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Salary Survey, 2010
The 2010 IAI Salary Survey was conducted from October to December 2010. Members of the IA Institute, IxDA and sigia-l were invited to participate. A total of 282 responses were collected. You may download the expanded results. We remain a relatively small community, so we removed city data from the results due to concerns about the privacy of individuals in places where a small, easily identifiable population of respondents live. A list of cities is available in the full survey download (PDF 340KB) and a narrower analysis by location is available by request.
Since respondents gave us a salary range instead of an exact salary figure, it is impossible to estimate a true average salary. In our analysis, we have estimated the average for various data points by taking the midpoint of the salary range a person selected and then averaging that figure for various data points, eliminating the "Over $200,000" and "Under $30,000" groups, which do not have a midpoint. We also present median salary estimates, based on midpoints, for comparison purposes, but it is better to read the survey results in terms of a percentage that fell within a range rather than thinking in terms of a specific salary.
Some of the survey findings:
- The highest salary range was a tie between the USD$80,000-90,000 and USD$90,000-100,000 ranges, each representing 12.8% of the total responses.
- The ranges between USD$70,000-74,999 and UDS$110,000-119,999 tied for second highest at 10.6% each. The USD$100,000-109,999 range represented 9.6% of responses.
- The top five ranges clustered between USD$70,000 and USD$114,999, representing 56.4% of the total.
- Using midpoints, the average salary was estimated to be USD$95,252, up $5,252 from 2009. (Using midpoints is inexact, particularly since the top and bottom ranges do not have identifiable midpoints.) When excluding the top and bottom ranges, the average salary is USD$97,298, or 2.1% higher, than when these ranges are included.
- Responses for freelance hourly rate ranged from USD$25.00 to USD$6,444.28 per hour, or USD$25.00 to USD$250.00 per hour, if you exclude two outliers at the top of the range, “930” and “6.444,28”.
- Excluding outliers, the average freelance rate was USD$88.65, up USD$3.65 over 2009. The median rate was USD$85.00 and the modal rate was USD$100.00, with eight people indicating that rate.
Salary by Region:
- Asia (except India) was the region reporting the highest inferred average, but this was based on only one response. Regions with higher response rates indicate more reliable inferred averages. These include US: West at USD$112,403, US: Northeast at USD$107,618, US: Midwest at USD$98,845, US: South at USD$80,892 and the United Kingdom at USD$80,788.
Region Respondents Inferred Average Salary ($USD) Median Salary ($USD) Asia (except India) 1 $134,999 $134,999 US: West 52 112,403 114,999 US: Northeast 84 107,618 104,999 US: Midwest 39 98,845 94,999 Australia and Pacific Rim 9 93,888 94,999 Non-EU Europe 1 84,999 84,999 US: South 28 80,892 84,999 United Kingdom 19 80,788 74,999 EU (except the UK) 13 78,461 54,999 Canada 13 71,922 74,999 South America 12 36,666 30,000 India 2 30,000 30,000
- Once again our survey had an overwhelming response from the United States; with 73.3% of responses coming from the US (which is, in fact, nearly identical to our US share of Professional level members). The United Kingdom, Canada, EU (except the UK), South America and Australia and Pacific Rim had fewer responses with many countries only having one to four responses each.
- We will need to do better outreach in 2011 to represent non-US regions more thoroughly. For example, Leisa Reichelt did an admirable job with her UK UX Freelancers Rate Survey, which drew 168 responses versus our 19 (freelance+company staff) from the UK. You can find the results of the UK Freelancers Rate survey here: http://www.disambiguity.com/2010ratereview-ukuxfreelancers/
- Responses sorted by metro area were higher in US cities than in other cities. Most of these areas had fewer than 20 responses. Also, given low response rates in some metro areas, the data potentially could be personally identifiable; therefore we hesitate to report results for metro areas with low response rates.
- Of the metro areas with 5 or more respondents, San Francisco had the highest earners, followed by New York, Washington DC, Boston, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, Minneapolis/St.Paul, Atlanta, Seattle, London, Austin and Toronto.
Metropolitan Area Respondents Inferred Average Salary ($USD) Median Salary ($USD) San Francisco 25 $130,799 $124,999 New York City 19 $119,210 $114,999 Washington, DC 19 $108,157 $104,999 Boston 21 $107,856 $104,999 Los Angeles 9 $101,666 $104,999 Chicago 18 $101,388 $94,999 Philadelphia 12 $97,499 $94,999 Minneapolis/St.Paul Minnesota 6 $93,332 $89,999 Atlanta 9 $90,555 $84,999 Seattle 10 $83,999 $84,999 London 14 $78,570 $74,999 Austin 6 $76,666 $74,999 Toronto 6 $69,999 $74,999
- Note that a careful cost of living analysis should be considered when comparing one region or metro area to another, since living costs can be much higher in some areas than in others. Also when comparing one region to another, consider differences in benefits that are offered through the employer versus those that must be paid for by the individual or that are subsidized by government programs. In the United States, for example, while medical insurance is considered a benefit, the actual costs can be quite significant compared to other countries.
