From salary estimates to negotiation, here is your guide to a UX Designer’s salary in 2023.
A career in UX design tends to attract people from a variety of backgrounds. And for good reason:
Not only are UX design jobs highly creative and human-centric, but they also tend to come with higher than average salaries and benefits.
Let’s take a look at what a UX design salary might look like for you, and how that could change based on your location and experience level. Finally, we’ll cover a few valuable tips to help you negotiate your first UX design salary.
Many factors influence how much a UX designer makes. These include job market conditions, the designer's experience and skills, the size and type of company they work for, the industry they work in, and the geographical location of their job. In general, however, UX designers can expect to earn a high paying salary.
Regardless of whether your particular role is in-person, hybrid, or fully remote, a large part of the salary that you’ll be offered is dependent on the location of the company itself, which differs not only by country, but city as well.
For example, according to Glassdoor, the average salary for a UX designer in the United States is:
Entry-level UX Design Salary: $75,000-$80,928
Compare this with the Glassdoor estimates for average UX designer salaries in some other major cities/regions:
Remember that these estimates should always be considered as a range, with a spread that’s usually around $10-20k. Someone with no experience could be at the lower end of that range, while another applicant with more experience might be at the higher end, for the same role.
Here are the Glassdoor estimates for a few other UX-related roles:
UX/UI Designer: $90,014
UI Designer: $93,440
UX Strategist: $112,146
Product Designer: $105,448
UX Writer: $73,097
UX Researcher: $93,043
Interaction Designer: $114,381
What Factors Influence How Much a UX Designer Makes?
There are several factors that can influence the salary of a UX design role, including job market conditions, the designer's experience and skills, the size and type of company they work for, the industry they work in, and the geographical location of their job.
While the Glassdoor average of $98 K/year sounds pretty spectacular, it’s worth noting that the salary you’re offered may not align with this.
In some cases, a UX designer with many years of experience and a strong portfolio can earn much more than the average salary. Similarly, a designer working for a large company in a major city (or working as a remote designer) may earn far more than one working for a small company in a less populated area.
As we’ve already noted, geographical location is also a significant factor. For example, designers in San Francisco or New York City can expect to earn much more than those in other parts of the country. The latest job market trends also indicate that remote jobs tend to offer higher than average salaries, as well.
Ultimately, while there is no one-size-fits-all answer to the question of how much a UX designer makes, there are several factors that must be taken into account in order to accurately estimate how much you’ll be compensated.
How Much Experience Do You Need To Start Making A Good Salary As A UX Designer?
Generally speaking, an entry level UX designer can expect to earn less than someone with additional experience.
But this is a big caveat in the world of UX/UI design, especially for those who already have a professional background in a different career.
For example, a person who is already a skilled graphic designer, web developer, or user researcher may be able to command a higher salary when they switch to UX/UI design, since they have competence in several hard skills required in their work.
Even if you aren't from a design-related background, you can still leverage a your previous experience, whether that's in education, customer service, or any other industry. and use it to land a good job offer. (Like Jason Thue, who landed a Senior design position at United Airlines after graduating from UX Academy.)
What Industries Are Currently Hiring UX Designers?
The field of User Experience (UX) design is one of the fastest growing in the tech industry, and there is no shortage of opportunities for skilled designers. Many different industries are coming to rely on the expertise and value of UX/UI designers to help their digital products to stand out.
Here are some of the industries where UX designers are in high demand—and where you might find some of the top salaries offered, thanks to growth demand and, in general, larger budgets.
UX designers play an important role in developing healthcare applications that are both user-friendly and compliant with industry regulations. With the ever-changing landscape of healthcare, there is a constant need for UX designers who can keep up with the latest trends and technologies.
2. Banking and financial services
Banks and other financial institutions are under constant pressure to provide a better customer experience. As a result, they are willing to invest in UX designers who can help them create applications that are easy to use and meet the needs of their customers.
In today's digital world, nearly every company has an online presence. As this online presence matures, UX designers are in demand to help create a more user-friendly website or application. From start-ups to major retailers, there is no shortage of eCommerce companies in need of talented UX designers.
