Ever wonder what the average CMA salary is?
According to the Association of Accountants and Financial Professionals in Business, the base median salary in the U.S. for 2018 was $94,000. Including bonuses and compensations, the average net income for a CMA employee received is $102,000.
If you’re interested in furthering your career in finance and accounting then it’s completely understandable that you would want to know your earning potential, and whether it justifies the CMA exam cost.
If you live and work in the United States, I bet you wonder what your annual Certified Management Accountant salary could be.
Read on to learn all the details from the latest 2020 USA CMA Salary Survey.
Want to jump to a specific country? Click the links below!
IMA’s Certified Management Accountant Salary Survey
This year marks the fifth annual Certified Management Accountant salary survey provided by the Institute of Management Accountants (IMA). In addition to breaking down information by region, they also offer a global salary survey (check that out here!).
For the purposes of this post we will be talking about the USA specific data first, then covering several other major regions of the world for which data is available.
The IMA sent this survey to 22,453 IMA members located in the United States and received 1,638 usable responses.
Half of these usable respondents hold the CMA certification and it was found that they earn 31% more than those without the certification. Of the non-CMA respondents, 75% plan to pursue the CMA credential, showing just how influential others view this designation.
Similar to the previous 2 years, 2019 saw a decline in overall salary and compensation. Compared to 2018, the median base salary decreased by 6.8% and median total compensation decreased by 9.7%.
But let’s talk numbers…
CMA Salary Compensation in the USA
Last year the overall median base CMA salary in the USA was $94,000, and the overall median total compensation was $102,000, both of which represent decreases from the prior year ($100,850 and $113,000, respectively).
As of 2019, those numbers have dropped again slightly. This may be a result of the strained international relationships causing us to live in a period of uncertainty.
CMA vs CPA vs Non-Certified Professionals in the USA
It really pays to hold the CMA certification. It was found that respondents holding a CMA certification report a 31% higher median total compensation than those holding neither certification. Respondents holding only a CPA earn only 22% higher median total compensation than their non-certified peers.
While it’s incredibly clear that having some certification is better than none, respondents were asked how the certified management accountant certification impacted their career. We learned that 83% of those holding the CMA believe that their certification creates career opportunities, and that 76% feel it has strengthened their ability to move across all areas of the business.
So if you ever had any question over whether or not earning your CMA was worth it, the overwhelming majority believe it absolutely is worth your time!
CMA Salary by Industry
Your CMA Accounting salary is partly dependent upon the industry in which you work, but keep in mind that the following numbers are not represented equally.
CMAs with the highest median base salary were found in the manufacturing industry and made $100,000. Their median total compensation was $112,500. From the data collected it appears that these individuals receive more bonuses, profit sharing and/or overtime than other industries.
As found in other years, CMAs working in the agricultural industry tend to earn the lowest median base salary and total compensation, bring in $84,500 and $87,000 respectively.
To get a visual on what you could earn by industry, below is a graph of CMA salary in the USA for other industries:
CMA Salary in the USA by Region
In 2018, we saw a decrease in median base salary across all regions, however some states within the regions that experienced overall increases in compensation.
For example, in the Midwest region, Iowa experienced an increase in median base salary of 25% and an increase in median total compensation of 14%, and Missouri had increases of 22% and 14%, respectively.
To get a better idea of the kind of money you’d be earning as a full time CMA, let’s take a look at the average salary by region and state:
Additional Salary Compensation in the US
It is pretty common for full time workers to earn additional compensation via profit sharing, bonuses or overtime.
The overall average of additional compensation decreased significantly last year; by 33%, in fact.
In 2017, the average additional compensation was $26,597, but for 2018 it was only $17,933. Clearly employers are looking for ways to reduce overall costs and lower the chance for earning additional compensation.
Gender Pay Differences in the USA
I am happy to report that the gender pay gap globally is virtually non-existent. Unfortunately, there is still a notable salary gap between women and men in the United States.
Last year women earned 88% median base salary and 85% median total compensation to that of their male counterparts. This is less than the gender pay gap we saw in 2017 so at least we are on the right track.
Here’s a more in depth look at the gender pay differences as it relates to age:
The biggest take away from these numbers is that women tend to experience the largest pay gap when they are in higher management positions. These women earn a median base salary and total compensation that is only 74% of their male peers, which represents the largest pay gap by far.
It’s true that there have been some interesting and impactful changes to Certified Management Accountant salaries both globally and directly in the United States. With the current wave of political change, we are seeing overall declines in compensation, but that doesn’t mean earning your CMA is not worth it.
In fact, it is well worth it because job satisfaction is high, not to mention more and more CMAs feel it has given them he ability to move between industries with ease.
If you are looking for a career that will allow you to continue learning and grow across industries then the CMA is right for you. It sure was for me. The CMA designation completely changed my life.
