The Institute of Management Accountants has released its annual salary survey, indicating that Certified Management Accountants generally earn more than those without the certification.

The results are not surprising. The IMA found that globally, the median base salary is 45 percent higher, and total compensation is 50 percent higher, for CMAs compared to non-CMAs.

IMA Salary Survey

CMAs of all ages earn more than non-CMAs, according to the IMA, which provides the CMA credential. CMAs aged 30 to 39 earn a median salary 49 to 50 percent bigger than non-CMA in the same age range. CMAs believe their certification leads to career opportunities and improves their ability to move across business areas.

CMAs in their 20s earn a 50 percent higher base salary, plus 50 to 61 percent more in total compensation compared to non-certified accountants in their 20s.

“Accountants who earn the CMA certification early in their career are reaping the benefits,” said IMA director of research Kip Krumwiede, who compiled the survey. “These results suggest that many individuals who have earned the CMA are being rewarded for their effort and dedication to professional development.”

The survey is based on responses from more than 2,500 respondents in 81 countries. U.S. respondents with CMA certification earned 28 percent higher median total compensation than those without any certification, according to the IMA poll. The percentage increased to 46 percent when accountants had both CMA and CPA certifications.

Over 70 percent of the poll respondents said they received a pay raise within the past year, and 76 percent expressed confidence in receiving a pay boost in the year ahead. Along with compensation, the survey also found work-life balance to be a critical factor for management accountants. Seventy-three percent of the survey respondents across all regions ranked work-life balance as the second most vital factor in job satisfaction.

There has been some progress in narrowing the pay gap between male and female management accountants. In the past year, the median gender pay gap narrowed for IMA members in their 20s. The Mid-Atlantic and Plains states had the smallest pay gaps for women, at 4 to 8 percent. Young female IMA members had 98 percent of men’s median base salary and 93 percent of men’s total compensation.

“Each year we hope to see some improvement in the pay gap between men and women,” Krumwiede said in a statement. “The gap remains pretty small for those members in their 20s, but it continues to be about 20 percent after that. We did find that women in top and senior management positions average about a year less experience in the field and with their employer than their male counterparts.”

Michael Cohn

Michael Cohn, editor-in-chief of, has been covering business and technology for a variety of publications since 1985.