The median salary for UX professionals is $95,000, according to the just-released UXPA Salary Survey. The survey is conducted every few years and shows both the progress and evolution of UX industry careers.

Results of the 2018 survey indicate:

  • A greater number of professionals entering the field.
  • More representation outside of the U.S.
  • An increase in jobs in the Southeast and Pacific Northwest.
  • More UX professionals holding senior-level, supervisory roles.
  • A closing of gender-based salary gaps.

bar graph showing salary by years of experience with comparison to previous surveys

UX salaries by role

A variety of different UX professions were represented, and respondents were able to select multiple titles. “User researcher” was the most popular job title: it was selected by more than half of respondents (56%).

Overall, job titles that include “manager” (department or team) appear to have the highest median salary ($130,500).

This is followed closely by instructional designers. Product managers, technical writers, and technical analysts follow, after a significant decrease of about $30,000.

The top roles that reported median salaries of $90,000 or more are, in order from highest to lowest:

  • Manager (department or team)
  • Instructional designer
  • Product manager
  • Technical writer
  • Technical analyst
  • Usability practitioner
  • User researcher
  • Information architect
  • Interaction designer
  • Business analyst

Gender differences

In 2018, the median salary for men is $2,000 (2%) higher than for women (not accounting for other variables). While this is not statistically significant, it does represent a closing of the gap compared to 2016, where there was a $5,000 difference.

The first quartile salary ranges were higher for women than men. Men’s second and third quartile salaries were larger than those for women. Men’s salaries show higher variability than women.

bar chart showing gender pay differences by years of experience category

For 2018, women make nominally more than men in 5 of 7 experience brackets and men make nominally more than women in 2 of 7 experience brackets (3-4 years and 21+ years).

Education and experience

The largest drop in salary since 2016 was for median salary by job level. While they still earn the highest amount of all experience levels, the median salary for those in a senior-level supervisory position dropped about $20,000 (-14%) from 2016 to 2018

The in-field experience is fairly evenly split between those with 0-2, 3-4, 5-7, 8-10, and 11-15 years (all ranging from 14% to 19%). The largest group is those with 5-7 years of experience, which represents 19% of respondents. Also, a higher percentage of the sample in 2018 had 0-2 years of experience than in 2016, which may indicate greater opportunities in UX leading more to join the field.

Almost half of the respondents hold a Master’s degree (47%), and 92% of respondents report having a Bachelor’s degree or higher, mirroring results seen in 2016, 2014 and 2011.

Education affected median salaries:

  • The percent of respondents who hold a Doctorate degree (~8%) have the highest annual median salary at $125,000, which is about $30,000 more than those with Master’s.
  • A Master’s earned respondents nearly $8,000 more over those with a Bachelor’s degree.
  • Those with a Bachelor’s degree earned nearly $24,000 more than respondents with a high school diploma or GED.

bar chart showing difference in salary by education level as compared to the 2016 survey

Those with a doctorate degree reported the highest annual median salary at $125,000.

Methodology and demographics

The online survey included responses from 1,326 UX professionals and results were analyzed by MeasuringU.

UX professionals from the United States represent 64% of respondents, down from 75% of respondents in 2016, which may show an increase in respondents and/or UX representation globally. In total, responses included people in 52 countries. After the U.S., the United Kingdom, Canada, and France have the highest number of respondents, with 5% each.

The respondents from the U.S. were mostly from the Northeast (22%), Midwest (16%), Southeast (15%) and Pacific Northwest (11%). This represents a slightly different sample than 2016, when the majority of respondents were from the Mid-Atlantic (23%), followed by the Midwest (18%), and then the Northeast (17%).

map of the US showing regions and number of respondents from each state

The respondents from the US were mostly from the Northeast (22%), Midwest (16%), Southeast (15%) and Pacific Northwest (11%). This represents a slightly different sample than 2016, when the majority of respondents were from the Mid-Atlantic (23%), followed by the Midwest (18%) then the Northeast (17%).

About three–fourths of the respondents were between the ages of 26 and 45 (74%), mirroring results seen in 2016, 2014 and 2011.

The User Experience Professionals Association (UXPA) International supports people who research, design, and evaluate the user experience of products and services. MeasuringU provides UX research support & analysis plus an advanced unmoderated remote testing platform (MUIQ) for rapid data collection on desktop & mobile.

Check out the full report from UXPA.

Original Sources