Survey Says: Freelancers Sacrifice Bigger Salaries to Work Alone

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designer salaryAs a follow up to my recent post, How To Calculate Your Hourly Rate, I did some searching for salary surveys and here is a summary of what I found.

Coroflot’s 2008 Design Salary Survey

Coroflot is a job search site for designers and creative professionals. Their survey included more than 3,900 respondents in 60 countries and at all levels of their careers. The results of note:

  • Experience is rewarded with greater pay, regardless of expertise.
  • The Pacific Northwest saw a nearly 17% jump in salaries last year.
  • Those with staff jobs make more than freelancers, who make more than those in academia.
  • Web and graphic designers are most likely to work independently.

aigaCoroflot has been polling web professionals since 2001; full results from 2008 and past surveys are available on their site.

AIGA/Aquent Survey of Design Salaries 2008

AIGA, the professional organization for design, tallied more than 6,400 U.S.-based responses to their 2008 salary survey. This is what it said:

  • The median web designer’s salary is $65,000; an entry-level designer’s is $45,000.
  • Among web developers, those located in the Middle Atlantic region have the highest median salary.
  • 87% of employees at web development firms get paid time off.

AIGA has been conducting their salary survey since 2001 and past results are available online.

surveyHOW Magazine’s 2008 Design Salary Report

HOW Magazine polled just over 2,200 designers in the U.S. Here’s a look at the results:

  • Designers overall saw an average 8.1% increase in their take-home pay from 2006 to 2008 (there was a 6.2% increase from 2004-2006).
  • In-house salaries have caught up to design firm salaries with a gap less than $100.
  • Freelance designers reported a huge spike in salary, a 21% change from 2006 ($52,236).

HOW Magazine conducts the survey every two years. The full report is available for download online.

Even if freelancers and solo designers do make less than in-house designers, the trade off of freedom is worth it in my opinion. What’s yours?

Alyssa GregoryAlyssa Gregory
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Alyssa Gregory is a digital and content marketer, small business consultant, and the founder of the Small Business Bonfire — a social, educational and collaborative community for entrepreneurs.

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