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AIGA and Google’s Design Census reveals US industry’s wages, hours and qualifications

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Google and AIGA have released the findings from their inaugural design census. The survey provides an insight into the economic, social and cultural factors that are shaping design in the US today. More than 9,500 people participated in the survey and the organisers are encouraging people to explore and visualise the results to be shared in an online gallery.

The key findings from the survey are:

- The average salary for all ethnicities, all genders, in all locations, at all seniority levels, at all types, of all sizes of people in all industries is $67,424. For freelancers, this drops to $61,180. The average wage for male participants in the survey is $72,287 whereas the average for females is $62,956.

- The average hours worked per week for all the people surveyed is 44.

- 80% of all ethnicities, all genders, in all locations, at all seniority levels, at all types, of all sizes of people in all industries are happy with their job.

- The most common benefits for employees were paid holidays, medical insurance and paid sick leave.

- The average level of education completed for all ethnicities, all genders, in all locations, at all seniority levels, at all types, of all sizes of people in all industries is a bachelor’s degree of which 68% of respondents had earned. The percentage of people surveyed with a master’s degree was 18%.

- The top five words the respondents used to describe the future of design were digital, interactive, simple, exciting and innovative.

Below are some examples of the analysis of the findings and you can explore the full set of results here.

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Siegel + Gale (New York): Meaningful messages tend to be simple. A resounding message of the AIGA Design census is that designers dig their jobs. We focused on this simple, yet powerful nugget of the research and brought it to life in a flexible, yet immediate format.

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Small Stuff (New York, NY): Designers who enter the profession only as a means to accumulate great wealth with an ever increasing salary are in for a surprise. The 2016 Design Census shows that the average salary of a designer does not increase significantly over the course of their career. However, designers at a leadership level who work in tech, software, and startups are outliers who are literally off the charts.

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Timothy (Saint Louis, Missouri): Diversity in the design field is an exploration, and it’s something you have to work towards. In that idea space travel is the same way. It’s something you explore and as we explore the vast unknown we find or figure out things we didn’t know. The idea of what’s in the dark shall soon come to light. This is only the beginning, but I look forward to the next census to see what else we uncover. In this design, I used techniques from the DNKG Skillshare class to help me express these number. Using new techniques is all part of the idea of finding out something new in this process of diversity in the design field.