Ever wonder what the average Certified Management Accountant salary is?
According to the Association of Accountants and Financial Professionals in Business, the highest-paid CMAs in the Americas make upwards of $170,000 annually. The base median certified management accountant salary in the Americas for 2021 was $110,000. Including bonuses and compensations, the average net income for a CMA employee received is $124,000.
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.
Read on to learn all the details from the 2021 Global CMA Salary Survey including specific details from the USA, Middle East, India, China, KSA, UAE, and Europe.
Originally published in 2019, this article was updated and republished on December 14, 2022.
Want to jump to a specific country? Click the links to a section of the CMA Salary Survey below!
- United States of America
- Middle East
- Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
- United Arab Emirates
Global CMA 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 this article will break down a few key regions, let’s take a look at a Certified Management Accountant’s salary from a global perspective first.
A Global Perspective of a CMA’s Salary
In the 2021 survey, 79 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, 3,313 members responded. In 2019, 31.4% of the respondents came from the U.S., while this year 39.2% did. In 2019, 53% of respondents we CMAs, while this year that number has grown to 62%. These changes in respondent demographics can impact some of the year-to-year comparisons, which I will touch base on later.
2021 marked the seventh annual global survey and is a particularly interesting one as we have begun to emerge from some turbulent times. As author Shannon Charles put it: “Businesses everywhere faced unprecedented challenges.” These challenges 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 salaries, and has taken the time to identify trends that may affect it. So let’s dive in.
CMA Global Salary vs Non-CMA Compensation
One 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 56% more in median salary and 58% 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 salary difference.
For starters, CMAs are often older than non-CMAs. They also tend to have more experience in the field and already hold higher management-level positions.
Don’t let these details discourage you though. Entry-level CMAs still earn much more than entry-level non-CMA employees.
Regardless of region, non-CMAs out-earn their non-CMA peers. The following chart is incredibly illuminating. Have a look:
Global Salary and Compensation by Region, CMA vs. Non-CMA
Global CMA vs CPA Salary
I have had many individuals who are CPAs ask me if adding the CMA designation is worth it. In the previous year’s CMA Salary survey, there were some interesting findings.
For starters, previous surveys have 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, 71% of respondents across all regions have found that earning the certified management accountant certification provided them with skills to land a job they love.
Certified Management Accountant U.S. Salary
Now that we’ve addressed the global trends, let’s move on to specific regions.
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 over 20,000 IMA members located in the United States and received 1,300 usable responses.
66% of these usable respondents hold the CMA certification and it was found that they earn 30% more than those without the certification. Past surveys have found that of the non-CMA respondents, 75% plan to pursue the CMA credential, showing just how influential others view this designation.
The overall median base salary and median total compensation increased in 2021, despite the extraordinary events of 2020.
But let’s talk numbers…
If you live and work in the United States, I bet you wonder what your annual salary could be in CMA accounting.
Here are the figures for CMAs in the USA.
Management Level CMA
Median Base Salary US
Top Level CMA
Lower Level CMA
All Levels of CMAs
How Much Does a CMA Accountant Make in the USA?
Overall salary and compensation in the U.S. have continued to increase.
The median base salary for 2019 was $100,000, a 6.4% increase over 2018. The median total compensation in the latest survey increased to $105,000 while the median total income was $118,000.
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 30% higher median total compensation than those holding neither certification.
Average Accountant Salary by Age and Qualifications in the USA
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 87% of those holding the CMA believe that their certification improved their confidence in their ability to perform in their positions. Meanwhile, 64% feel it has benefitted their salary.
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 in the USA
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 agriculture industry and made $122,003. Their median total compensation was $142,003.
CMAs working in public accounting tend to earn the lowest median base salary and total compensation, bringing in $86,000 and $97,150 respectively.
To get a visual on what you could earn by industry, below is a table of CMA salary in the USA for other industries:
Average CMA Salary in the USA by Industry
CMA Salary in the USA by Region
In 2018, we saw a decrease in median base salary across all regions, however, the figures have been trending upwards since.
