The field of user experience is large and closely related to user interface and other aspects of web or app development, and in this field, there are tons of different job titles for User Experience Professionals. Job titles Like User Researchers or UX developers, and positions ranging from intern or junior all the way up to lead director are inclusive in this field.
However, in this article we will mainly look into User Experience Professionals and more specifically their salaries. As the salaries vary depending on different job description the range doesn’t differ too much otherwise this article will be way too long and complicated.
In the following chapters will be stating how the salary of an UX Professional has changed since 2005, how experience influences the salary of an UX Professions, and how the wages differ in different parts of the world.
Hopefully this shows article will help you gauge if your salary is similar to that of your fellow UX Professionals, or maybe it will convince you to join the world of user experience.
History of UX salaries
Since user experience started to become a concern to designers in early 1990, those working on it have always been paid well, and in the last decade their wages increased even further.
The graph below shows that the wages have still been rising for UX Professionals since 2005.
Just an explanation; this graph shows the average yearly salary from 2005 to 2016 adjusted for inflation on the left and the real increase as a percentage compared to 2005. This data is from a 2017 study on wages for UX Professionals by the User Experience Professionals Association; where they looked into the wages and how it changes based on jobs, gender, and location. They had over 1,200 respondents and over 75% of the respondents are American UX Professionals, the remainder is mainly from other western high income countries. So this study reflects the change in wages in the United States for User Experience accurately.
Even though the salary fluctuates over the years, it keeps rising and end much higher than it was 11 years earlier. This graph is adjusted for inflation, so you will earn about $6,000 extra on average for the same job than back in 2005.
This is probably because more companies realize that they need to create a good User Experience for their users and start allocating more resources to the UX departments.
Wages were slightly affected by the 2008 financial crisis, the average wages in 2008 and 2009 went down by a few hundred dollars. But still, most of the decreases in salary were quickly followed by a period of large increase in user experience departments, because companies wanted to launch new products again (which they wanted to be developed well). This, of course, also let to an increase in wages for the UX Professionals.
So overall, in the last decade statistics have shown us that UX professionals in the United States are still highly valuable and work in an area which is not that heavily affected by financial crises. And above all, their wages are still rising and continues to increase for the years to come.
UX jobs in different parts of the world
Using this interactive map on UX Designers Salaries, you can easily see the average wages of over 1500 User Experience designers from all over the world in 2015. With this site you can check what other UX Designers in your country earns each year according to their level of experience, and see in which countries you can earn the most.
The chart below already shows the average wage of UX Designers in 14 countries in 2015 adjusted for inflation. Designers in India earn barely $15,000 a year, while their Swiss counterparts earn around $99,000 a year. That is an increase of 660% by just relocating to Switzerland.
But it actually only seems like the UX Designers in India are vastly underpaid and designers in Switzerland and the United States are highly overpaid.
Because if we bring math into this then you can compare the average salaries with the gross domestic product per capita of those countries; and because the average wages in India are far below $15,000, the UX Developers earn over 10 times the GDP per capita of India.
Just to clarify, the graph below shows the average salary per country compared to that country's GDP per capita. Only UX Designers in Singapore earn less than the GDP per capita, while designers in other countries earn well above that.
Indian developers are paid a lot more than their fellow countrymen, Filipino designers earn even more compared to their countries GDP per capita. They are paid almost 15 times the GDP per capita of the Philippines. This means that in most countries, becoming an UX Designers pays off.
Moving to a different country isn’t the only thing that changes your salary. Experience is also another added value.
By gaining more experience as an UX Designer you can easily double your salary within your career.
The following graph shows the difference between the number of years of experience an UX designer can make on average. Of the same 14 countries with average yearly salary on the left and the increase of the salary as a percentage on the right.
On average the wages increased by 200% in about thirteen years from around $45,000 a year to $90,000.
The differences experience can make is also very noticeable, particularly in the United States, if you check the same 2015 study.
As an American User Experience Professional, you can already have a pretty good salary of $70,000 a year on average in an entry level job in the United States.
Moreover, you can earn around $5,000 extra for each year of experience you have for the first ten years and roughly $3,000 extra per year in the years following.
This leaves you earning a six-figure salary in around 6 years!
User Experience Professionals have been paid well ever since this job category came into existence. What we wrote earlier keeps stating the same.
User Experience Professionals are still paid well and as they learn more through job experience their wages increase dramatically.
The salaries for UX Professionals also keep rising further as more companies realize that they need those professionals to improve the experience for their users; and as companies send more work overseas to ‘cheaper’ user experience Professionals in countries like India, companies help these professionals earn much more than they would in an average job.
So? Why aren’t you working in this field yet?
Aldrich Huang, CEO of UXTesting Ivo Bout, Marketing of UXTesting