Perhaps you’re looking for a career change and you’ve realized UX design could be the path for you. But the one thing you’re not sure about is the salary. Is it more or less than what you currently earn?
Or maybe you’re already a UX designer and want to know if your pay aligns with the average salary for your role, or if you could be earning more elsewhere.
Either way, UX designer salaries can differ depending on factors like experience, location, education, and even the sector you decide to work in.
This guide covers everything you need to know about UX designer salaries plus more, including:
What a UX designer does
How much UX designers earn
By level of education
Salaries of related roles, such as:
How to get into UX design
What benefits you can expect as a UX designer
Tips on getting a UX design job
It’s worth noting that at the time of writing (August 2023), the data we report in this guide comes from publicly available websites such as Glassdoor and Indeed. As new salaries get added to their databases, it’s worth noting that the averages displayed at the source will change over time. We may update this guide in the future with fresh research and data.
What does a UX designer do?
Before diving into UX designer salaries, it’s worth taking a moment to understand what the UX designer role involves.
We discuss this in detail in our What does a UX designer do? article, but in summary, you can expect the role to include user research, designing user flows and wireframes, testing prototypes, creating user personas, and making design iterations.
As a UX designer, you can also expect to collaborate with different stakeholders. It’s a challenging but very rewarding role, especially if you’re the type of person who likes to see tangible results.
But you’re here for the financial particulars, so let’s talk money.
How much can UX designers earn?
To get straight to the point, the average salary for a UX designer in the USA is around $99,000.
However, as we mentioned above, this can vary greatly, especially by experience and location. So we’ll cover these two factors first.
Salary by experience
There are different levels of seniority within UX design, which is beneficial because that means there’s room to grow in your role. So let’s consider average US salaries you can expect at different experience levels.
UX design intern: $85,088
Junior UX designer: $88,581
Mid-career UX designer: $99,101
Senior UX designer: $128,790
UX design manager: $202,783
Salary by location
Your location can have a big influence on the salary you’ll earn as a UX designer. In this section, we’ve taken the mid-career averages of significant regions using data from Glassdoor (and converted to USD where relevant).
United States: National average $99,101
New York, NY: $100,294
San Francisco, CA: $113,567
Houston, TX: $92,104
Washington DC: $97,469
Chicago, IL: $92,853
Seattle, WA: $107,913
Los Angeles, CA: $100,608
Dallas, TX: $108,372
Atlanta, GA: $94,200
Denver, CO: $92,883
New Orleans, LA: $88,243
Detroit, MI: $92,934
Columbus, OH: $90,506
Miami, FL: $90,932
United Kingdom: National average £53,356 ($68,960)
London, England: £53,682 ($69,148)
Manchester, England: £47,054 ($60,610)
Birmingham, England: $44,671 ($57,541)
Devon, England: £53,356 ($68,728)
Edinburgh, Scotland: £50,768 ($65,394)
Belfast, N. Ireland: £48,463 ($62,425)
Wales (no specific city averages available): £32,687 ($42,104)
Canada: National average CA$84,416 ($64,054)
Ottawa, ON: CA$93,547 ($70,914)
Toronto, ON: CA$87,129 ($66,112)
Vancouver, BC: CA$77,335 ($58,681)
Calgary, AB: CA$72,886 ($55,305)
Québec (province): CA$83,300 ($63,207)
Australia: National average A$95,000 ($64,104)
Canberra, ACT: A$90,000 ($60,730)
Sydney, NSW: A$94,000 ($63,429)
Melbourne, VIC: A$108,500 ($73,214)
Brisbane, QLD: A$101,000 ($68,153)
South Africa: National average: ZAR 684,000 ($38,733)
Johannesburg: ZAR 660,000 ($37,374)
Cape Town: ZAR 690,000 ($39,072)
Pretoria: ZAR 660,000 ($37,374)
