By Diane Domeyer, Executive Director, The Creative Group, a specialized staffing service placing interactive, design, marketing, advertising and public relations professionals with a variety of firms.
As a design professional, you know all too well the importance of keeping your creative skills razor sharp and staying ahead of color, typography and user experience preferences. But are you also plugged into hiring and compensation trends?
The Creative Group 2018 Salary Guide is packed with data that can help you boost your career, including salary ranges and hiring trends for the coming year. Whether you’re looking for a new job, vying for a promotion or asking for a raise, this information will be useful. Here are some noteworthy points:
- You’re In High Demand. Forty-five percent of advertising and marketing executives surveyed by The Creative Group said it’s challenging to find highly skilled creative professionals today. What does this mean for job seekers? Many employers need your expertise. This is especially true if you’re comfortable wearing more than one hat — say, a graphic designer with a knack for creating videos, or an art director who also writes snappy copy. If this is you, your skills give you an edge over others and may even command a higher salary.
- Employers Want You To Stick Around. Keeping star performers on board is an ongoing concern for managers. In fact, 52 percent of executives surveyed by The Creative Group said they’re worried about employee retention. As they should be – a report from Robert Half, parent company to The Creative Group, indicated that one in three employees is considering making a move in the next six months. Because they’d rather keep workers happy in their jobs instead of recruiting a new hire, 2018 could be a good year to negotiate a raise or additional perks.
- Soft Skills Can Be Your Ace In The Hole. Graphic designers must be proficient in Adobe Creative Suite to do their jobs well. So why do 23 percent of executives value soft skills — like communication, flexibility and teamwork— over hard skills when considering future employees? More and more hiring managers realize that collaboration and influence is more important than ever for today’s cross functional teams. Without soft skills like dependability and collaboration, projects suffer and office environments can turn toxic. The takeaway for creative job seekers: Your stunning digital portfolio can get you interviews, but strong interpersonal skills are often necessary for landing offers.
- Employers Are Sweetening The Pot. Thanks to the competition for skilled design professionals, creative agencies and departments are upping perks to woo the talent they need. Some of these “extras” include workplace wellness programs, free food, generous vacation time and even sabbatical leaves. As you research potential employers, check out their basket of benefits to see how working there would strengthen or undermine your quality of life.
- Flexibility Is In. More than ever, creative employers are allowing people to work when they want, where they want — within limits, of course. Of the advertising and marketing executives surveyed by The Creative Group, 76 percent said their company offers some form of alternative work arrangement. The most common options are part-time scheduling, flextime and telecommuting. You can anticipate more of this type of freedom, especially from smaller organizations that can’t offer lucrative pay.
Top Jobs For Design Professionals In 2018
Do you know where your salary should be? If not, you could be leaving money on the table when negotiating compensation. Here’s a sampling of midpoint starting salaries designers can expect to see in the coming year as a national average:
- Web production artist — $50,000
- Illustrator/infographic designer — $53,000
- Graphic designer — $54,000
- Package designer — $54,000
- Video editor — $62,500
- Web designer — $66,500
- Multimedia designer — $67,750
- Interaction designer — $70,000
- User interface (UI) designer — $72,750
- Visual designer — $81,000
- Art director — $83,250
- User experience (UX) designer — $93,000
Professionals with above-average experience and a high level of expertise, including specialized certifications, can expect significantly higher pay than these midpoints. Of course, salary ranges can vary greatly by geography as well. You can find full salary ranges for these and additional creative and marketing roles and adjust by location by downloading the Salary Guide.
Information is only as valuable as what you do with it, so put this research to good use for your design career.