As manufacturing companies strive to improve efficiency and productivity, they are increasingly turning to UX designers to develop applications that streamline processes and improve worker satisfaction. From shop floor applications to enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems, there is a wide range of opportunities for UX designers in the manufacturing industry.
As educational institutions strive to improve the online experience for students, they are turning to UX designers to help them create user-friendly websites and applications. Whether it's developing an admissions portal or designing a distance-learning platform, there are many opportunities for UX designers in the education sector.
With the advent of autonomous vehicles, the automotive industry is at the forefront of innovation, and UX designers are in high demand. From infotainment systems to advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS), automotive companies need UX designers who can help them create intuitive interface designs that will make the transition to self-driving cars seamless for consumers.
Common Myths About UX Design Salaries
There are many myths about salaries in the design industry. Here are a few of the most common that we come across regularly as we help new UX/UI designers to establish a career in the field:
Myth #1: All UX designers receive high salaries
Perhaps the most prevalent misconception is that all UX designers are paid a high salary. While it is true that many designers do earn a good income, there is a wide range of salaries in the field. Many entry-level designers start out making much less than the six-figure salaries that are often touted by proponents of the industry.
There are some ways that you can maximize your earning potential, which we’ll share in a minute.
Myth #2: To be a successful UX designer, you must be prepared to work for a big company
Another common myth is that all designers work for large companies. In reality, many UX designers are either self-employed or work for small businesses. And, despite some salary limitations that might be imposed from working in a small town or rural area, the truth of the matter is that many design jobs are now remote, and remote workers often command some of the highest salaries.
Myth #3: Career advancement comes at the cost of enjoying your job
Many UX designers choose their career because it’s meaningful. Fortunately, you don’t have to give this up to grow in your career (or get that salary increase). In fact, the career path of a UX designer can take almost any form that you prefer, whether that means managing a team of designers, pursuing a specialization, or simply attaining senior level as a UX designer.
How to Negotiate A Higher Salary When Offered a Job
First off, understand that you absolutely can and should negotiate your salary, regardless of whether this is your first UX design job or your fifth. To do it successfully, here are a few steps that might help:
1. Know your worth
Find out what the going rate is for someone with your qualifications in your geographic area. You can research salary ranges for roles in your geography on sites like Glassdoor. That will give you a rough idea of what you can expect, and some confidence for what to say if asked.
2. Understand what the job entails
Review the job description and identify areas where you exceed the minimum qualifications. This allows you to emphasize specific skills and experience that will allow you to deliver results above and beyond what they have outlined in the job listing. Keep in mind, however, that a candidate who appears to be highly overqualified for a position may not be considered as seriously as someone who more closely aligns with the position title and requirements.
3. Don’t disclose your salary requirements on the first call
If possible, wait until you get a better sense of the role and the responsibilities before committing to a number. If asked, you can say something like, “I’d rather learn more about the position and the full package before I commit to a number.” If pressed, that’s when it comes in handy to have done the research from the first and second steps, so you at least have something to say.
4. Know that a company is most likely to start an offer at the bottom of your range
If you say you’re looking for something in the range of 75k, they may go with 75k. Don’t say a number lower than you’d be willing to accept.
5. The salary isn’t the only consideration
On top of what you get paid, you’ll most likely have some sort of health coverage options, maybe a 401k or equity, PTO, a tech or learning and development allowance, and all manner of other benefits. So if the salary isn’t quite as high as you’d hoped, you can always try to negotiate more benefits.
According to Glassdoor, the average UX design salary in the United States is $98K/year.
The salary you earn is dependent on many things, including your location, job title, company size, and years of experience.
While there is no "perfect" industry to work in, UX designers are currently in demand in a variety of industries, from healthcare to education to manufacturing.
Negotiating your ideal salary requires some preparation to be sure that you know your worth, whether your skillset aligns with the job listing, as well as some strategy on when, exactly, to begin this conversation during the interview process.
The salary isn't the only consideration as you begin your job search.
To kickstart your career as a UX designer and receive the support you need to land your first job as a UX designer, you can begin your journey with UX Academy Foundations, an online course that pairs foundational design training with 1:1 mentorship.