2012 Salary Trends for Interactive Designers

web designer salaries in 2012

Curious to know what kind of compensation you can command in today’s job market? The Creative Group 2012 Salary Guide has what you’re looking for. The recently released guide includes average starting salary ranges for more than 100 interactive, design, marketing, advertising and public relations positions.

The salary figures are based on a range of sources, including the thousands of freelance and full-time placements made throughout our branch network, insights from The Creative Group’s staffing experts, and a comprehensive analysis of current and future hiring trends.

On average, starting salaries for creative professionals are projected to rise 3.5% over 2011 levels. But the news is even better for digital designers. Interactive professionals can expect base compensation to increase an average of 4% in 2012.

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Here’s a snapshot of some of the most in-demand interactive positions—and the skills employers expect these professionals to possess:

  • Mobile designers can expect base compensation in the range of $61,750 to $90,000, a gain of 6.5% over last year. These professionals design content and functionality for the mobile web and platforms including Android, BlackBerry and iOS, and must have a thorough understanding of both the graphic and functional aspects of web and mobile design. Experience across multiple platforms and programming languages is often preferred.
  • User experience (UX) designers can anticipate average starting salaries of $71,750 to $104,000, up 6.2% from 2011. Proficiency with design and prototyping tools (Dreamweaver, Illustrator, InDesign, Photoshop, Visio) is required. A thorough understanding of web development technologies (Ajax, Flash, HTML, JavaScript) also is necessary. Strength in designing with an emphasis on the emotional aspects of the human experience, and at least three years of experience, is preferred.
  • Video producers should see a 5.6% increase, bumping starting pay to between $57,250 and $80,000. These professionals need to be able to manage video projects from conception to production. Understanding of video format and playback codecs, editing systems and practices is necessary, as is proficiency in After Effects, Avid Pro, Final Cut Pro, Photoshop and Premiere Pro.

Wanted: Highly Skilled Designers

Despite all the headlines about the still-elevated unemployment rate, the market for top interactive talent has tightened: 45% of marketing and advertising executives say it’s challenging to find skilled creative professionals, according to the most recent The Creative Group Hiring Index for Marketing and Advertising Professionals.

As a result of the talent crunch, firms are stepping up their efforts to recruit and retain the best and brightest designers. In addition to more competitive compensation, they’re offering perks such as sign-on bonuses, telecommuting programs or flexible work arrangements.

More Firms Using Temporary Professionals

Freelancers are in strong demand. More agencies and in-house design departments are adopting a flexible staffing strategy that incorporates the use of project professionals, who are brought in on an as-needed basis to help handle workload spikes or provide specialized skills that don’t exist internally.

Given ongoing economic uncertainty, employers want to make sure they’ve found the right candidate before extending a full-time offer. Freelance assignments provide a way for hiring managers to evaluate people firsthand. So, in addition to remaining productive, gaining invaluable experience and earning income, contract work may help you land the full-time interactive job you seek in the coming year.

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