CMAs earning over 55% more than non-CMAs

Certified Management Accountants earn 57 percent more in median salary and 55 percent more in median total compensation than non-CMAs, according to a new global salary survey by the Institute of Management Accountants, which administers the certification.

The differences were even starker on last year's survey, though, when CMAs earned 62 percent more in median salary and 67 percent more in median total compensation than non-CMAs, according to the IMA (see Management accountants seeing pay raises).

The latest survey found that young accountants especially see more benefits from becoming certified, with CMAs in their 20s earning 70 percent more in total compensation than their peers who do not have the CMA and those in their 30s earning 67 percent more. U.S. respondents with the CMA certification reported having a 31 percent higher median total compensation than those who lack the certification.

Earning the CMA improves more than just salary for financial professionals in the U.S. Eighty-three percent of CMAs agree their certification creates career opportunities, while 76 percent said it strengthens their ability to move across all areas of the business.

The IMA surveyed more than 5,200 respondents for its annual survey. It found that 75 percent of the survey respondents who are currently pursuing a CMA certification cited “career advancement” as the primary reason.

CMA salary vs. non-CMAs

In addition, 72 percent of the respondents indicated that the CMA strengthens their job security in the digital age, and 78 percent said the CMA strengthens their ability to move across all areas of the business. More than 76 percent of the respondents said the CMA gives them additional career opportunities. Meanwhile, 85 percent of non-CMA respondents said they intend to earn the certification in the near future.

“The CMA has long provided a way for individuals to hone their management accounting skill set to create value for their organizations, which in turn enables greater career and earning potential," said IMA director of research Kip Krumwiede in a statement. “We’re particularly encouraged this year to see CMAs feel the credential is strengthening their job security, especially as the digital age of AI and machine learning is beginning to have an impact in finance."

Respondents in the U.S. described themselves as being more satisfied with their jobs, reporting a 76 percent satisfaction rate. Women tended to be more satisfied than men with their jobs but are less satisfied with their salaries due to a persistent, but shrinking, wage gap in the U,S,.

On a global basis, there's a different story. In the past year, the global gender pay gap in both median salary and total compensation became virtually nonexistent, according to survey respondents. That’s an improvement from last year when women earned 90 percent of men's median salary and total compensation globally. The gap for respondents in their 20s improved markedly this past year, with women's median base salary exceeding their male counterparts by 25 percent.

"After years of slowly shrinking the gender wage gap, we're happy to see the overall improvement in the global 20-to-29 age group," said Krumwiede. "Of course, this global report combines many different countries with very different gender pay gaps. We must be careful not to celebrate the end of the pay gap. The demographics of the respondents have much to do with the median results. But the most recent year is a good indicator of women's continued upward mobility in the workplace. This marks the third year in a row we have seen the global gender wage gap shrink.”

Europe, Asia, the Middle East and Africa showed little to no overall salary gap for at least one age group, while the U.S. had noticeable gaps across all age groups. The biggest gap for U.S. women was found in the 50-and-older age group, where they earned 81 percent of their male counterparts' pay.

However, the overall percentage of respondents holding the CMA certification has dropped to 37 percent in 2018, a 19 percent decrease compared to 2017. The IMA said the result may be due to the younger pool of respondents this year. The U.S. has the highest percentage holding the certification (50 percent), while the Middle East/Africa region has the lowest (26 percent). The Middle East/Africa region also had the largest decrease (23 percent) in CMA respondents.

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