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As the industry prepares itself for future economic uncertainties, this year’s results show that keeping good staff isn’t just about money.

We know that the job market in design has shrunk over the past few months, with lay-offs and closures hitting the headlines and the competition for work in most sectors even stronger than before since the horrendous events of 11 September in the US. But according to our latest trawl of salaries in the business, pay in most areas of design has gone up over the past 12 months by much more than the 2.5 per cent inflation rate accepted as the norm in some industries and salaries look set to continue at a fairly even rate for the foreseeable future.

The blows are also being softened by the new generation of start-ups being born out of the wholesale lay-offs provoked by high-profile failures such as erstwhile digital giant Deepend – new groups De-Construct and The Recollective fit this mould – and cutbacks among other top consultancies.

It is a similar scenario to the situation design was in at the start of the 1990s, when industry leaders such as the then Michael Peters Group floundered, spawning a whole host of talented new consultancies that went on to write the next chapter of UK design history.

We do not know yet what these new groups are paying themselves – few have ‘staff’ as such while they find their feet – but with a client base similar to before, but without the overheads of running a big consultancy, yet, we might expect pay rates to remain fairly constant.

Given the state of flux design is in, in common with all other business sectors, we decided this year not just to include consultancy bosses in our survey, but to introduce data provided by specialist design recruitment agencies that give a snapshot of the situation now for people changing jobs, rather than a historic view of what consultancies have been paying over recent months.

Inevitably, the recruitment agencies bring a tone of restraint to the results of the consultancy trawl – compare, for example, the consultancies’ claim that London-based creative directors in print and graphics get an average of just over £62 000 a year, with the agencies’ view that the figure is closer to £49 000.

This caution is understandable, given the long-held view by financial advisors to the industry such as Willott Kingston Smith and Ticegroup that design bosses are paying their staff too much in relation to productivity, considering the fall-off in business in some areas. But there are some surprises in the agencies’ figures. Junior designers – if they can actually get a job – can expect a minimum of £17 500 a year across the board of disciplines, according to the agencies, with a generous £19 000 for fledgling product designers, while consultancies in packaging and branding, exhibition design and product are paying considerably less.

Nevertheless, agency figures suggest a banding for salaries across disciplines and across geographical areas. Junior designers might, therefore, expect £17 700 in London and between £14 000 and £15 000 outside the metropolis, while managing directors might attract annual salaries of about £67 000 in London and the slightly higher £70 000 outside.

Salaries for senior people have seen e e the sharpest rise from last year – it’s still hard to find great talent, even with more candidates now on the market. But new business and account staff have seen the biggest hike in pay over the past 12 months – not surprising given that they are very much on the front line.

Areas that appear to be attracting higher salaries nationwide are corporate identity and product design, except in the case of the latter for managing directors. Packaging and branding has remained more or less static, taking in little more than cost-of-living increases, while interiors and architecture are generally in decline nationwide, in terms of the salaries of designers.

Last year the agencies predicted pay rises averaging 6 per cent across all disciplines and positions in design. This year it looks more like just under 5 per cent, according to consultancy projections. Some groups, such as Carnegie Orr and The Formation are bullish, projecting pay rises of 10 per cent or more, while others won’t commit to any salary increases other than performance-related reviews. Very few expect to take on extra staff over the next 12 months.

Some recruitment agencies such as Gabriele Skelton similarly caution that consultancy staff should not expect pay rises as a matter of right this year, given the difficult economic climate. Others such as Recruit Media, Piper, MCV and Periscope don’t foresee substantial pay rises, if any, except on a performance-related basis, but most agencies predict a boost in non-pay benefit packages to staff increase in the use of freelances. e

<b>DESIGN CONSULTANCIES – London – designers </b>
Junior Middleweight Senior Creative director Artworker
Print graphics 18 222 26 063 34 563 62 143 27 667
Packaging and branding 15 958 24 542 34 625 64 936 28 300
Exhibition 15 929 22 857 31 929 47 500 23 250
Furniture * * * * *
Corporate identity 17 733 26 429 36 036 66 100 28 500
Interiors/ architecture 17 792 24 833 34 125 53 591 26 250
Product design 17 333 29 333 45 500 65 833 32 500
Digital media 17 900 27 400 37 800 62 500 27 200
Regional average 17 286 25 148 34 722 57 262 26 938
*not enough responses to gain an accurate figure

DESIGN CONSULTANCIES – London – designers

<b>DESIGN CONSULTANCIES – London – management </b>
Managing director New business director Project manager Account executive Account handler Production manager Studio manager
Print graphics 86 000 63 333 62 143 26 000 34 250 32 000 31 000
Packaging and branding 83 618 64 167 29 781 22 000 34 250 38 000 28 111
Exhibition 75 500 60 000 38 063 23 750 37 833 30 000 29 600
Furniture * * * * * * *
Corporate identity 86 908 62 778 33 325 26 333 33 188 36 850 30 273
Interiors/ architecture 81 864 58 250 37 639 24 900 32 929 31 167 30 500
Product design 85 000 85 000 33 500 17 000 * 50 000 30 000
Digital media 85 000 57 500 31 400 22 125 30 000 36 300 33 000
Regional average 81 003 57 400 33 708 25 875 31 292 35 846 30 344
*not enough responses to gain an accurate figure

