Job Market for Interactive Designers Looks Good

Are you hoping to negotiate a higher design salary this year? It pays—literally—to research compensation trends. The Creative Group’s 2013 Salary Guide includes average starting salary ranges for more than 125 interactive, design and marketing positions that can be customized for 135-plus markets in the United States. Here are some of the notable compensation and hiring trends based on the information in the 2013 Salary Guide:

More Digital Design Jobs

According to a survey by The Creative Group, 44 percent of advertising and marketing executives said it’s challenging to find skilled creative professionals. These recruiting difficulties are even more pronounced in the interactive area.

The continuous growth of online, mobile and social media content is fueling demand for digital professionals, like user experience designers and mobile developers. Companies of all sizes in virtually every industry are adding new interactive roles, and that means there are plenty of opportunities for digital designers.

Interactive Salaries on the Rise

On average, annual starting salaries for interactive professionals are forecast to increase 3.9 percent in the coming year. (That’s slightly higher than the projected increase for creative positions overall, which is 3.5 percent.) But some jobs are expected to see greater starting salary gains. Here are a few:

  • Interactive creative directors and mobile developers can anticipate the biggest bump in base compensation (4.9 percent), with average starting salaries ranging from $95,500 to $160,000 and $80,250 to $113,250, respectively.
  • Interaction designers with one to five years of experience also should see a gain of nearly 4.9 percent, to between $52,250 and $77,500.
  • User experience designers are forecast to receive a 4.8 percent salary increase, with starting compensation of $73,750 to $110,500.

Build a Broad Interactive Skill Set

Job applicants who possess a combination of strong creative, technical and interpersonal abilities continue to be among the most desirable to employers, regardless of job title or experience level. In fact, it’s not uncommon for many of these so-called “hybrid” candidates—including those just beginning their careers—to field multiple job offers.

Looking to improve your interactive design skills? Look to HOW’s online design tutorials, where expert teachers present on current web technologies designers need to grow their careers.

Greater Perks for Digital Designers

To secure top talent, savvy employers are expediting the hiring process and providing popular perks, when possible. Beyond offering competitive starting salaries and benefits packages, they’re also awarding bonuses (even signing bonuses, in some cases), free or subsidized training, and flexible or remote work arrangements.

Freelance Interactive Designers Have Great Opportunity

It’s a great time to be a freelancer. To better control their human resources budgets, in-house creative departments and agencies are increasingly using a mix of full-time and freelance workers. More employers are tapping project professionals to support core staff during busy periods and access specialized expertise that doesn’t exist internally. It’s also becoming more common for companies to use temporary assignments as a low-risk way to evaluate whether a candidate is a good fit for permanent employment.

Want to learn more? Visit The Creative Group Salary Center for additional news on hiring trends for 2013 and access to our Salary Calculator, which allows you to quickly compute average starting salaries for a single position and city.

More career resources for interactive designers