Gender pay gap remains pronounced among designers

Extensive study on designers’ salaries looks at comparative pay ahead of Designer Week.

Female designers earn on average 17% than their male counterparts, according to a benchmarking study carried out by Design Week.

The 2015 Designers Salary Survey is based on the salary of almost 1,800 designers across the UK. It suggests gender is still the one factor that makes a biggest difference to pay. Male designers earn on average £35,809. This is 17% higher than female engineers, whose average pay is £30,733.

Unsurprisingly designers in London earn significantly more than those in other parts of the UK. The average salary across the whole of the UK is £33,443. This rises to £36,791 in London – an increase of 19%. However, this is still less than designers based overseas. They can expect to earn an average of £41,324 – 19% more than the UK average.

Interior design and retail design are the sectors that offer the highest pay for designers. The average salaries in the areas are £37,817 and £37,550 respectively. Surprisingly architecture is at the lowest end of the pay scale, despite the need to study for seven years to break into the profession.

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The average salary for architects is just £28,333. Only editorial design (£27,237) commands lower pay for designers.

Freelance designers earn on average 5% more than those working in-house. The average freelance salary stands at £34,659 per year. 

Despite earning more than designers based in the UK, those working overseas are less likely to class themselves as happy. Women working abroad in exhibition artwork design are the least happy, according to the research. The happiest are male product design executives working in the North-East.

Design Week Angus Montgomery said that despite the variances, designers are generally satisfied in their work.

“What this survey shows is that designers are, in general, happy and rewarded in their jobs, with, more than half saying that they are either very happy or quite happy in their roles,” he said.

“However, the results also show that there are significant issues to address in the design industry, notably the gender disparity – with men earning 17 per cent more than women in design – and in location, with designers in London earning up to 41 per cent more than those in the rest of the country.”

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Praseeda Nair

Praseeda Nair

Praseeda was Editor for from 2016 to 2018.

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