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Design Salaries in 2016: A Comprehensive Guide

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| October 20, 2015

As creatives, it can be difficult to know exactly what our work is worth. It’s hard to know sometimes whether we need to increase training, education or industry experience, and how to go about finding realistic earning potentials for our creative projects.

The good news is we can take the guesswork out of the process completely. Published by Robert Half International: The Creative Group’s 2016 Design Career Salary Guide is a tremendous industry resource.  In one guide, a designer can view a salary range across dozens of industry areas, as well as compare the salary range against current levels of education and experience.

The guide shows that in the design industry – it’s a job-seeker’s market. The average starting salaries for designers are expected to increase 4% in 2016. In addition to this, the guide features salary ranges for nearly 20 different creative career positions within the industry. Positions are helpfully grouped into categories such as public relations, marketing and advertising, management and content development, production for interactive design and beyond.

Also on the rise are mobile development and content strategy roles – as organizations and companies focus on initiatives that will enable them to easily and quickly connect with their valued customers anywhere and anytime. Digital strategy and highly-developed forms of content marketing will create a huge need for trained designers in 2016.

Specifically, there are creative positions that are expected to have huge career growth in the year 2016. Check these out:

  • Like to draw and/or paint? Professional Illustrators with 1-3 years of working experience can top $57,000 next year, and after 3 years of experience can reach $80,000 or more.
  • Mobile designers can expect to rake in a starting salary of between $75,000 and $113,750.
  • Creative Directors will be making between $113,250 and $181,500 in 2016.
  • Multimedia Designers can expect to earn between $56,750 and $85,000 to start.
  • Brand new visual designers are trending to earn between $63,000 and $94,000.

Aside from the exciting trends in the design-world salary, the three new roles that are bubbling up in the creative world include marketing automation manager, customer experience designer and creative technologist.

The Hiring Trends

Apart from identifying the salary ranges, the Design Career Salary Guide for 2016 includes effective tips for hiring the best creative professionals for a brand’s identity. If the guide advises companies to completely highlight the exceptional attributes of workplace culture on job postings and your website, you need to make sure that your hiring manager has the ability to articulate why your chosen business is the best place to work.

The Creative Group notes that employees who usually feel that they deserve a salary increase won’t ask for one before they completely decide to resign. This is why it’s important to know your worth. Research is key – take a look at the guide and leverage your experience and skills. Often, a designer can quickly boost a salary and gain entry into a new field of art or design by enrolling in a vocational training certification. There are many flexible online design programs available; Sessions College for Professional Design offers the opportunity to graduate in as little as six months or less. So schools are getting savvy too – now, it’s much easier to complete an online training program to launch a design career than even just 5 or 10 years ago.

The Creative Group is a division of Robert Half which is a global leader in consulting services and professional staffing. The company specializes in placing creative design and marketing professionals in full-time, contract-to-hire and project-based positions, and is a fantastic resource for designers looking to find gainful employment.

Emily Wilkinson


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This blog is powered by Sessions College, the leading online school of visual arts.

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