• 07.30.14

The Best And Worst Paying Jobs In Design

Move to California. And learn to code.

The Best And Worst Paying Jobs In Design
[Image: Golden Gate Bridge via Vlad Turchenko / Shutterstock]

In the U.S., a corporate culture of pay secrecy can make it difficult to figure out whether you’re getting paid a salary you deserve. Co.Design took a look at designer salaries across the world, based on data from a Designer News survey that garnered 1,000 responses from 58 countries. The responses reveal wide discrepancies in how people are paid, at least among the group of people surveyed (an admittedly small, self-selecting sample). Here’s how the field stacks up:

Credit: Lily Tidhar for Co.Design

The takeaways? It’s a good time to head to California. Average salaries in Los Angeles and San Francisco top six figures. However, while America boasted the highest salary on the list by far, the lowest-paid designers in the Netherlands, Sweden, Canada, and Australia are paid much better than the lowest-paid designer in the U.S.

Click to embiggen. Credit: Lily Tidhar for Co.Design

And, as you might have heard by now, you should probably learn to code. For the most part, developers and engineers are getting paid more than designers at all stages of their career. Case in point: The survey’s highest-paid respondent–a mid-level developer in the Bay Area–gets paid more than twice the salary of the highest paid principal/founder surveyed. Coders rake in the dough. Art directors and design managers? Not so much.

Do these figures match your experience? Let us know in the comments.

*The map originally misstated the average and lowest salaries in Germany. We’ve updated the post.

About the author

Shaunacy Ferro is a Brooklyn-based writer covering architecture, urban design and the sciences. She's on a lifelong quest for the perfect donut.