Changing careers often comes with a lot of questions about daily responsibilities, quality of life, and what skills are required. This might be especially true if you’re unemployed and applying for a Bildungsgutschein.
It’s also natural to wonder how much you can expect to earn in your new position—especially before committing to a UX certification program or quitting your current job.
Keep in mind that if you want a simple (and free) introduction to the field, check out CareerFoundry’s free UX design micro course. It won’t take the place of more rigorous and formal training, but it’ll get you started!
Like most careers, the salary of a UX designer can be quite variable depending on your experience level, the company you work for, and where you’re working. To help give you a better idea of what to expect—or to help you dream up the possibilities for where a career in UX might take you—we’ve compiled this guide on how much you can earn as a UX designer in 2021.
Here’s what we’ll cover:
- What’s the job market for UX designers?
- UX designer salaries by country
- UX designer salaries by company
- How to negotiate your first UX salary
- Outlook and takeaways
Ready to learn all about UX designer salaries around the globe? Let’s get started.
1. What’s the job market for UX designers?
Entering into a new career can be an exciting yet unpredictable territory to explore. You may not be sure if you can make the salary you desire or that you’ll have long-term security in your job. Luckily, the demand for UX designers has been steadily increasing since the birth of the UX industry. A study conducted in 2014 states that design-led companies often have higher stock market advantages and better performance overall.
2. UX designer salaries by country
Low: $59,000 USD
Average: $85,000 USD
High: $128,000 USD
The United States has a variety of flourishing tech hubs within its borders. Cities like New York, Seattle, and San Francisco are quite popular for their highly regarded design schools and the presence of industry leading companies like IBM, Amazon, and Microsoft.
Low: CA$51,000 ($37,000 USD)
Average: CA$72,000 ($52,000 USD)
High: CA$96,000 ($69,000 USD)
Canada offers a wide range of UX design positions with the most being concentrated in Toronto and Vancouver. This country also hosts numerous notable design agencies and branches including Net Solutions—a 20-year old agency with previous big-name clients like Yahoo, PayPal, and Microsoft.
Low: A$69,000 ($44,000 USD)
Average: A$90,000 ($57,000 USD)
High: A$125,000 ($80,000 USD)
UX designers may find the highest pay rates in Sydney and Melbourne, but there are many other blossoming tech communities as well. Adelaide is a city where the UX industry is rapidly growing, meaning a lot of opportunity for designers to put their efforts towards meaningful and impactful projects.
Low: €36,000 ($39,000 USD)
Average: €51,000 ($56,000 USD)
High: €76,000 ($83,000 USD)
Munich boasts the highest cluster of UX job opportunities, but Berlin is also an attractive option for UXers. Berlin hosts offices for many big-name corporations (ie. Mozilla, Google, etc.) looking to hire. It is even host to The MOBX Conference, Europe’s annual mobile UX summit.
Low:¥96,000 ($14,000 USD)
Average: ¥204,000 ($30,000 USD)
High: ¥396,000 ($56,000 USD)
Hong Kong, Beijing, and Shanghai are some obvious heavy hitters in the UX industry. However, UX designers should keep their eyes on Shenzhen, an exponentially growing city that has been named China’s supreme design hotspot. Shenzhen is projected to play a big role in the UX field within the next two decades.
Low: €28,000 ($33,000 USD)
Average: €40,000 ($46,000 USD)
High: €56,000 ($66,000 USD)
There are loads of tech jobs throughout the UK, but with London’s reputation as Europe’s startup capital, many entrepreneurs are calling on UX designers for help. The largest city in the UK, London has its own Silicon Roundabout, where the demand for UX designers is at its highest.
3. UX designer salaries by company
You may have your sights set on working in a particular location or for a particular organization during your UX career. UX designer salaries can vary greatly from country to country and company to company, so it’s always best to research your own desired position. To give you an idea of what UX designers at some well-known companies are making, we’ve put together this list of salary ranges for some popular organizations.
Microsoft UX designers are constantly creating innovative digital products that influence the globe, and Microsoft is leading the way for inclusive design. Get ready—the interview process can be quite extensive as they require a high level of motivation and design skill from their team.
Being a UX designer for Adobe is a bit like being a designer for other designers. As an Adobe UXer, you would be creating seamless and efficient products for others in the field to use on their own projects.
The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) is an award-winning production company and public broadcasting service based in London. The BBC design team creates engaging and easy-to-navigate experiences for all the BBC products.
Alibaba is one of the world’s largest e-commerce corporations with millions of international users and merchants. This large UX team (70 members!) is consistently implementing evidence-based solutions for businesses to distribute their products to Alibaba users all over the world.
This major research organization is one of the biggest producers and sellers of computer hardware, middleware, software, and consulting services. As a UX designer for IBM, you would be working for the world’s biggest tech company.
This multinational sporting lifestyle company is one of the biggest contributors to the design, distribution, and marketing of athletic products worldwide. The Adidas design team is driven to design products with the potential to redefine the sports and games their users are passionate about.
4. How to negotiate your first UX salary
Being new to the UX design industry may leave you wondering what sort of compensation to expect when applying for your very first position. You might not want to set your expectations too high, but be wary of asking for too little. Your skills are valuable at all stages of your design career, so before your first interviews, be sure to do some research, consider your auxiliary skills, and talk to others in the field.
Do your research
The best way to make sure you’re asking for a fair wage is to do some research into what other designers with similar skill levels are making. You’ll want to look for the average salaries within the companies you are applying for, in the city the position is located in, and for how many years of experience you have. Glassdoor, PayScale, and UX Designer Salaries are some easy search engine tools you can use to find information about UX designer pay rates.
Develop your skillset
If you still feel like you’re finding your sea legs in the world of UX, look into a UX/UI certification course or bootcamp that will give you the design skills (and the portfolio!) you need. Our guide to the best UX certification programs is a great place to start. The best UX design programs will help you develop a professional-grade portfolio and help you on your job search.
If you’d like to dip your toes in the water before you make the investment of money and time that a good program can require, check out a free UX design short course or start reading as many UX-related books as you can get your hands on.
Consider your auxiliary skills
Auxiliary skills are the other qualities and attributes you bring to the table besides your UX design expertise. These are often skills that enhance or go hand-in-hand with your design knowledge.
UX designers that have some base knowledge in coding, analytics, team building, or psychology and research can often negotiate higher salaries as these assets make them a more well-rounded and attractive candidate for the job. So look for opportunities to cultivate a more diverse skillset. Consider upskilling with a specialization in UI design, voice user interface design, or even frontend development.
If you have the opportunity, ask other designers in the field for a rough estimate of what sort of salary to expect. It may feel strange to ask your colleagues about salaries and pay rates, but you may be surprised at how quick they’ll be to offer some guidance. Friends, recent classmates, and former teachers or mentors are also great people to ask when gauging what sort of compensation you can plan to receive.
You can learn more about how to negotiate your salary in this video.
5. Outlook and takeaways
There’s a steady and increasing demand for UX designers, and the ever-expanding and competitive global market means a greater need to produce fresh and enjoyable products.
UX design has also been ranked as the sixth highest paying entry-level job, according to this Glassdoor study. So, not only is the demand for UX designers high, but the salaries are also quite competitive.
Furthermore, as the UX design field continues to make its way into industries like education, fashion, film, and even social and cultural wellness projects, the need for quality UX designers has been forecasted to increase.
If you’d like to learn more about a career in UX design, check out these resources:
- How to study at CareerFoundry for free with a Bildungsgutschien (live event recording)
- What is a Bildungsgutschein (and how to apply for one)
- Unemployed in Germany? Here’s how to get a job in tech