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The results: How much is a scrum master worth?

About a month ago we posed a question via our blog: “How much is a scrum master worth?”. Below are the results, our interpretation and of course, the raw data for you to scrutinize 🙂


Why is this question so difficult to answer?

We think there are two main contributors that make this a difficult question to answer. The first is that many people transition into this role and therefore their current salary is taken through to the role. And secondly, fresh graduates can move into the role and be mentored, over time, from junior to intermediate to senior.

In order to acknowledge this we included the question – Number of years in IT. You be the judge of it this mattered.

Scrum has been in South Africa since about 2007, and the first CSM was in early 2008 (I am basing this on memory – so could be wrong!).  That gives us the maximum number of years someone could have as a scrum master as 6.

Enough already – get to the meaty bits!

How many people took the survey? 19

You can get the Raw Data here, and draw your own conclusions.

Level by years as a scrum master:

Level by years in IT:

Salary by level:

Salary by years as a scrum master:

The first thing we noticed above is – wow the data is ALL over the place! Then we got a bit more analytical…

  • We noticed that years as a scrum master is NOT equivalent to experience as a scrum master.
  • People tend to move from Junior to Intermediate quickly – within a year.
  • Most Senior people have 3+ years experience as a scrum master and 10+ yrs experience in IT.
  • The Intermediate level is a problem area. Some people seem to get stuck here and salaries appear capped at around R45000 per month.

Our conclusion based on all this:

We gave very specific points to help classify yourself as a junior, intermediate or senior – and none of these was time based.
So we think salary is determined more by how you value yourself than years as a scrum master.
If you are an influential (senior by our definition) scrum master, coaching others in your organisation then your perceived value to the organisation is higher, and thus you are paid more.
To grow as a scrum master and to grow your salary you need to coach others outside your team.

Based on all of this … what are the salary brackets we recommend?

If you are a fairly fresh graduate then as an entry level salary we recommend R10K – R25K. You need the right temperament and attitude for this role above all else.
If you are transitioning from another role then your salary should remain as is (but should be at least the entry level above!)
For less than 2 years experience as a scrum master R25K – R35K
For more than 2 years experience as a scrum master R35K – R45K
To work effectively at this level, you need a lot of hands on knowledge of the IT world and of experience in working with different people. All the seniors in the survey had a minimum of 10 years experience in IT. Thus the number of years mentioned below would not be for a graduate with 3 years experience as a scrum master. This is a person who is knowledgable about various frameworks in IT and has practical experience and not just “learned from a book” knowledge.
For around 3 years experience as a Scrum Master R45K – R55K
For over 3 years experience as a Scrum Master R55K +

What are your thoughts?

We are keen to hear from others any conclusions they can draw from the data. Post a comment.
We didn’t get as much feedback as we would have liked – the more data you have the better. Because of this – we will be leaving the survey up – and checking periodically if we have new trends. Please get your fellow scrum masters to participate!

13 thoughts on “The results: How much is a scrum master worth?”

  1. Very informative, thank you. Would you consider doing a similar survey for Product Owners?

  2. Pingback: How much is a Scrum Master worth? | Growing Agile

  3. What cities/areas is this payscale? I’m an American looking to move to SA for a few years. I need to make sure I’m going to have comparable ‘savings’ to buy a home when I return to USA…

    Thanks and great article!

  4. Hi,
    I am a certified PMI-ACP who loves his profession and really buys into the values and benefits of Agile.
    I have been managing customised software projects as a Scrum master for four years as at December 2016 in Cape Town, South Africa.
    I was formally educated in project management, having acquired a B-Tech in project management and was fortunate enough to transition into my present Scrum master role.
    I don’t have any coding training or experience but with the help of the talented teams that I have worked with, we managed to successfully deliver our projects.
    However, given this track record I have been unable to find a new job as a Scrum Master that is willing to pay more than 500k per annum for a permanenet position.
    In fact, I was told by a number of recruiters that despite the fact that I am certified as an experienced Agile practitioner, I am to expect to be paid at least 35-40% less than a Scrum master with development certification and experience.
    It is my opinion that industry is looking for technical leads that can facilitate Scrum. Based on my experience I would advise any aspiring Scrum masters to first acquire a formal qualification or certification as a developer, preferably in the DevOps, Continuous delivery space, before considering a career in Agile project management.
    Recent engagements with potential employers has lead me to believe that no matter how good you are as an Agile practitioner/ Scrum master / Project manager, you are expected by employers to provide both project leadership and technical/solution support.
    My 2c on the topic

    1. Hi Zane. We see this trend of requiring Scrum Masters to have dev experience as well, and we think it usually comes from places that don’t actually understand the Scrum Master role. The see it like a project manager and team lead rolled into one, which it is not at all. We continuously try to change this perception, but we still have a long way to go unfortunately 🙁

    1. Hi Dee, the best advice is to start networking by going to local Agile and Scrum meetup groups and to read widely. If you are completely new to the working world, the best idea is to see if you can find a company willing to offer you an internship as a Scrum Master where you can be mentored by someone more senior to learn. If you are looking to switch careers it’s often possible to offer to take on some Scrum Master duties (like facilitating a retrospective) while you are doing another job to help you learn.

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