The numbers are in, and they are both great and terrible. Coroflot's Designer Salary Survey, now in its ninth year (true!), broke the 5000 response barrier this time around, with strong showings from every design field that calls the site home. The findings are a combination of expected and astonishing.
First, the expected:
Salaries took a tumble this year, almost across the board: the Design Management and Interaction Design fields in particular saw their meteoric 3-year rise come to a sharp and dramatic end, though they're still the highest paid among the eight fields covered. Other disciplines saw gentler declines, with the peculiar exception of Fashion and Apparel, which bucked the downward trend in a big way, showing a nearly US$3,000 increase over last year. Fashion also bucked the experience trend, with mid-level designers in the field out-earning their more venerable counterparts:
Graphic and Interior designers continue to languish at the bottom of the pay scale, and those very few web designers who've been at it since the beginning (Mosaic, Hotbot, blinky text...ah the mid-90s) are making an absolute killing.
Here's another noteworthy shift from last year:
Corporate design studios are losing their dominance. While last year's survey showed more than 60% of respondents working in-house in every field but web design, this year flips that around: all but two fields saw the in-house fraction drop below 60%, with the Freelance and Consultancy categories taking up the slack. The temping of design, it appears, accelerates during dark financial days.
This is just scratching the surface though. For lots more analysis, including regional and international comparisons, salaries by job title, and the influence of education on design salaries, plus a customizable database of all Survey results, go to the 2009 Salary Survey Results page on Coroflot. We've broken it down for you into The Six New Realities of Creative Work, and you know you want to read about those.