2012 AIGA Aquent Survey of Design Salaries

2012 AIGA Aquent Survey of Design Salaries

AIGA and Aquent released the results of the annual Survey of Design Salaries. According to the report, salaries have seen little movement. Yet there are areas of the design industry experiencing growth, and lessons to be learned from the data.

Design salaries overall have remained relatively flat for several years. The good news is that design is increasingly in demand, both as a result of greater awareness of design's value in advancing business strategy, and as companies seek competitive market advantage in anticipation of an improving national economy.

Salaries do not seem to reflect the pressures of increasing demand as a result of several factors: a large number of underemployed designers, the constantly changing nature of technology and expected design competencies and the impact of an estimated 12,000 emerging designers graduating each year from four-year design programs accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design.

The positions that reflect increasing compensation appear to be those involved with integrating design into business strategy-strategists and operations management-as well as roles that deal with usability, web and interactive design.

"The survey reveals what is actually paid in the marketplace, not a recommendation on pay scales," commented AIGA Executive Director Richard Grefe.

"As a matter of principle, AIGA takes the position that design is never valued highly enough. Yet the difficult truth is that design compensation has not increased-nor even kept up with inflation-for several years. AIGA's highest priority is to increase understanding of the value of design."