For example, all but the Plains region experienced an increase in median base salary. The biggest increase was in the Mountain region, where professionals experienced a total compensation increase of 12%. The lowest increase in median total compensation was in the Northeast region.
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:
Average USA CMA Salary by State & Region
USA State & Region
West Coast Region
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 86% median base salary and 84% median total compensation to that of their male counterparts. This is a decrease from last year’s findings.
Here’s a more in-depth look at the gender pay differences as it relates to age:
Compensation in the USA by Gender and Age
The biggest takeaway from these numbers is that women tend to experience the largest pay gap when they are in higher management positions. These women’s median base salary and total compensation is only 79% of that of their male peers, which represents the largest pay gap by far.
Compensation by Gender and Management Level
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 some 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 the certification has given them the 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 recent years.
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.
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 70% (74.7% 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)
The majority of responses came from males with an average age of 36 years. Of this group,100% of respondents held baccalaureate degrees, while only 41% 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 in the Middle East by Age and Gender
Analyzing salaries 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 this 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, this trend doesn’t appear as prevalent. Those aged 40-49 years earn a mean base salary of $78,551 and those aged 50 and over earn $86,198. What’s most interesting here is that these figures are completely opposite of the findings from last year where those aged 40-49 earned nearly half of their 50+-year-old peers.
Compensation by Age in the Middle East
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 76% of the average man’s mean salary.
More clearly put, the mean salary for women of all ages is $51,478 while the mean salary for men of all ages is $67,507.
Compensation by Gender and Age in the Middle East
CMA Salary vs Non-CMA Compensation in the Middle East
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 base salary of $29,202 annually. Those with their CMA, however, earned 68% more, taking in $49,000 on average. The gap widens further to 103% when you factor in additional compensation, suggesting that CMAs are offered more incentives and bonuses for their work.
Compensation in the Middle East by CMA Designation
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, 83% of salary survey respondents feel their certification helped create job opportunities and give them a leg ahead of the competition.
If you’re wondering how to negotiate a salary raise in your accounting position, the CMA designation is enormous leverage that proves both your abilities and readiness to grow.
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 60% 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 $16,300.
This is only marginally higher than the rest of the Middle East and drastically lower than the global average ($27,700 and $67,500 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 53% 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. This year’s survey respondents increased by 19%.
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 previous years, the average base CMA salary decreased slightly.
The average base salary in 2018 was $30,258 in China, and in 2020 it was $28,978. 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 70% of the salary as their male counterparts. The smallest gap is in the 30-39 year range, where women earn 77% of the mean salary. Women aged 40-49 are a close second, earning 72% of the mean salary of their male peers.
It is encouraging to see that this gap is trending in the right direction overall, 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 by Gender and Age in China
Compensation for CMAs vs Non-CMAs in China
This particular breakdown of the certified management accountant salary survey is my favorite.
Why? Because it consistently shows why earning your CMA designation is worth your while, regardless of where you live in the world.
The mean base salary for CMAs in China is $31,180 while non-CMAs earn $26,484. The difference is even greater when you look at the total compensation earned by CMAs vs Non-CMAs. For example, CMAs mean total compensation is $38,283, while non-CMAs is only $33,309.
Compensation by CMA Designation in China
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 89% of respondents felt more confident in their ability to perform at their job!
CMA Salary in China 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.
Compensation by Management Level in China
As a CMA and entrepreneur myself, I can personally see the value in privately 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 the 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 the KSA
Compensation by CMA Designation in the 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 compensation in the KSA for all ages is $53,200. While this doesn’t seem like much, the average CMA earns more in KSA than in the Middle East/Africa (MEA) region.
Gender Pay Differences in the KSA
Unfortunately, there were too few female respondents to make a meaningful comparison. Only 20% 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 on 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 in the KSA
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 the most recent survey, CMAs located in KSA earned a median base salary that is 106% higher than their non-certified peers and a median total compensation that is 93% higher. There are several factors that may attribute to this gap, including ambition, discipline, and advanced degrees, but it is still encouraging.
