What Earns You More?


Internal or Customer Projects?


Project Business Management


By Oliver F. Lehmann

Munich, Germany

“I’d like to live as a poor man with lots of money.”
– Pablo Picasso


In 2018, a survey showed that in high-paying countries, project managers in customer projects are, on average, better paid than their colleagues in internal projects. In low-paying countries, project managers in internal projects were better paid.

This new study, 4 years and a global pandemic later, was performed to find out if this observation is still true.

Two Types of Projects

Figure 1: Project managers in internal projects vs. customer projects

 The Survey: Which Project Managers Earn More?


The survey was performed in July and August 2022. It collected 536 responses during that time.

In the first question, respondents were asked what kind of projects they typically manage. They answered:

  • Internal projects: 222 (= 41.4%)
  • Customer projects: 298 (= 55.6%)
  • Other settings: 16 (= 3.0%)


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Editor’s note: This series of articles is by Oliver Lehmann, author of the book “Project Business Management” (ISBN 9781138197503), published by Auerbach / Taylor & Francis in 2018. See author profile below.

How to cite this article: Lehmann, O. F. (2022). What Earns You More? Internal or Customer Projects? PM World Journal, Vol. XI, Issue X, October. Available online at https://pmworldlibrary.net/wp-content/uploads/2022/10/pmwj10-Oct2022-Lehmann-what-earns-you-more-Income-comparison.pdf

About the Author

Oliver F. Lehmann

Munich, Germany


Oliver F. Lehmann, MSc, ACE, PMP, is a project management educator, author, consultant, and speaker. In addition, he is the owner of the website Project Business Foundation, a non-profit initiative for professionals and organizations involved in cross-corporate project business.

He studied Linguistics, Literature, and History at the University of Stuttgart and Project Management at the University of Liverpool, UK, where he holds a Master of Science Degree (with Merit). Oliver has trained thousands of project managers in Europe, the USA, and Asia in methodological project management, focusing on certification preparation. In addition, he is a visiting lecturer at the Technical University of Munich.

He has been a member and volunteer at PMI, the Project Management Institute, since 1998 and served as the President of the PMI Southern Germany Chapter from 2013 to 2018. Between 2004 and 2006, he contributed to PMI’s PM Network magazine, for which he provided a monthly editorial on page 1 called “Launch,” analyzing troubled projects around the world.

Oliver believes in three driving forces for personal improvement in project management: formal learning, experience, and observations. He resides in Munich, Bavaria, Germany, and can be contacted at oliver@oliverlehmann.com.

Oliver Lehmann is the author of the books:

His previous articles and papers for PM World Journal can be found here: https://pmworldlibrary.net/authors/oliver-f-lehmann/