Certified Management Accountant Salary in the Middle East
What’s most exciting about the Middle East region is the level of growth it has experienced over the past year.
In fact, certain countries in the Middle East have boomed so much in the CMA sphere, that the IMA had to take this into special account when conducting the latest salary survey.
That’s right, the number of CMA members in India has grown so much that using their responses would have skewed the results. To ensure you receive the most accurate data, IMA calculated figures based on the Middle East and India as separate entities.
Note: For the purpose of this post, when I refer to the Middle East it will not include India.
There has been a ton of growth in the Middle East over the past few years. In fact, the number of usable responses for this year’s salary survey has tripled since the 2017 survey results were published.
Perhaps what you might find most interesting is that while 22 countries make up the Middle East, over 90% (93.5% to be exact!) of the IMA salary survey respondents come from just 8 of them. The countries with the highest engagement include:
- United Arab Emirates (UAE)
- Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA)
Egypt, KSA and UAE, had the highest response rate of those regions with response rates of 26.4%, 23% and 20.3% respectively.
The majority of responses came from males with the average age of 33 years. Of this group, 99% of respondents held baccalaureate degrees, while only 23% earned an advanced degree.
Results from the certified management accountant salary survey showed that the majority of respondents held middle management positions and had been working in the field for nearly a decade.
CMA Salaries by Age and Gender
Analyzing salary by age range is always interesting to me. On one hand, it’s expected that the older you are, the more experience you likely have. In which case, it’s not too surprising that older age groups earn more than younger ones.
On the other hand, there tends to be a massive gap in compensation between the two oldest age ranges.
In the Middle East, those aged 40-49 years earn a mean base salary of $50,811 which is half of what those aged 50 and over earn; a whopping $101,193. What’s most interesting here is that these figures are completely opposite of the findings from 2017 where those aged 40-49 actually earned more than their 50+ year old peers.
In terms of gender disparities, we still see a pay gap, but it’s important to note it has been consistently decreasing over the years. Women of all ages in the Middle East now earn 94% of the average man’s mean salary.
More clearly put, the mean salary for women of all ages is $31,522 while the mean salary for men of all ages is $33,389.
CMA Salary vs Non CMA Compensation
If you were ever wondering if earning your CMA designation was worth it then read on because the next few numbers will blow your mind.
Individuals who did not have their CMA certification earned an average of $22,994 annually. Those with their CMA, however, earned 88% more, taking in $43,134 on average.
Obviously earning your CMA has its financial benefits, but respondents had even more good things to say about it.
“I was able to advance in my position in the company by earning the CMA. I have also been assigned additional responsibilities.” – 28 yr old senior financial analyst, Bahrain.
And they are not the only ones who feel that having your CMA opens more doors. In fact, 79% of salary survey respondents feel their certification helped create job opportunities and give them a leg ahead of the competition.
CMA Salary Survey Results in India
Though India was calculated separately, I wanted to touch base on some of the key findings for this region.
For starters, almost all respondents from India hold their baccalaureate degree and 63% have an advanced degree.
Perhaps the most glaring figure from these results is that despite having advanced education, the median total compensation in India was only $26,073.
This is only marginally higher than the rest of the Middle East and drastically lower than the global average ($19,000 and $45,000 respectively).
Now, if you are thinking of earning your CMA and live in India do not let the above stats discourage you. It turns out that CMAs in India earn 107% more on average than their non-CMA counterparts.
Certified Management Accountant Salary in China
China is one of the CMA’s fastest growing regions.
In fact, the number of CMA candidates has been steadily increasing over the years. By the end of 2017 alone, there was a record number of newly minted CMAs and candidates who had met the relevant CMA certification requirements – 10,000 and 25,000 respectively.
Keen to hear even more interesting statistics? Let’s break them down!
**Please note, all figures will be represented in U.S dollars to avoid confusion. This also happens to be the monetary unit data is collected in when submitting IMA survey results.
Average Certified Management Accountant Salary in China
Similar to all the other regions surveyed in 2017, the average base CMA salary decreased slightly.
The average base salary in 2018 was $30,258 in China. Uniquely, compensation varies by region in China. For example, the highest CMA earners in China live in Shanghai.
Gender Pay Differences in China
Just like all the other regions, China experiences a gender pay gap when it comes to certified management accountant salary.
Thankfully that pay gap is getting much tighter around the globe.
On average, women of all ages in China earn 74% of the salary as their male counterparts. The smallest gap is in the 20-29 year range, where women earn 97% of the mean salary. Women aged 50+ are a close second, earning 85% of the mean salary of their male peers.
It is encouraging to see that this gap is trending in the right direction, especially when you consider that the 2016 results showed women only earned 69% on average.