- The Information Architecture field is predominantly 31-40 years old, but 46-50 year olds earn the most. 31-35 year olds reported an average of USD $88,268 while 36-40 year olds earned $101,499. 46-50 year olds earned the most, averaging $128,332. We noted a drop in salary in the 51-55 age group, but the 56-60 appeared to recover, indicating that peak salaries are in the 46-60 age group. Our oldest respondent, while earning less than the peak groups, still earned 51.0% more than the youngest group.
Age Respondents Percent of Responses Inferred Average Salary ($USD) Median Salary ($USD) 21-25 11 4.0% $69,544 $74,999 26-30 46 16.8% $72,282 $74,999 31-35 78 28.6% $88,268 $84,999 36-40 70 25.6% $101,499 $94,999 41-45 37 13.6% $117,296 $114,999 46-50 12 4.4% $128,332 $124,999 51-55 10 3.7% $116,999 $124,999 56-60 8 2.9% $128,749 $134,999 61-65 1 0.4% $104,999 $104,999
- This year, the gender breakdown was 52.7% female and 47.4% male respondents. The inferred average salary for females was USD$90,513, lower than males' salaries (USD$100,533) for the first time since we began tracking this data. Median salary, on the other hand was the same for males and females (USD$94,999, reflecting a modal response in the USD$90,000-$99,999 range).
- Education level for males and females was similar: 56.2% of women and 53.1% of men reported a Masters Degree as their highest education level. 36.3% of women and 39.4% of men reported a Bachelors Degree as their highest education level. Women have slightly more Doctorate Degrees then men, 4.1% versus 3.6%.
- About half of both genders reported their position at the Senior level, 50% of women and 48.9% of men. More men sit in Director or higher positions, 19.1% versus 8.2% of women. No women indicated they are at the Vice President or President/CEO level. Compare this with 6.2% of men (3.1% at the Vice President level and 3.1% at the President/CEO level).
- More women (13.7%) work as Freelance consultants than men (8.3%), indicating a possible preference for sole proprietorships among women, or possible discrimination against women in leadership positions among IA practices. This is the first time we noted potential gender discrimination, but would need to do further research on the type of sole proprietorship that is typical among women versus men to rule out a preference for freelance work or other possible reasons for the discrepancy.
- The highest level of educational attainment for the majority of respondents is a Master's Degree (52.7%), followed by Bachelor's Degree (39.0%) and Doctorate Degree (3.6%). 95.3% of respondents have at least a Bachelor's Degree.
- Respondents with a Master's Degree earn 3.5% more than those with Bachelor's Degrees, a small salary advantage. While the number of respondents holding Doctorate Degrees is very low, figures indicate that they earn nearly 49% more than those with Master's Degrees and 54.3% more than those holding Bachelor's Degrees.
- Three respondents indicated their highest educational attainment was High School and also indicated healthy salaries between USD$90,000-120,000. These respondents are located in high-paying, Eastern US and Australian metro areas, indicating, perhaps, that with diligence, a High School graduate can earn a salary comparable to that of their peers with degrees.
- A higher percentage of respondents have pursued post-baccalaureate degrees than in previous year's surveys, indicating that a degree may be more relevant than in the past for reasons other than pay.
Degree Earned Respondents Inferred Average Salary ($USD) Median Salary ($USD) No degree 2 $99,999 $99,999 High school 3 $108,332 $104,999 Junior college 8 $73,749 $84,999 Bachelor's 108 $92,036 $84,999 Master's 146 $95,273 $94,999 Doctorate 10 $141,999 $139,999
- The highest response for a Job Title was User Experience Planner/Designer/ Architect (116), followed by Information Architect (54) and Interaction Designer/Architect (39) We also received responses from 11 User Researchers, ten Consultants and ten Executive/President/Owners. Six Usability Engineer/Designers responded. The rest of the titles received fewer than five responses.
- One change we made to the survey this year was to split out the Experience Level (Junior, Lead, Director, etc.) from the Job Title responses (Information Architect, Interaction Designer, etc). In previous surveys, we would receive dozens of responses under the “Other” column, primarily because the level of seniority did not match the basic job title we presented in the selections. This year we received only six “Other” responses, so we feel we made the right decision.
