Surprising Stats on the Demand for Product Manager Roles in the US

Neal Iyer
Neal Iyer
Sep 17, 2019 · 4 min read
Excerpt from the ‘Product Management Hiring Trends in the US — 2019’ report

I recently conducted a study on Product Management hiring in the US. We’ve all heard hand-wavy statements about Product Management growing, so I was curious to know how much is it really growing and what’s actually responsible for the growth?

I looked at publicly available data from Indeed and LinkedIn, using the Wayback Machine and Google Search to answer these questions. What I found out was interesting, as well as surprising.

Product Management roles in the US have grown an astounding 32% over just a two year period, from August 2017 to June 2019.

What’s driving the growth in demand for Product Managers?

While a lot of conversation around Product Management seems to center around ‘Big Tech’ firms, most of the growth in the demand has come from firms outside the traditional boundaries of ‘tech.’ The top three factors driving increase in demand for Product Management professionals over the last two years have been:

  1. Strong growth in eCommerce roles, led by incumbents and the continued digital transformation of traditional brick and mortar retailers. Companies with substantial growth include Amazon, Wayfair, Walmart and Home Depot.
  2. Increase in financial sector roles led by banks and credit card companies with a push for new digital-first financial instruments. Notable examples include JP Morgan Chase, Capital One, Bank of America, Visa, and MasterCard.
  3. Moves towards developing product practices by top services firms in the management consulting and financial advisory space. Think top four audit and top management consulting firms.

A micro-trend that is small right now but could become significant in the future is the rise of PM roles for ‘Abuse’ and ‘Privacy’ functions especially with products that attract a substantial amount of user-generated content.

How does growth in Product Management hiring compare to other job roles?

This unprecedented rate of growth has seen Product Management outpace the average rise in demand for other roles in the US by over five times. For example, the growth in demand for PMs has been substantially higher than that for Software Engineering roles.

On an absolute scale though, Software Engineering roles outnumber Product Management roles by a large margin. As of September 2019, there were 14 Software Engineering roles being hired for every PM job. Interestingly though, only one UX designer was being hired for every two Product Managers.

Dedicated UX designers for a product appear to still be a rarity. PMs at early-stage startups reported being expected to shoulder a substantial portion of UX responsibilities, while those at large companies reported sharing UX resources between products or having a centralized UX function across the business.

What else do we know about Product Management hiring in the US?

My research also extended to looking at top US cities for PM roles. Contrary to popular expectation, the San Francisco Bay Area and New York are not the cities with the most growth in PM opportunities over the last two years.

I also examined the number of hires made over the last two years for all PM positions, including entry-level Associate Product Manager roles, all the way to executive positions like Senior Vice Presidents of Product Management and Chief Product Officers.

If you would like to know the top cities for PMs as well as hiring patterns and career paths, please let me know in the comments’ section on this LinkedIn post and I’ll message or email you the full 17-page report.

Know somebody that could benefit from this information? Please feel free to share this article with them.

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Neal Iyer

Written by

Neal Iyer

Summer Product Manager at Proofpoint | Product at Class Central | CMU | IIT Bombay

Product Management Insider

The exclusive data and insights that enable 15,000+ product managers to win. Subscribe via email at productmanagementinsider.com. We are powered by Alpha.

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