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UK Salary Comparison for Project Managers - scrum or PRINCE2?

Updated on August 19, 2013


In a previous article, I spoke about what consideration you should give to PRINCE2 training, and whether it is in fact the right certification for your project manager career.

In this article, I will compare salaries across project management jobs in the UK and specifically how salaries differ for different methodologies.

The data

The data I'm capturing will be from job adverts online, with the following features:

- UK job in one of 4 cities: London, Reading, Birmingham, Manchester, either in the city center of within a 4 mile radius

- Job title of Project Manager only. I've excluded any title with the word junior, co-ordinator, senior or director as these seniority/experience levels will have an impact on salary. However, I have included the term scrum master as this is a common term for the project manager role within scrum

- Across a variety of business sectors

- All other benefits excluded

- Job adverts live as of August 2013

- Where jobs give a salary range, I've used the median

- I've excluded contractor jobs and fixed term, as day rates are far higher, so I've kept this to permanent positions only

The job description will contain either PRINCE2, scrum, or both. I have narrowed it down to these features to make the data analysis as fair as possible.

Summary data

Summary data

  • I reviewed 100 project management jobs in total. 22 of those were looking for someone with scrum experience and qualifications and the other 78 were looking for someone with PRINCE2. Interestingly, none of the 100 job adverts asked for both qualifications.
  • There was very little difference between the average salaries across both qualifications. The average salary for PRINCE2 jobs was £48000, and for scrum this was £48150, so the difference was insignificant.
  • Geographically, no scrum jobs were advertised in the most Northern of the cities I surveyed: Manchester. The place it featured most heavily was Birmingham, with scrum asked for in 38% of all the advertised jobs. Table A gives a summary of this data.
  • All the scrum jobs advertised were either in the Finance or IT industry, although these two industries also featured heavily for PRINCE2 qualifications. 36% of scrum jobs were in the Finance sector and the other 64% were in the IT sector.
  • Looking at the industry statistics from a different angle, table B gives the split in qualifications required across different industries. Scrum was asked for in 40% of finance jobs and 22% of IT jobs, but it wasn't requested at all in other industries; they all asked for PRINCE2. This gives you an idea of what qualification is better for you if you are planning on entering a particular industry:

Table A: Qualifications by city

% jobs asking for PRINCE2
% jobs asking for scrum

Table B: Qualifications by industry sector

% jobs asking for PRINCE2
% jobs asking for Scrum
0% *
Public sector
100% *
0% *
* = data set is very small so may not give accurate figures

What this means for you

  • If you are looking to get into project management or get your next project management job, there are a far greater number of opportunities for those with PRINCE2 qualifications than those with only scrum.
  • If salary is a key factor for you when searching for a job, there is no advantage to be had from selecting one qualification over the other as average salaries are consistent across both types of jobs.
  • Scrum is more popular in the IT and finance sector. However, PRINCE2 is still asked for in the majority of jobs in these two sectors. If you are thinking of getting a scrum qualification, it is still worthwhile to also obtain a PRINCE2 qualification so that you don't limit your job options.
  • There is a geographical factor in how frequently scrum was asked for as a job qualification. This is likely due to industry sectors that are more prevalent in some parts of the country than others. Depending on where you live, PRINCE2 may be more important to you as a job qualification because of the dominance of some industries within those parts of the country. With only a scrum qualification, you may be very limited in terms of jobs options in certain parts of the country.


These results were something of a surprise. If you have read my other articles about PRINCE2 and scrum, you will have seen the strength of argument I've put into how useful scrum is as a methodology, particularly in the IT and software industry. The data I've collated shows that scrum is still not a common methodology to use for businesses, who prefer the older and more tried and tested PRINCE2 style of working.

Culturally, scrum is a big shift for companies is it moves them towards an agile approach to working that has a wider impact on an organization: smaller emphasis on documentation, more receptive to change. This may put companies off who perceive this as potentially a higher cost to an organization.

What this data also fails to reflect is any change over time. It would be interesting to repeat this analysis in one year, to see if there is any difference in the figures. Scrum is a newer methodology, so it may be something that becomes more popular in the future. From that perspective, a qualification may still be a useful asset to have to put you ahead of the competition whilst it is still relatively rare.

Recommendations for further reading

90 Days to Success as a Project Manager
90 Days to Success as a Project Manager

A great starting point if you are new to project management or considering a career as a project manager



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