Remote workers in design earn more than on-site workers, says Dribbble's global survey

20 November 2019

Kasia Bojanowska: Dribbble global survey

US portfolio site Dribbble has published the findings of its annual global survey of the design industry, which this year had over 17,000 respondents – making it one of the sector’s largest. Categories cover pertinent subjects such as remote working, salary, hiring trends, education and freelancing, and reveal some interesting findings about the current state of the sector as well as its possible future. One section found that 14% of design professionals report working remotely on a full-time basis, versus 46% who work fully on-site. Meanwhile, US employees who work remotely full-time earn higher average salaries compared to on-site employees, with 38% of remote employees earning over $75,000 versus 23% of on-site employees earning over that amount.

In terms of salaries, US-based product designers are the highest-paid among design professionals, reporting an average salary of $103,000. 73% of product designers reported annual salaries of $75,000 or above. Designers in California are the highest-paid, with 40% reporting salaries at/above $100,000, followed closely by Washington State and New York.

In the hiring trends section, the companies that designers said they most want to work for are Google, Apple, and Disney/Pixar. The majority of U.S.-based designers report finding their current job opportunities through in-person channels (18%) or through an online job board (18%). Others report working with a recruiter (13%) or contacting a company directly (13%). Product and graphic design hiring opportunities are growing – more than 38% of global respondents report they are looking to add a product designer to their team this year.

Analysing education, the report found that the majority of designers are self taught; 42% report learning design on their own, 29% in school, and 16% on the job. Looking to the future, the skills designers said they wanted to learn in the next 2-3 years to advance their careers are motion design (33%), business (30%), illustration (24%), and communication (24%). Nearly 25% of UX Designers report having a master’s degree – the specialty with the highest percentage of advanced degrees.

Nearly 75% of respondents reported that they’ve done freelance work within the past year, and 40% reported that they are currently doing freelance work. In-person contacts account for nearly 50% of all freelance opportunity connections.

Read the full report here.

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Jenny Brewer

After five years as It’s Nice That’s news editor, Jenny (she/her) became online editor in June 2021, now overseeing the website’s daily editorial output. Contact her with stories, pitches and tips relating to the creative industries on

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