Compensation in the KSA by Designation
Compensation by Management Level in the KSA
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 are high.
On average, entry-level managers earn a base salary of $42,060, while middle management earns only $42,064.
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 of respondents in top management.
Compensation by Management Level in the KSA
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.
Hours Worked Per Week by Management Level in KSA
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 69% of respondents loved their job. And what’s more: CMAs reported their compensation as competitive significantly more than non-CMAs.
Certified Management Accountant Salary in UAE
This year, 1,823 IMA members were given survey invitations in the United Arab Emirates. Of those recipients, 6.5% responded and were considered valid for the purposes of this survey. While this may seem like a rather limited pool to draw from, this represents an increase from those surveyed in previous years.
For starters, the median total salary for a CMA in the UAE was $36,000. This is quite a bit more than those in the Middle East and Africa who earned a median total salary of only $27,000.
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 with a CMA earn 103% more than those without.
Compensation in the UAE by Age Range
Gender Pay Differences in the UAE
In the UAE, women represent 34% of the respondents, which is lower than the global average of 44% but higher than MEAI, which only had 20% 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 76% of the compensation that their male counterparts do, and this gap is represented across all age ranges.
Compensation by Gender and Age in the UAE
CMAs vs Non-CMAs in the UAE
Like all other regions, CMAs in the UAE earn more than their non-CMA counterparts. In fact, CMAs in UAE earn 63% and 65% 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 CMA Designation in the UAE
Compensation by Management Level in the UAE
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 23% more than their middle management peers.
Certainly gives you something to work towards, doesn’t it?
Compensation by Management Level in the UAE
Certified Management Accounting Salary in Europe
There are 10 chapters of the IMA in Europe. This means that residents of countries from the UK and Switzerland to Russia and Kazakhstan can enjoy the benefits of this prestigious career path. While salary numbers vary, there’s no doubt that citizens of European countries can make good money in this field.
In 2020, the overall percentage of survey respondents who held a CMA certificate in Europe increased to 65%. As the popularity of this professional certification grows, high salaries hold steady.
Average Certified Management Accountant Salary in Europe
According to the IMA, the average base salary for a CMA in Europe is $92,443. If you add in bonuses, overtime, and additional forms of compensation, Europeans make a mean salary of $104,678 as CMAs.
Gender Pay Differences in Europe
In Europe, female CMAs still make less than their male counterparts. In previous surveys, women in the 20-29 age bracket made less than 90% than men and that percentage decreases even more with age. However, year on year numbers do show promising improvements to close that gap.
Compensation for CMAs vs Non-CMAs
Some of the best numbers to showcase the value of this credential is the salary comparisons between people who hold it and people who do not. In Europe, those numbers are compelling. In a previous survey, the total compensation for a CMA in Europe averaged out at $84,000 a year. For non-CMAs, that same number was only $60,000. There is a 140% pay gap between people who have CMAs versus people who have other careers. Those numbers speak for themselves.
CMA Salary by Management Level
Getting your CMA certification is the first step. From there, you have massive potential for growth in markets around the world. A previous survey found that the majority of CMAs go on to hold senior management positions. 57% of IMA survey respondents in Europe reported an average 10% annual raise. As you move up, you’ll make even more.
56% of Europeans in this industry agree their compensation is competitive. 70% of European respondents loved their job. At the end of the day, that’s really the heart of the matter.
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.
Hi, I’m Nathan Liao (aka the CMA Coach)! For the last 10 years, over 82,000 accounting and finance pros came knocking at my door seeking guidance and help. If you’re also aiming to conquer the CMA exam on your very first try—without wasting away time or money—you’ve found your ultimate guide. Dive in deeper to discover more about me and the dedicated team that powers CMA Exam Academy. Click here and let’s embark on this journey together!