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How Magazine's 2010 Salary Survey for Designers

How Magazine's 2010 Salary Survey for Designers

How Magazine just came out with their 2010 Salary Survey for Designers. The survey references the 2010 AIGA/Aquent Salary Survey which shows slightly more optimistic results. I’m not sure why the two survey results differ but you can examine them both for yourself.

By Michelle Taute

Every two years, HOW aims to provide design professionals a snapshot of paychecks and earnings across the industry to help you answer the age-old question: What Am I Worth?

The big takeaways:

  • “We’re not going to lie: Overall, salaries are down in HOW’s latest survey. But the decrease is small, and there are plenty of reasons to be optimistic about the year ahead.”
  • The average national salary for designers dropped slightly—from $49,753 in 2008 to $48,983 in 2010. Raises and bonuses dipped a bit, too.
  • Freelancers took a big salary hit (-9.3%) as the economy tightened…
  • Regionally, the two biggest drops took place in the South (-8.5%) and San Francisco (-6.1%). For the South, the decrease comes after seeing salaries go up 19% from 2006 to 2008, while San Francisco continues a downward trend after a 3.4% decline in 2008.
  • In our 2008 survey, female designers made on average $5,395 less per year than men, but in 2010 that disparity is down to $1,612.
  • While more junior level jobs—senior designer (-2.3%), designer (-.87%) and entry-level designer/production artist (-3.9%)—all took a salary hit, creative directors (3.9%) and art directors (3.1%) saw modest gains
  • Web designers also continued their steady climb up the salary scale.
  • The 2010 AIGA /Aquent salary survey showed a slight increase in paychecks for design professionals in 2009, and we can all hope that’s an early sign of a lasting economic recovery.


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