How much are we really making?

We partnered with the amazing team at and created this survey to better understand the state of the industry and get a clear picture of the employment situation for creatives. Thanks to our good friend and amazing business analyst, Eliran Zagbiv, for his help in analyzing the results. Here are the overall stats of people who took the survey:

3,167 participants

from 57 different countries

23.6% women and 76.4% men

The TL;DR - Our insights

We hired an analyst and drilled down and sliced the results. What's presented below is the direct findings, exactly as we received them from the survey, but it's important to mention that they are of course biased toward the Hacking UI audience and may not reflect the entire industry. For example:

  • Significantly more men than women participated.
  • A large portion of the participants were from the United States.
  • Most of the participants were designers or had designer-related job titles.

We also saw some interesting facts, some that aligned with well known stereotypes of the industry, and others that broke those trends.

  • Designers that work in agencies tend to make less money than designers that work in companies. We all probably knew that. Even the best agency in the world would not pay as much as Facebook for a skilled product designer. Does this mean that new grads and newbie designers should aspire to work only in well-funded companies and startups? No, of course not! But this survey is about money after all.
  • On average, women tend to make more than men over the first 8 years in their design career - and then it changes and men start to make more.
  • The level of job satisfaction level was almost identical across all job titles and point of career in terms of years and seniority.

So how can this survey benefit me in any way? Well, first off - knowledge and knowing the real, hard facts based off of real data - not just gossip. We all aspire to be more data driven, right? Well here’s your data.

Job Titles

  • 60.6% of participants were designers who are not in a managerial position.
  • People with the titile “Design Director” make more than people with the title “Creative Director”. Go figure.
  • "Designers" make more than "Art Directors". What does this mean? Is the title "Art Director" becoming less luxurious?
  • UX Researchers and developers make less than Designers on average. Product Managers make more than all.

The largest portion of the participants were designers. However there was a significant amount of other roles that filled out the survey. All roles that made up at least 1% of the participants are shown below.

Types of Companies

Employees that work for agencies were making significantly less than employees that work for companies, at all sizes.


The median salary of men and women was the same at $60,000, however the average salary for men was $3,334 more than that of women. The reason for the difference is because the salary range of the top 5% of men starts at $155K, but the salary range of the top 5% of women starts at only $135K.

We asked each participant to rank their satisfaction level with their current job on a scale of 1-5. 82.4% of men said that their satisfaction was at least a 3 or higher, compared to 78.3% of women.

Years of Experience

We saw a gradual increase of salary as expected by years of experience. Each extra year of experience added aproximately $5K to the yearly salary. After 11 years of experience, the sample size decreased significantly and results started to fluctuate more.

We were very interested to see what makes someone a junior or senior. We grouped all of the job titles that were junior or senior together, and determined the average number of years of experience and salary.


A whopping 78.3% of participants had a college degree. This will be a very interesting statistic to watch next year, as there is a lot of talk about the need for a degree, especially for jobs in design and development.


The average salaries varied widely across different countries. The majority of survey participants came from the United States, but each country that made up at least 1% (32 participants) is also shown below.

The highest paying country was the United States, where the average annual salary for full time employees across all job titles and experience levels was $90,695.

We asked each participant to rate their level of satisfaction with their current job on a scale of 1-5. We were a little surprised to see that the job satisfaction levels were fairly the same across most of the other variables such as years of experience, job title, and even salary.

Want more?

Make sure to check out the original survey responses spreadsheet that we opensourced in order to find more insights and data.
If you're missing any specific analysis of a section that exists within that spreadsheet let us know.