It is important to note that the latest salary survey found that most women in CMA roles held lower management positions.This more than likely contributes to the lower salary figures, and is something you may want to keep in mind if you are a female looking to become a CMA in China.
Compensation for CMAs vs Non-CMAs
This particular break down of the certified management accountant salary survey is my favorite.
Because it consistently shows why earning your CMA designation is worth your while, regardless of where you live in the world.
In China, individuals with the CMA designation earn 45% more in median salary than their non-CMA peers.
The mean base salary for CMAs in China is $34,056 while non-CMAs earn $28,243. The difference is even greater when you look at the total compensation earned by CMAs vs Non-CMAs. For example, CMA’s mean total compensation is $42,670, while non-CMA’s is only $35,791.
So what exactly does this salary difference mean?
Simply put, survey respondents find that having their CMA designation allows them to transition across all areas of business.
Not only that, but 76% of respondents felt confident in saying that they loved their job!
CMA Salary by Management Level
Since we’re on the topic of career advancement, I think it’s important to mention that while the average CMA in China earns just over $38k annually, you can surpass this figure.
Senior and top management CMA employees can earn upwards of $50,000 depending on their position. Whether you work in private or state owned enterprises will affect these numbers.
For example, privately owned enterprises earn significantly more than their state-owned counterparts. Private enterprises typically earn more than state-owned enterprises regardless of your management level.
As a CMA and entrepreneur myself, I can personally see the value in private owned enterprises. Not only does it allow you to be your own boss, but it also means you are the only one who can put a cap on your salary.
While it is definitely a lot of work being your own boss, the rewards – both mentally and financially – are without a doubt, incentive enough.
Certified Management Accountant Salary in KSA
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has seen a growth in Certified Management Accountants, which is clearly why the IMA chose to highlight it in its own report.
Median CMA Compensation in KSA
As we have seen in most continents apart from North America, is the somewhat low median salary. Of course, this is in comparison to the high salary earned by North Americans, which appears to be in a league of its own.
The median total CMA salary in the KSA for all ages is $25,589. While this doesn’t seem like much, the average CMA earns more in KSA than in the Middle East/Africa (MEA) region. In fact, the median total compensation in the MEA is only $19,000.
Gender Pay Differences
Unfortunately, there were too few female respondents to make a meaningful comparison. Sadly, only 14% of all respondents were female.
In this case, I would refer you to the global certified management accountant salary survey gender pay differences, but keep in mind that drawing quick conclusions based off limited respondents may not be the best route. Instead, I urge you to keep an open mind and if you live in this region, do your own local research before making a decision.
CMA vs Non-CMA Compensation
As we have seen in most regions, the salary earned by a CMA vs Non CMA is significant and the KSA is no different.
In 2018, CMAs located in KSA earned a median base salary that is 117% higher than their non-certified peers and a median total compensation that is 112% higher. There are several factors that may attribute to this gap, including ambition, discipline and advanced degrees, but it is still encouraging.
Compensation by Management Level
I love seeing how management level affects compensation. Why?
Because more often than not, you see this weird occurrence where entry level positions earn more than middle management. Just like many other regions, the median salary and median total compensation for an entry level CMA is higher than middle management.
On average, entry level managers earn a total salary of $36,479, while middle management earns only $29,309.
Once you make the leap from middle management to Senior or Top management you do see an increase though.
The most likely reason for this anomaly is due to the changing demographics for respondents in top management.
One more interesting fact is that all levels of management work nearly the same average of hours per week. In other regions this is not the case and instead, you see upper management working several more hours per week.
Perhaps one of the biggest things I want you to walk away from here is the overall job satisfaction experienced by CMAs in KSA.
This survey found that 77.5% of respondents loved their job. This is actually a 17% increase from overall job satisfaction reported in 2017.
So why the increase?
Simply put, the total compensation (though small compared to North America), reasonable hours worked by management and the CMAs ability to create new career opportunities led to this level of satisfaction.
Certified Management Accountant Salary in UAE
In 2018, nearly 3000 IMA members were given survey invitations in the United Arab Emirates. Of those recipients, 10.4% responded and were considered valid for the purposes for this survey. While this may seem like a rather limited pool to draw from, this represents a 246% increase from those surveyed in 2017.
For starters, the median total salary for a CMA in the UAE was $42,150. This is quite a bit more than those in the MEA who earned a median total salary of only $19,000.
Unlike CMAs in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, CMAs in UAE are not too different from the global median base salary and total compensation.
Overall, respondents in the UAE earn 90% of their median total compensation as base salary and this is consistent across all age groups, except for those ages 50 and older.
Those in the highest age bracket earn 98% of median total compensation in the form of base salary, which suggests that there is limited opportunity (or incentive!) to earn additional compensation for those 50+ years old.
Gender Pay Differences
In the UAE, women represent 27% of the respondents, which is higher than the MEA region overall which only had 14% women respondents; the smallest representation of women globally.
