People often ask: What salary can I expect as a Scrum Master? Although the answer to this question depends on many different variables, we can try to roughly estimate it based on the available statistical data. We'll focus on the following factors:
- Company size
- Years of experience
First let's take a look at how much Scrum Masters can expect to earn in different countries. But the important thing to keep in mind is that the wages in different parts of the world can't be compared directly; we need to account for the local cost of living as well.
As you'll see below, a Scrum Master in India will earn 5 times less than in the United States. But the cost of living in India is 1/3 of that in the United States. In Australia Scrum Masters earn more than in the United States, but their cost of living is proportionally higher.
So what we're really interested in is the purchasing power provided by your salary. Unless you travel and spend your money abroad, the important thing is the quality of life your salary will provide at the location where you live.
(The cost of living in this table is compared to the average in the U.S.A.)
|Scrum Master Salary(2)||Cost of Living(3)|
There are a few interesting points we can draw from this data:
1. Notice that there is a large gap between the salaries in Australia and the United States vs. the rest of the countries on the list.
2. Scrum Masters in the countries like the U.K. or Sweden have to pay more for their goods while they earn only 60% of their U.S. counterparts.
3. In South Africa, the Scrum Master's purchasing power will be virtually identical to the U.S.
4. Poland fares the worst in our comparison, with the salary average nearly identical to India but higher living expenses.
Now let's see how the salaries vary in different cities. We'll analyze a number of cities in the U.S.A. but for the most part you'll find similar differences between cities in other countries as well. (Keep in mind the cost of living that we talked about: the important thing is the purchasing power of your salary.)
|City||Average Scrum Master Salary(1)||Relative to National Average|
|San Francisco, CA||$128,000||+26%|
|New York, NY||$109,000||+8%|
|Los Angeles, CA||$104,000||+3%|
The industry you work in will also influence your salary. Some industries are simply richer and more profitable than others and they're able to pay their employees more. So a pharmaceutical company will most likely pay their Scrum Masters more than a travel agency.
Another thing to consider is the part you'll be playing in the company's revenue model.
The revenue of a company that creates and sells software products will be directly dependent on the efforts of the Scrum Team. In this case a good Scrum Master will be a valuable key player and will be paid accordingly.
On the other hand, if the company's main business is creating and selling beauty products, a Scrum Team that maintains that company's website will be a small part of a much larger machine and will probably not be valued as much. This in turn will be reflected in their salaries.
We divided the industries into three groups. (We use the statistical data from the U.S.A. where the average nation-wide Scrum Master salary is about $100,000/year.)
Company Sizes / Years of Experience
Although this is not always the case, the smaller, local companies will most likely have smaller budgets and will pay their workers less than larger corporations.
Also, as a rule, a beginner Scrum Master will get paid less than an experienced Scrum Master. But there are a couple of caveats here.
First, the Scrum Master's job is highly dependent on his or her grasp of soft skills, leadership, and management. This comes more naturally to some people than others so it's possible that those with less on-the-job experience will excel and outshine their colleagues, who are not as gifted in the area of human interactions.
Another thing to consider is the Scrum Master's career path. Again, because the job requires leadership and management skills, a successful Scrum Master has a good chance of advancing further on the corporate ladder. This is one of the reasons why we don't see many Scrum Masters who have been on the job for more than 10 years straight.
Let's break it down by company size and years of experience (statistical data from the U.S.A.):
|0-1 year||1 – 3 years||4 – 6 years||> 6 years|
|Small Companies (0-50)||$58,000||$70,000||$88,000||$100,000|
|Medium Companies (51-5000)||$62,000||$76,000||$94,000||$111,000|
|Large Companies (>5001)||$64,000||$77,000||$96,000||$129,000|
There are of course other factors that will influence your salary:
- the current needs of the company,
- the time of year you apply for the job,
- your previous experiences,
- your fit for the position,
- your personal charm,
- how well you do at your interview,
But all those issues are more subjective and dependent on your individual situation, so in our statistical data above we focuesd on the more objective criteria.
In conclusion, you will earn most if you:
- Work for a medium or large corporation.
- Have more than 3 years of experience.
- Work for an industry listed in group A or B.
- Live in Australia, the U.S., or South Africa.
When we collected the data for this article, we also noticed the following:
- For the most part, women Scrum Masters enjoy an equal wage opportunity.
- Since there are no Scrum Master university courses, the extent of higher education does not directly translate to better salaries. In other words, higher eduction will not be as much of an asset as it might be in other professions.
- A recognized Scrum Master certification might have a bearing on the hiring process and the salary.
All things considered, a Scrum Master seems like a good career choice: the learning curve is relatively low and the salaries are above average.
How Much Can You Earn?
How good are you at your job? Do you think you can qualify for a higher salary based on your knowledge of Scrum?
Test your knowledge of Scrum now by using our free demo of the Certification Practice Exam! If you'll looking for Scrum Master training materials, don't forget to check out our video training course!