Nigeria: National average: NGN 3,480,000 ($4,951)
Abuja: NGN 1,800,000 ($2,321)
Germany: National average: €52,846 ($58,117)
Berlin: €54,032 ($59,482)
Munich: €60,000 ($66,052)
Hamburg: €51,475 ($56,667)
Frankfurt: €56,592 ($62,301)
France: National average €45,000 ($49,539)
Paris: €46,494 ($51,184)
Marseille: €37,343 ($41,110)
Lyon: €38,143 ($41,990)
Spain: National average €35,900 ($39,521)
Brazil: National average R$161,880 ($34,257)
Rio de Janeiro: R$260,604 ($55,149)
São Paulo: R$156,000 ($33,013)
Mexico: National average MXN$561,576 ($33,523)
Mexico City: MXN$643,236 ($38,398)
Puebla: MXN$347,052 ($20,717)
Peru: National average PEN 75,600 ($20,991)
Lima: PEN 75,600 ($20,991)
Argentina: National average ARS 4,785,360 ($17,526)
Buenos Aires: ARS 4,532,112 ($16,599)
Rosario: ARS 7,264,896 ($26,608)
Colombia: National average COP 96,000,000 ($24,035)
Bogotá: COP 108,000,000 ($27,039)
India: National average INR 900,000 ($10,955)
Mumbai: INR 655,000 ($7,973)
Chennai: INR 710,000 ($8,642)
Kolkata: INR 615,000 ($7,486)
China: National average CN¥ 960,000 ($133,786)
Shanghai: CN¥ 924,000 ($128,769)
Beijing: CN¥ 960,000 ($133,786)
Russia: National average RUB 5,395,296 ($59,402)
Moscow: RUB 4,716,000 ($51,923)
Saint Petersburg: RUB 5,690,604 ($62,653)
Japan: National average JP¥ 7,000,000 ($49,558)
Tokyo: JP¥ 7,000,000 ($49,558)
South Korea: National average KRW 54,000,000 ($42,356)
Seoul: KRW 52,000,000 ($40,573)
As you can see, your salary can vary greatly depending on where you live, with the highest salaries in China and the US.
Salary by level of education
Defining salary by level of education is trickier than other factors in this guide. As a base, when looking at job descriptions on both Glassdoor and Indeed, most jobs require practical experience above formal education. Those that do require formal education request a minimum of a bachelor’s degree, with a few cases requesting a master’s degree.
If you have a bachelor’s degree with some experience, you can likely aim for a mid-level UX design role. If you don’t have a bachelor’s degree, you may need to aim for an internship or junior position.
With more practical experience in UX design, you'll have more room for negotiation in the application and salary negotiation process.
Salary by sector
Like education, tracking UX designer salaries by industry is tricky. In this case, we’ve taken some of the top companies within each sector, looked at their average UX design salaries, and used those figures to create a mean average. Many of the salaries listed below come from Glassdoor, but some others have also come from Comparably.
The exact numbers seem to shift daily, so treat these as rough ballpark figures rather than set in stone. Since the sample sizes are small, you should also take these figures with a grain of salt.
Tech average UX designer salary: $177,527
Finance average UX designer salary: $137,458
Bank of America: $120,947
Morgan Stanely: $144,572
Capital One: $143,371
Health industry average UX designer salary: $118,614
Johnson & Johnson: $141,807
Mayo Clinic: $84,984
Travel average UX designer salary: $106,636
Marriott International: $79,430
Southwest Airlines: $80,000
Education average UX designer salary: $110,137
McGraw Hill Education: $100,182
It might have been easy to guess, but of the industries we looked at, tech takes the top spot with an average UX design salary of $177,527 – while the lowest paid is travel.
Salaries for related UX roles
If you’re already a UX designer and are thinking about transitioning to a related role (or are generally keeping your options open), you might be wondering what you could earn. Let’s take a quick look at some of the average salaries (in the US) for these related roles.
UI designer salary
Average salary: $93,620
User interface design differs from user experience design (despite roles being advertised for hybrid UX/UI designers). What you see and interact with on a screen is the primary responsibility of a UI designer.