While women may not represent a large percentage, we can see from their salary that female CMAs in the MEA are valued.
Unfortunately, in the UAE specifically, women only earn 66% of the compensation that their male counterparts do, and this gap is represented across all age ranges.
CMAs vs Non CMAs in UAE
Like all other regions, CMAs in the UAE earn more than their non-CMA counterparts. In fact, CMAs in UAE earn 54% and 57% higher median salary and median total compensation than those who are not certified.
Of the respondents, it was found that those holding their CMA certification strongly felt that this designation had a positive impact on their salary.
Compensation by Management Level
When it comes to compensation by management level in the UAE, it is what you would expect. Entry or lower level manager earns less than middle and upper management.
And rightly so.
Experience and education should have an impact on your salary, and taking on more responsibility ought to come with financial perks. On average, those in senior management positions earn 37% more than their middle management peers.
Certainly gives you something to work towards, doesn’t it!
Global Certified Management Accountant Salary
I think it’s pretty obvious by now that the CMA is a career differentiator in more ways than one.
For starters, it allows you to stand out amongst your CPA peers thanks to your specialized knowledge of management accounting.
And while we’ve broken down a few key regions, let’s take a look at a Certified Management Accountants salary from a global perspective.
A Global Perspective of a CMAs Salary
In the 2019 survey, 78 countries around the globe participated in the IMA Salary Survey by sharing their CMA salary, education and certification details, job satisfaction and several other factors.
In fact, 5,208 members responded. This is over double the amount of usable survey results as compared to 2018. In fact, last year 50% of the respondents came from U.S, while this year only 31.4% did. In 2018, 22.8% of respondents came from China, while this year that number has grown to 30%. These changes in respondent demographics can impact some of the year-to-year comparisons, which I will touch base on later.
2019 marked the fifth annual global survey and is a particularly interesting one as we appear to be entering some turbulent times. As author Shannon Charles put it “increased tariffs, looming trade wars, and strained international relations” will all impact the future of global certified management accountant salaries.
She did go on to mention that the IMA is concerned about how this will impact future Certified Management Accountant salary, and has taken the time to identify trends that may affect it. So let’s dive in.
CMA Salary vs Non-CMA Compensation
Another interesting pay gap I like to discuss is the one between CMA’s and their Non-CMA peers.
If you ever wondered if taking the test on one of the upcoming CMA exam dates and earning your certification was worth it then you are going to want to keep reading.
Because it absolutely is!
It literally pays to add the CMA designation to your resume. In 2018 CMA’s earned 62% more in median salary and 67% more in median total compensation than their non-CMA counterparts, but this has further increased.
Now CMAs earn 117% more in median salary and 118% more in median total compensation than their non-certified peers.
This is a massive increase and further proves the importance of earning your CMA certification.
Obviously there are several contributing factors that may lead to this difference salary difference.
For starters, CMA’s are often older than non-CMA’s. They also tend to have more experience in the field and already holding higher management level positions.
Don’t let these details discourage you though. Entry level CMA’s still earn much more than entry level non-CMA employees. The median total compensation for an entry level CMA is $50,000 while a non CMA’s salary is only $20,570.
If you look at the pay variance between Senior level management of CMAs versus Non-CMAs it is quite drastic as well. For example, senior management CMAs earn $90,000 in total compensation annually, while non-CMAs earn just over half of that with $47,000.
Even at the highest level of management, non-CMAs earn around the same as a middle-management certified management accountant. The following chart is incredibly illuminating. Have a look:
CMA vs CPA Salary
I have had many individuals who are CPAs ask me if adding the CMA designation is worth it. In this years CMA Salary survey, there were some interesting findings.
For starters, it was found that CMAs earn 31% higher median total compensation, while individuals with just their CPA earn 22% higher median total compensation than their non-certified peers.
Accountants who have both the CMA and CPA designations earn 50% higher median total compensation.
It is clear from these results that earning your CMA and CPA validate different skill sets and that each certification is being valued for having a unique range of knowledge and skills.
While I can’t speak highly enough of earning your CMA, 78% of respondents across all regions have found that earning the certified management accountant certification has strengthened their ability to move across all areas of business and 72% believe this has strengthened their job security.
Additionally, 76% of all respondents believe that having their CMA has provided them with career opportunities not otherwise available to them. In a world where automation is rapidly replacing human workers, this is a big deal.
So if you ever had any doubts about working towards your CMA designation I hope this information helps.
I, personally, feel like the CMA has been a game changer for my career and believe it can be for you as well!
Interested in learning how to become a CMA and turn your dreams into a reality?
Learn how CMA Exam Academy’s CMA review course can help you further your earning potential and begin a fulfilling career in finance and accounting!
As always, thanks for reading.