed for Project Management?

Soft skills needed in Project Management.

  • Communication

You’ll be working with a wide range of stakeholders and teammates, so having the ability to communicate effectively is crucial. From sharing project briefs, to presenting project proposals to stakeholders, Project Managers are always communicating. Even if the project you’re working on is highly technical, it’s vital that you’re able to explain it in the clearest, simplest terms possible. 

  • Leadership

When managing a team that’s completing a project, it’s important you have strong leadership skills. By effectively coaching and motivating your co-workers, you can help move a project beyond its obstacles and reach the best possible outcomes. Strong leaders also foster a supportive environment by connecting with their teams and helping them develop important Project Management skills themselves. 

  • Time management

All Project Managers will have numerous demands placed on their time – particularly since they’re acting as the point of contact for so many different departments and team members. This means it’s vital that you’re not only able to manage your own time, but also the time and capacity of all the people involved in completing a project.

Technical skills needed in Project Management

  • Agile Scrums

While Agile Scrum is a methodology, knowing how to orchestrate a Scrum is definitely a skill (and a skill that modern Project Managers can’t do without). An Agile Scrum involves breaking a project into sprints, normally 2-4 weeks in length. The objective of each sprint is to build the most important features and quickly come away with a deliverable product. Project Managers usually act as Scrum Masters and will lead team meetings, coach teams on best Scrum practices and resolve any issues that arise.

  • Budgeting

Project Managers calculate how much each phase of a project will cost and use these figures to decide which aspects of a project to prioritise. In order to get the people, equipment and materials needed to complete a project, you’ll need to put together a viable budget that secures stakeholder buy-in. Your budgeting skills will also provide the basis for project cost control. By measuring the project’s actual cost against the budget, you can determine if things are progressing according to plan, or if corrective measures are needed.

  • Software skills

The best Project Managers know better than to try to coordinate a project with jumbled spreadsheets and never-ending to-do lists. Instead, they’re experts at using Project Management software like Jira. Project Managers using the Agile methodology rely on Jira to centralise communication, streamline collaborative processes, and iron out project plans. Harnessing Jira will give you powerful planning and roadmap tools, so you can manage stakeholders, budgets, and feature requirements. 

There’s always innovative new software coming onto the market, including, Wrike and Gantt Charts, so you’ll need to stay up-to-date and incorporate the tools that help make your projects a smoother ride.

How to start a career in Project Management

If you’re looking to add in-demand Project Management skills to your resume, Academy Xi offers practical training that enables you to develop a competitive edge at a pace that suits your lifestyle. 

With courses delivered online part-time or self-paced, you’ll be able to supercharge your career prospects without putting the rest of your life on hold. 

Our Digital Project Management: Elevate and Digital Project Management: Elevate (Self-paced) courses teach you how to harness collaborative tools, the latest software and a strategic approach to synchronise teams that successfully deliver amazing digital projects. 

Plus, you’ll get the chance to work on a personal project relevant to your business or workplace, allowing you to walk away with a number of deliverables and an executable Project Management plan.      

Want to discuss your transferable skills and course options? Speak to a course advisor today and take the first step in your project management journey.

Webinar - November - Product Management is Growing. Fast.

Academy Xi Webinars

Product management is growing. Fast.

By Academy Xi

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The average salary of a Product Manager is $117,849 – one of the highest paid tech roles in Australia (Source: Indeed, 2021)

As companies need to reinvent themselves digitally, Product Management continues to move towards the centre of business strategy. Join our panel of leading product managers where we will discuss why Product Management is having a moment right now and what lies ahead.

Join our speakers: 

  • La’i Dowsett – Senior Consultant – Product Development (previously Tesla & Apple)
  • Jo Pforr – Product Lead, Sustainable Innovation, PwC
  • Luke Hymers – Chief of Staff to CEO, Baraja

In this video, you’ll learn:

  • Tips for leading digital product and strategy.
  • Why product has become ‘business critical’ for many organisations.
  • What the common pathways are to working in product.
Want to keep up to date with the latest webinars from Academy Xi? Follow us on LinkedIn.

Academy Xi Blog

Product Management versus Project Management

By Academy Xi

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It’s not uncommon for confusion to arise when it comes to Product and Project Management. Both disciplines are often abbreviated to ‘PM’, they share a range of common skills and there is a crossover between their functions, however, the responsibilities are very different. 

Let’s wade in and try to establish some clarity.

At a glance:

  • The fundamental difference
  • What is product management & what does a Product Manager do?
  • What is project management & what does a Project Manager do?
  • So, what do these roles have in common?
  • Agile Scrum Methodology – at a glance
  • Top picks for software
  • Are Product Managers and Project Managers in-demand?
  • How much can you earn as a Product Manager or Project Manager?
  • How can I become a Product Manager or Project Manager?

The fundamental difference 

Essentially product managers manage products, project managers manage projects.

Where one is high level and strategy focused, the other is a driver of specific tasks.

  • Product Managers define high level goals and objectives and then create a comprehensive strategy.
  • Project Managers oversee the resourcing and scheduling of the approved strategy to enable the elements to ‘get done’. 

There’s a bit more to it than this top line summary of difference, so let’s dig into the details.

What is Product Management & what does a Product Manager do? 

The organisational function responsible for a product’s overall success is known as Product Management.

Product Managers are at the intersection of all individuals, teams and stakeholders involved in what is known as the ‘lifecycle’ of a product. 

Product Managers:

  • discover the challenges and needs of their customers via research
  • define a product vision, meeting the customer needs and reflecting business goals
  • ensure the product concept aligns with market needs to confirm viability 
  • create a comprehensive strategy to build solutions that satisfy all of these elements
  • continually improve on existing products using data-driven insights.

