Exactly why do UX designers get paid so much? [2021]

User Experience (UX) product designers now have specialist knowledge and skillsets which ensure they play a pivotal role.
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    Why do UX designers get paid so much?

    Due to overwhelming industry growth over the last thirty years, User Experience (UX) product designers now have specialist knowledge and skillsets which ensure they play a pivotal role in the development of how a company makes their software, platform, applications etc. So, why do UX designers get paid so much?

    As these products and services are often now directly related to company success – and the experience of these can be directly attributed to the success or failure of such products and services – it makes sense that User Experience specialists would go on to share in the profit structures of a modern-day company structure.

    Unless working as a specialist for a large enterprise company or agency, the modern-day UX’er will need to be versatile… generally working across multiple cross-functional teams and performing a wide variety of tasks with a wide variety of tools in areas such as:

    • General Business Streams
    • Aligning User Goals
    • Data-Driven Analysis 
    • User Research
    • Creating User Personas
    • Creating User Stories
    • Creating Tasks & Scenarios
    • Building out Information Architecture
    • Running Workshops
    • Card Sorting
    • Wireframing – Sketching, Lo-Fi / Hi-Fi
    • User Testing
    • Gathering Feedback
    • Visual Designing
    • Creating Finished Art
    • Usability Testing
    • Monitoring & Tracking Analytics & Metrics

    What does the average User Experience (UX) designer get paid in 2021?

    This is a hard question to answer specifically and varies primarily by individual experience and portfolio coupled with geographic location around the planet. 
    Our salary research shows in the United States of America (USA) User Experience (UX) Designers typically get paid around the general ranges of:

    User Experience (UX) Designer Salaries 2021

    UX UI Designer: $91, 500
    UX Director: $167, 000


    Do User Experience (UX) designers get paid lower salaries than User Experience (UX) developers?

    While there are lots of online boot camps and training courses for User Experience (UX)… realistically there are still fewer “recognized” certifications for UX’ers and designers. This makes determining the core abilities of a new designer harder than a developer and why having a strong portfolio is still crucial.

    Due to coding capability requirements, UX Developers may not be required to sell their services to a team (eg. a startup) in the same way that UX designers do.

    What does the average User Experience (UX) Developer get paid in 2021

    UX UI Developer: $100,500

    Noting the extra 10k on the average salary… If you’ve got some basic programming skills (Html, CSS, PHP or Python scripting etc.) to accompany your user experience (UX) designer skills they’re definitely handy to have when it comes time to get paid and something we think the modern-day UX’er is moving towards.

    To find out more about designer programming you can read our article called “What programming languages should a UI/UX Designer have?

    Are UX salaries increasing?

    Over the last ten years, demand for User Experience designers has significantly increased. Companies such as Amazon, Nike and Apple all experience massive leaps and bounds by investing heavily in UX early. 

    Enterprise companies noticed this success and wanted a piece of the pie. As enterprise corporations then all rushed to find the magical UX Unicorns who would be capable of unlocking what their customers wanted before they even knew they wanted it.

    The demand-supply ratio for UX’ers skewed sideways leaving a mass shortage of talent available in the pool for these resources.

    We are still seeing the flow-on effect of this with salaries still increasing in 2021 and likely for many years to come.

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