- Of six respondents entering “Other”, four entered a variation of “UX Director” or “UX Lead”, presumably because they identified the “Planner/ Designer/ Architect” label with lower seniority levels. We moved these entries to the “User Experience Planner/Designer/Architect” column to reflect their User Experience focus. A fifth “Other” response, “Director, Product Design” was included under “Product Manager”. A sixth entry was split between UX and Product Design, and is not reported in the results below. We note that two categories, Product Manager and Project Manager, do indicate a seniority level. We may need to clarify these categories for next year.
- Most respondents (49.6%) identified their position level as "Senior". Managers made up 11.3% of respondents followed by Juniors and Directors, both at 10.6% and Principals at 5.5%. Freelancers made up 8.4% of respondents.
- Salary increases with position level. We noted that our definition of Principal may need some clarification. Most staff categories we have seen in the field track Principals as experienced producers, with Managers or “Leads” tracked toward management tasks. However this definition may not be held by our respondents. A closer review of tasks performed at each Experience Level would indicate potential skill requirements and pay rates for each level. This is beyond the scope of this report, but would make a good volunteer project for interested members.
- Almost half of all respondents (49.5%) have been in their current job between 1-5 years. More than one third (36.8%) have been in their current job for less than one year. 10.5% have been in their current job over 5 years.
- The amount of time in current job does not appear to have any correlation on salary.
- Just under one-third of respondents (28.3%) have been in their current field between 1-5 years. Only 4.0% have been in working in the field for less than one year. More than a third (36.2%) have been in the field from 5 to 10 years. Manager and higher positions appear to require at least 8 years of experience in the field.
- Respondents who have at least ten years of experience in the field reported significantly higher salaries than those reporting less than five years in the field. Between five and 10 years of experience the difference is slight (Averages for single year periods between 1-5 years seem to jump up and down).
- Salaries for those reporting more than ten years experience were 29.5% higher than those reporting 9-10 years. Those with at least ten years experience earn 56% more than entry level respondents; and those with more than ten years experience earn 102% more than entry level.
- We reworded the tasks question this year after responses to previous surveys indicated that project scope varies from one assignment to the next, suggesting that tasks as a percentage of a day is not a helpful indicator. For this year, respondents were asked to rate tasks relative to the number of projects that require performing a particular task. The response choices were therefore more subjective this year: Zero Projects, Few Projects, Some Projects, Most Projects, This is All I Do. We acknowledge that “This is All I Do” is answering a different question and will eliminate that response in the 2011 survey.
- Most performed tasks include (not necessarily in this order):
-Strategic work (business models, high-level categorization, scenario development, life cycle assessment)
-Audience definitions/Persona development
-Other user research
- We have found that 88.5% of respondents perform Wireframing/Sitemaps/Process Flows tasks, while 83.5% perform Interaction Design tasks and 83.1% do some sort of strategic work. Of these tasks, just under 10% indicated that they do Wireframing/Sitemaps/Process Flows or Interaction Design exclusively. And only 2.2% perform Strategic tasks exclusively.
Task Perform Task Never Mostly review: Delegate to others Few projects require me to perform this task Some projects require me to perform this task Most projects require me to perform this task Taxonomy development (thesauri, metadata, controlled vocabularies, etc.) 44.0% 33.5% 20.9% 25.5% 12.9% 5.0% Strategic work (business models, high-level categorization, scenario development, life cycle assessment) 84.0% 10.8% 4.7% 20.5% 32.4% 28.1% Wireframing/Sitemaps/Process flows 88.5% 2.9% 7.9% 6.1% 11.9% 61.5% Audience definitions/Persona development 77.6% 7.6% 14.0% 22.7% 35.3% 18.3% Usability testing 76.2% 5.8% 17.3% 23.0% 33.1% 16.9% Other user research 75.1% 7.9% 14.7% 22.3% 27.3% 21.6% Content generation/copywriting 38.5% 29.9% 28.4% 20.9% 12.6% 4.3% Content management/strategy 47.0% 23.4% 26.3% 21.2% 15.8% 8.6% Interaction design 84.1% 5.4% 9.7% 7.2% 20.1% 46.4% Graphic/interface design 43.8% 24.1% 29.9% 12.9% 11.5% 14.4% Database design 6.3% 73.4% 13.7% 3.6% 0.7% 1.8% IT integration/programming 12.1% 70.9% 10.8% 4.7% 4.7% 2.2% Project management 56.4% 25.5% 14.7% 20.9% 18.7% 15.1% General business consulting 43.7% 38.5% 12.2% 16.9% 16.2% 8.6% General IT consulting 16.3% 65.1% 11.2% 7.9% 4.7% 2.9% Business administration/operations (non-IA) 23.8% 56.8% 11.2% 8.6% 6.8% 6.5% Marketing/proposal writing 39.1% 42.8% 12.9% 18.7% 13.3% 5.4% Staff training/recruiting/team management 49.3% 35.6% 11.2% 23.0% 13.7% 8.6% Travel 57.9% 30.6% 8.6% 29.5% 20.1% 6.5% Other 24.8% 16.5% 0.0% 0.4% 3.6% 5.0%
- Of 282 people who participated in the survey, 35.8% indicated that they manage staff. We will refer to these respondents as “Managers”.
