2007 Product Manager Survey – Technical Product Managers

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Pragmatic Marketing’s 2007 survey of product managers includes questions that identify product managers as having technical backgrounds. Product management involves many responsibilities that require some level of technical acumen. In this article, we look at the survey responses to see if the degree of technical skill has a correlation with compensation.

Identifying the Variables

We looked at three different inputs for comparing the compensation data. We looked at reported level of technical expertise, years of experience, and job title. To determine total compensation, we combined reported salary with reported bonus.

Level of technical acumen

There were four responses available in the survey for determining technical savvy:

  • I am non-technical
  • I am somewhat non-technical
  • I am somewhat technical
  • I am very technical

Years of Experience

We filtered our data analysis to look at people who responded to having any of the following years of experience:

  • 01-02
  • 03-05
  • 06-10
  • 11-15
  • 15+

This removed people who reported 0 years of experience or left the field blank.

Job Title

We considered three responses for job title:

  • PM (Product Manager)
  • PMM (Product Marketing Manager)
  • TPM (Technical Product Manager)

We excluded those people who responded with “other” from this analysis.

Total Compensation

We determined total compensation by adding the reported salary to the reported bonus amount. We did not analyze the bonus mechanism (stock vs. cash, etc).

Product Manager Compensation By Job Title and Years of Experience

First, we looked at the compensation versus years of experience – sorted by job title.

product manager salary by title and experience

The second column shows the number of responses for each category. It is interesting to note that almost 90% of respondents have more than five years of experience. Here’s another view of the same data that makes comparison a little easier:

compensation by experience and title

Here’s a graph of the same data (click on the graph for a larger version)

chart of comp versus experience and title

The red line represents number of respondents against the right axis, and the blue bars show average total compensation against the left axis.

Here’s another chart that shows each title as a different curve, demonstrating average total compensation versus years of experience:

chart of compensation versus years of experience by product management title

Product Manager Compensation by Title and Technical Level

Then we looked at the breakout of compensation by technical level – again, sorted by job title.

product manager salary by title and technical level

Almost 90% of the respondents are either somewhat or very technical. And all of the technical product managers reported some level of technical experience. I guess that would be an obvious expectation. Here’s how it looks visually

comp chart by tech level and title (click on the chart for a larger version)

The red line represents the number of responses (against the right axis) and the blue bars show total compensation against the left axis in USD.

Product Manager Compensation by Technical Level, Title, and Years of Experience

When we combine all three elements, we see the following (click on the small tables to view larger versions)
product manager compensation by experience, title, and tech

And the number of respondents in each category:

number of respondents


Technical product managers, at least the more senior ones, are paid less than non-technical product managers – when looking purely at titles. However, product managers with technical skills are generally paid better than product managers without them. One interpretation of the data might be that while technical skills help you earn more in any product management role, the technical product manager role generally earns less – perhaps due to perceived scope of responsibility or impact.

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