Each step from coming up with the idea and designing the strategy, through to delivering it to market and making ongoing improvements is driven by the Product Manager. They devise and maintain the product roadmap to align all involved in the journey – it is a highly collaborative role. The key to this gig is always being a passionate advocate for the customer – their needs must be at the heart of the entire process. 

What is Project Management & what does a Project manager do?

Where Product Management is functioning on a strategic level, Project Management is all about organising and guiding the completion of specific tasks that exist within the overarching strategy.

The role of the Project Manager doesn’t come into play until the strategy (as defined and created by the Product Manager) has been approved. 

Once off the starting blocks, the Project Manager is a vital element in ensuring the plan goes smoothly. They are responsible for: 

  • Scoping out each project element
  • Overall scheduling of these initiative timelines
  • Allocating resources across all projects (time, budget, staffing)
  • Being aware of any significant risks prior to project commencing
  • Executing the elements of the project plans
  • Monitoring and tracking the project process 
  • Regular communication to all relevant stakeholders about overall progress.

Key attributes of a great Project Manager include fantastic communication skills, time management prowess and strong leadership qualities. 

What do these roles have in common?

Product Manager in a meeting with colleague

It’s safe to say that well-tuned soft skills are a necessity for both Product and Project Managers. 

Most importantly, effective communication skills are required as they deal with a wide variety of stakeholders both in house and externally to the organisation they are supporting. 

Being adept at developing one-on-one relationships with team members, while simultaneously building team cohesion is quite a skill and hugely benefits both of these roles  – the focus being on creating a team culture that fosters open communication, respect and empathy. 

Skills of persuasion are also integral as they will often need to get ‘buy-in’ from teams and individuals that they do not directly manage. This can be quite a challenge when you’re needing people to deliver specifics to get the job done. 

Agile Scrum Methodology – at a glance

Agile Scrum Methodology is a popular project management system that takes a sprint-based approach, working to the goal of delivering the best possible outcome and value to all stakeholders. It is a system used by both Product and Project Managers alike.

  • What is Scrum?

A framework that enables effective collaboration among teams working together on complex projects or products. This approach can benefit any team working toward a common goal.

  • What is Agile?

A process that allows teams to more efficiently manage a project by breaking it down into several stages, with stakeholder feedback gathered to improve at each increment.

By working in two to four week ‘sprints’, stakeholder feedback is gathered and integrated into the next sprint, where appropriate. This enables the product or service to develop quickly and reflect the needs of the stakeholders, compared to other project management methods that build an entire product or service in only one stage – from beginning to delivery – which is slower and may not deliver the same business value.

Top picks for software

There are many software options on the market, with most being some version of an online collaborative app where anyone working on a project can see what they’re supposed to do and when and enable you to record progress on your assigned tasks. They give an overview of the project and can show if it’s on target to meet budget and timeline requirements.

Here are a few examples of specific software that is currently popular with both product and project managers in collaborating with teams and hitting deadlines. While there isn’t any Product Management specific software, there are features in Jira that are particularly suitable for Product Managers such as Advanced Roadmaps.

Product Management Tools logos: TeamGantt, Jira, Asana,
  • Jira: Plan, track, release and report with this widely popular project product management software.
  • Asana: Track, manage and connect your projects across any team. This platform enables all stakeholders to discuss work in one place.
  • Plan, organise and track your team’s work in one place on this highly visual and intuitive platform.
  • TeamGantt: Project planning software that brings gantt charts online. You can plan, schedule and manage projects with this free software and invite clients and teams to collaborate.

Are Product and Project Managers in-demand?

In short, yes!

Overall, the global economy has become more project-oriented – this is largely due to digital transformation and the requirement for most industries to get online and have tech based solutions to meet market demands, lest they be left behind. 

Industries that were previously less project-oriented are now requiring digital services and products, particularly in health care (hello COVID) and professional services.

There is an increasing gap worldwide between employers’ needs for both skilled product and project managers and the availability of professionals to fill those positions.

Product Management positions are particularly challenging to fill due to the diverse skills and capabilities required and has one of the fastest growing skills gaps in Australia. (1)

When it comes to project management, the labor force is expected to grow 33 percent across 11 countries by 2027, with employers needing nearly 88 million individuals in project management roles worldwide.(2)

How much can you earn as a Product Manager or Project Manager?

Amongst the highest paid roles in tech across Australia and the United States (3), the current average Project and Product Manager salaries come in at $120,000 AUD (4) (5). Those with more experience in these roles can take home in excess of $150,000 a year. (4/5). 

How can I become a Product manager or Project Manager?

Getting the right training under your belt is a strong start to establishing your career as a Product or Project Manager. 

Ideally, you want to study a course which offers you as much practical experience as possible. Training which includes working on real-world projects is an added bonus, as you will be putting your new skills to the test on something that’s personally relevant to you or your business. 

Academy Xi offers industry focused courses in both Product Management and Project Management, with a focus on digital to ensure that you are job ready by graduation. Class sizes are small, socially engaged and guided by industry experts.

We offer the following courses in Product and Project Management: 

Check out the upcoming course intake dates for all of our online courses. 

I’ve managed a lot of traditional/ offline projects. Should I still upskill?

Without a doubt, gaining digital-specific project management skills is a great investment in your future. Academy Xi offers industry focused part-time, online courses to elevate your skills to the next level. Designed and taught by passionate industry experts, the training will empower you to stay ahead of the industry curve. Discover more by reading our blog post ‘5 reasons to invest in upskilling’

Product Management review at Academy Xi

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