Design Salary Ranges on the Rise in 2016

Screen Shot 2015-10-26 at 9.12.06 AM“What’s the average starting salary for designers in my city?”

“Am I being underpaid?”

“When is it appropriate to negotiate a raise?”

Stop wondering and get the Secret Sauce, aka The Creative Group 2016 Salary Guide. It’s packed with hiring trends and compensation information specific to the creative market. The data is compiled from thousands of full-time, temporary and project placements, plus surveys of advertising and marketing executives across North America. Here’s a preview to whet your appetite.

Market Upswing

With job creation at a seven-year high, skilled creative professionals are in the driver’s seat. Given a shortage of talent, many companies are willing to negotiate compensation and offer more generous perks to secure the best candidates. In fact, according to the 2016 Salary Guide, starting salaries for creative and marketing professionals are projected to increase an average of 3.8 percent in the coming year. If you’re happily employed, now may be the time to ask for a raise, assuming you have concrete examples of why you deserve it.

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In-Demand Skills for Creatives

It’s no secret that digital is hot. As the media landscape continues to evolve, in-house teams and agencies are scrambling to keep up. Professionals with mobile and responsive design skills are in particularly high demand. Hiring managers are also on the lookout for talent with proficiency in the following areas:

  • Coding, especially in CSS, HTML and JavaScript
  • Content management systems like Drupal, Joomla and WordPress
  • Search engine optimization (SEO) and search engine marketing (SEM)
  • Social media marketing

In addition to technical expertise, employers also seek candidates who demonstrate an ability to think strategically, sell ideas, communicate clearly, and play well with clients and colleagues.

Jobs That Top the List

While employers seek a range of specialties, here are some roles they are actively recruiting for as well as their projected average starting salaries:

  • User experience (UX) specialists – $86,500 to $132,500
  • User interface (UI) developers – $87,500 to $132,000
  • Front-end web developers (3+ years) – $72,000 to $100,000
  • Mobile developers – $94,750 to $140,250
  • Multimedia designers – $61,750 to $91,000
  • Digital strategists – $92,000 to $138,000

You can visit The Creative Group Salary Center to access a Salary Calculator which allows you to quickly and easily compute these salary ranges for your city.

The bottom line? You’re in the right industry at the right time. Salaries are rising for many creative roles, and 2016 is the year to move your career forward. Take advantage of growing demand to command the best job and pay possible.


Are you pursuing a graphic design career? Becoming a Graphic and S6785Digital Designer is your single source guide to the many, many options available to you. With a focus on portfolio requirements, job opportunities, inspiration, career options and more, this book will help you start your graphic design career. Interviews with leading designers like Michael Bierut, Stefan Sagmeister, and Mirko Ilic give readers an insider’s perspective on career trajectory and a glimpse into everyday operations and inspirations at a variety of companies and firms.

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