- 86.1% of managers manage Full Time staff. 68.3% manage Contract Staff and 24.5% manage staff from Temp Agencies. 59.4% of managers indicated that they manage staff who themselves are at the management level.
- We asked Managers to indicate how many people they manage. Fulltime Staff make up 72.7% of managed personnel, or an average of 4.5 people per Manager. Another 27.3% are Contract or Temporary Agency staff, or 1.9 people per Manager. Finally, 9.8% are at the management level, indicating that those who manage staff average 0.9 people under their supervision who work at the management level themselves.
- Three Freelance Consultants indicated that they manage staff.
- The most cited benefits were Health/Medical Insurance, cited by 83.6% of respondents, 401K or Other Pension/Investment Plan (71.1%), Flexible Schedule (68.8%), Life Insurance Plan (66.0%), Family Leave (Maternity/Paternity/Partner/Adoption) (61.3%), Disability Insurance at (56.3%) Pretax Flexible Spending Account (eg. medical or childcare use) (54.3%), Bonus Pay (53.9%) and Professional Training/Continuing Education/Tuition Reimbursement (52.7%). The predominance of medical insurance benefits reflects a largely US-based respondent population. In many countries these and similar benefits are provided and/or required by the state.
- While 54.3% receive Bonus Pay, only 34.8% get Personal Time off or Sabbatical Leave. 21.5% get Compensatory Time, or additional time off. Check your local laws, though. Compensatory time off in lieu of pay is illegal in many areas. Only 7.0% receive Overtime Pay. 76.3% receive more than two weeks of vacation, with 32.4% in the 11-15 Days range.
- In addition to the 71.1% receiving a 401K or Other Pension/Investment Plan, 28.1% receive a Stock Options/Purchase Plan from their companies, 11.7% participate in Profit Sharing and 32.4% have access to corporate discounts.
- 52.7% receive Professional Training/Continuing Education/Tuition Reimbursement, less than half (45.7%) receive Conference Registration reimbursement, but only 27.3% receive Professional Dues Reimbursement. Only 1.6% have their Union Memberships paid by their employer.
- As for family costs, while 61.3% get Family Leave (Maternity/Paternity/Partner/Adoption) benefits, only 32.8% receive benefits covering Domestic Partnerships. 16.8% have access to a Dependent Care/Child Care/Babysitting Program. 10.5% get Housing/Relocation assistance, and as noted above, 68.8% have access to a Flexible Schedule, if needed.
- 20.3% get a Health Club/Gym Membership reimbursement, indicating that some companies are taking care of their employees' bodies as well as their professional development. Meals/Entertainment (17.2%) and Transportation/Commuting Reimbursement (21.5%) round out the physical needs of our respondents.
Benefit Response Percent Health/Medical/Dental/Vision Insurance Plan 83.60% 401K or Other Pension/Investment Plan 71.10% Flexible Schedule 68.80% Life Insurance Plan 66.00% Family Leave (Maternity/Paternity/Adoption) 61.30% Disability Insurance Plan 56.30% Pretax Flexible Spending Account (eg. medical or childcare use) 54.30% Bonus Pay 53.90% Professional Training/Continuing Education/Tuition Reimbursement 52.70% Conference Registration 45.70% Personal Time Off/Sabbatical Leave 34.80% Domestic Partner Benefits 32.80% Corporate Discount Program (shopping, hotels, travel, etc) 32.40% Stock Options/Stock Purchase Plan 28.10% Professional Association Dues Reimbursement 27.30% Compensatory Time (time off in lieu of pay) 21.50% Transportation/Commuting Reimbursement 21.50% Health Club/Gym Membership 20.30% Meals/Entertainment 17.20% Dependent Care/Child Care/Babysitting Program 16.80% Other Profit Sharing Plan 11.70% Housing/Relocation assistance 10.50% Overtime Pay 7.00% Union Membership 1.60%
This page was last modified on February 22, 2011 04:17 PM.