2013 AIGA|Aquent Survey of Design Salaries results

Annual compensation study shows designers’ salaries remain relatively stable

NEW YORK—November 5, 2013. The recently released AIGA|Aquent Survey of Design Salaries for 2013 reveals the impact of both the general economy and the design economy on the compensation of design professionals: overall, salaries have remained relatively flat for several years. Two categories were the exception, reflecting the changing nature of the profession through increased compensation: strategists, usability experts and operations managers who integrate design into business strategy; and digital roles that specialize in web, motion and interaction design.

Two factors have held compensation increases in check for the profession as a whole: the availability of under-employed designers, and the thousands of communication design students who enter the workforce each year. However, in-house design departments continue to grow and design leaders are expressing optimism that the design economy is improving, as seen in the quarterly AIGA Design Leaders Confidence Index.

“Anecdotally, we understand that many design firms consider themselves busy, although this may be the result of increasing business without replacing designers who had been released at the start of the recession,” noted AIGA Executive Director Richard Grefé. “Generally, margins have been slimmer than a decade ago, which results in hesitation to hire new employees even though business may be increasing.”

The AIGA|Aquent Survey of Design Salaries is commissioned annually by AIGA, the professional association for design, with the support of Aquent, AIGA’s Official Sponsor for Professional Development. It’s important to note that the survey results reveal what is actually paid in the marketplace, not what AIGA recommends. “The unfortunate truth is that design compensation has not increased substantially—nor even kept up with inflation—for many professionals,” added Grefé.

Responding to the needs of its members in this employment market, AIGA will focus on strengthening professional development programs; building programs that support the career development of women and mid-level designers; and creating even greater awareness of the value of design among business, government and the public.

“This survey makes clear that companies continue to value creative talent who are focused on solving business problems. It also reflects the ongoing high demand for people who can design for the multi-screen world,” affirmed Aquent’s President, Ann Webster. “Like AIGA, we’re committed to professional development in the design community. We express this commitment, in part, by providing free training through Aquent Gymnasium. The courses we offer enable designers to develop the skills needed in today’s marketplace, advance their careers, and help clients do innovative and creative things.”

To see an overview of 2013 compensation data, visit designsalaries.aiga.org.

About AIGA

AIGA, the professional association for design, advances design as a professional craft, strategic advantage and vital cultural force. As the largest community of design advocates, we bring together practitioners, enthusiasts and patrons to amplify the voice of design and create the vision for a collective future. We define global standards and ethical practices, guide design education, inspire designers and the public, enhance professional development, and make powerful tools and resources accessible to all. Learn more at aiga.org/about.

About Aquent

Aquent is the only global staffing company dedicated to creative, marketing and digital roles. Aquent offers a broad range of staffing services that help companies add technical expertise to their team, increase the bandwidth of their in-house employees and focus on solving their biggest digital, creative and marketing challenges. With a notable client list, generous benefits, and leading-edge training opportunities, Aquent, along with its sister brand Vitamin T, attracts and places thousands of in-demand talent worldwide. To find out more, please visit Aquent.com.

For further information, please contact:
Jennifer Bender, director of communications and marketing
AIGA | the professional association for design