DESIGN CONSULTANCIES – London – management

<b>RECRUITMENT AGENCIES – London – designers </b>
Junior Middleweight Senior Creative director Artworker
Print graphics 17 700 23 917 31 205 48 833 27 200
Packaging and branding 17 700 23 917 31 205 48 833 27 200
Exhibition 17 500 23 833 32 833 56 500 31 750
Furniture * * * * *
Corporate identity 17 700 23 917 31 250 48 833 27 200
Interiors/ architecture * * * * *
Product design 19 000 24 833 30 167 47 833 28 167
Digital media 17 700 23 917 31 250 48 833 27 200
Regional average 17 000 23 500 31 571 52 214 26 667
*not enough responses to gain an accurate figure

RECRUITMENT AGENCIES – London – designers

<b>RECRUITMENT AGENCIES – London – management </b>
Managing director New business director Project manager Account executive Account handler Production manager Studio manager
Print graphics 66 667 50 714 29 714 21 083 32 500 31 286 32 250
Packaging and branding 66 667 50 714 29 714 21 083 32 500 31 286 32 250
Exhibition 85 000 58 333 32 167 23 000 35 000 33 333 32 833
Furniture * * * * * * *
Corporate identity 66 667 50 714 29 714 21 083 32 500 31 286 32 250
Interiors/ architecture * * * * * * *
Product design 66 667 48 333 30 500 21 500 37 500 32 167 32 333
Digital media 66 667 50 714 29 714 21 083 32 500 31 286 32 250
Regional average 65 714 51 875 28 625 21 071 32 500 31 438 32 071
*not enough responses to gain an accurate figure

RECRUITMENT AGENCIES – London – management

<b>Per cent difference in average salaries from 2000-2001 </b>
LONDON
Junior designer +4
Middleweight designer +2
Senior designer insignificant increase
Creative director +3
Artworker insignificant decrease
Managing director +4
New business director +11
Project manager +9
Account executive +5
Production manager +19
Studio manager +8
OUTSIDE LONDON (incorporating Scotland)
Junior designer -2
Middleweight designer -2
Senior designer insignificant increase
Creative director +2
Artworker +8
Managing director -6
New business director -12
Project manager +13
Account executive +8
Production manager -9
Studio manager +6

Per cent difference in average salaries from 2000-2001

<b>DESIGN CONSULTANCIES – outside London – designers </b>
Junior Middleweight Senior Creative director Artworker
Print graphics 15 250 22 000 28 688 42 813 21 571
Packaging and branding 14 500 23 200 31 600 47 000 22 500
Exhibition * * * * *
Furniture 12 500 15 750 21 250 31 500 13 500
Corporate identity 15 111 22 000 29 611 43 944 21 111
Interiors/ architecture 15 167 19 167 22 500 31 167 18 000
Product design 15 375 20 167 26 575 38 000 20 500
Digital media 16 300 23 100 28 400 42 100 20 700
Regional average 14 900 21 357 29 020 43 731 21 333
*not enough responses to gain an accurate figure

DESIGN CONSULTANCIES – outside London – designers

<b>DESIGN CONSULTANCIES – outside London – management </b>
Managing director New business director Project manager Account executive Account handler Production manager Studio manager
Print graphics 59 714 37 071 22 875 23 400 26 333 22 875 26 900
Packaging and branding 64 000 35 000 35 000 19 833 26 625 26 000 29 000
Exhibition * * * * * * *
Furniture 41 000 36 000 29 500 23 500 21 000 17 500 22 500
Corporate identity 59 750 33 500 27 750 24 400 27 429 24 917 28 583
Interiors/ architecture 50 667 28 167 20 750 24 750 24 750 19 333 20 750
Product design 49 000 37 333 24 500 22 000 19 750 17 390 29 500
Digital media 59 600 33 900 27 875 23 167 26 375 22 875 27 125
Regional average 58 462 36 045 28 389 23 000 25 136 23 587 28 500
*not enough responses to gain an accurate figure

DESIGN CONSULTANCIES – outside London – management

<b>RECRUITMENT AGENCIES- outside London – designers </b>
Junior Middleweight Senior Creative director Artworker
Print graphics 14 333 20 667 29 333 41 667 22 500
Packaging and branding 14 333 20 667 29 333 41 667 22 500
Exhibition 15 000 23 500 32 500 45 000 26 000
Furniture * * * * *
Corporate identity 14 333 20 667 29 333 41 667 22 500
Interiors/ architecture * * * * *
Product design * * * * *
Digital media 15 500 22 500 31 500 42 500 23 000
Regional average 14 333 20 667 29 333 41 667 22 500
*not enough responses to gain an accurate figure

RECRUITMENT AGENCIES- outside London – designers

<b>RECRUITMENT AGENCIES – outside London – management </b>
Managing director New business director Project manager Account executive Account handler Production manager Studio manager
Print graphics 70 000 46 667 27 500 17 500 24 500 28 333 28 333
Packaging and branding 70 000 46 667 27 500 17 500 24 500 28 333 28 333
Exhibition * 55 000 30 000 18 500 25 000 32 500 32 500
Furniture * * * * * * *
Corporate identity 70 000 46 667 27 500 17 500 24 500 28 333 28 333
Interiors/ architecture * * * * * * *
Product design * * * * * * *
Digital media 70 000 50 000 27 500 18 250 25 000 31 250 31 250
Regional average 70 000 46 667 27 500 17 500 24 500 28 333 28 333
*not enough responses to gain an accurate figure

RECRUITMENT AGENCIES – outside London – management

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