UX writer salary
Average salary: $81,424
UX writers focus on writing microcopy that helps users navigate and interact with digital interfaces. Some might confuse this role with copywriting, but there are some key differences between them. We discuss the finer details in our UX writing vs copywriting guide.
UX researcher salary
Average salary: $121,966
UX research requires experience in both qualitative and quantitative research methods. A UX researcher will plan and conduct research studies, analyze data, generate actionable insights, represent the voice of the customer, create reports and propose solutions, and collaborate with design and dev teams.
With all those responsibilities, it’s easy to see why the average UX researcher's salary is higher than others on this list.
UX strategist salary
Average salary: $146,302
As a UX designer, you could move into a strategy role for the most significant salary jump, since many tasks overlap. However, the most significant difference between these roles is where your priorities lie – as a UX designer it’s with the end-users, as a UX strategist it’s with the needs of the business.
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How to get into UX design
Getting started in UX design might seem paradoxical at first – you’ll often see roles where previous experience is required, so you “need the experience to get experience.” But worry not – there are several ways to break out of that particular hamster wheel.
The first place you can start is by completing a UX design course. Beyond improving your knowledge of UX design, many of these courses provide hands-on learning experiences which can help prepare you for a real-world role. There are also a bunch of great UX design and research books out there to help you broaden your learning.
Another method you can try is getting practical experience alongside your current role by offering to help (or asking to shadow) UX designers at your company. This method is a win-win because you get hands-on experience while your company retains a valuable employee.
What benefits can you expect as a UX designer?
Depending on where you’re located, you should expect your role as a UX designer to come with additional benefits, separate from your salary. For example, in addition to the base salary averages listed throughout this article, many include additional cash bonuses or cash-based compensation like profit sharing.
If you’re in the US, you’ll at least want to make sure your role includes health insurance (and dental if possible), pension contributions such as a 401K, and appropriate paid leave.
Some other benefits that could improve your life (in and out of work) are wellness programs, personal education budgets, flexible and work-from-home options, and employee discounts.
Ready to apply for a UX job? Here are a few tips
A good place to start when preparing to apply for a job is your resume. A UX designer resume should include the following:
A link to your portfolio
A summary of who you are
Relevant work experience
Skills, awards, education, and certifications
If the first point in that list has you panicking a little, don’t worry – here’s our guide on developing a standout UX design portfolio.
Before hitting that “submit application” button, you should examine the job description and do some solid research on the company you’re considering applying to, as well as develop and demonstrate your skills, and showcase your auxiliary skills (such as any coding and analytical knowledge, consumer psychology, or project management experience).
If you don’t have solid experience in UX design yet, that’s okay! Think about how to frame transferable skills from your current or previous roles.
Tips for negotiating your salary
If you’ve already worked in UX design, negotiating your salary is a case of demonstrating your experience and the value you bring.
Negotiating your salary can be trickier if you’re applying for your first UX design role. Some of the best ways to negotiate a higher salary are by highlighting your transferable and auxiliary skills during the interview process and sharing any personal projects or case studies you might have built (during a UX design course, for example).
The other remaining trick might sound scary – just ask. Having the confidence to ask for a higher salary is most of the battle, and you might be surprised by the results.
Experience the world of UX design for yourself
This guide has shown how UX design can be a lucrative career – the average salary is considerably higher than the national job average (for reference, the national average wage in the US is $55,640).
If you’re itching to get started on a UX design career path, it’s worth getting hands-on experience using UX tools, and that’s where Lyssna can help.
With Lyssna, you can conduct moderated and unmoderated studies, including user interviews, prototype testing, design surveys, preference testing, first click testing, and more. Use these methods to understand your users, test your designs, and make iterative improvements to the user experience of your product or service.
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Alexander Boswell is the Founder/Director of SaaSOCIATE, a B2B SaaS, MarTech and eCommerce Content Marketing Service and a Business PhD candidate. When he’s not writing, he’s playing baseball and D&D.
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