What are the perks of a designer’s job?

As part of Design Week’s careers and salary survey, we look at the fringe benefits designers get in their jobs – and whether they are enough to keep them from looking elsewhere.

At the end of last year we asked our readers to help us compile a career and salary survey of the design industry, to find out who makes up the industry and how much they get paid.

More than 2,000 of you responded and the results have been analysed and visualised by IIB Studio.

In this article we look at what the results tell us about the perks to designers’ jobs – and whether they are enough to keep people satisfied…


When it comes to the perks of the job, our research revealed that more than a third of you (36%) haven’t used any perks at all in the last year.

The most common benefit that people used was a pension, but even this was only taken by 29% of you – even though it’s available to nearly half of you.

A pension is also the most valued perk among designers, followed by flexible working (which 20% manage to take advantage of) and a bonus (claimed by 23% of you).

Interestingly, the idea of career breaks was reasonably popular, with 13% of you saying you would want that perk – but only 1% actually taking them.


According to our research, designers take an average of 22 days’ holiday a year. The UK statutory minimum holiday allowance for people working a five-day week is 28 days a year, but if you factor in that most employers include Bank Holidays in this, the figures suggest designers are actually pretty good at taking their holiday allowance.

Nearly half of you took between 21 and 25 days’ holiday a year, while 13% were taking less than 20 days.


Great expectations. It seems that, for most of you, the reality of your working life fails to match up to your career expectations.

According to our research nearly all of you were looking for a good working environment, but less than 80% of you were actually getting this.

Even more worryingly, while nearly all of you were also looking for fair financial rewards, less than half of you felt that you were currently getting these.

The only two areas in which reality outstripped your expectations were in the location of your job and in the autonomy you get in your role.


Moving on. Given the results from the last table, it’s perhaps unsurprising that 37% of you expect to change jobs in the next year.

The overwhelming reason to move on is to get more money, with 63% of you saying you were looking to leave in order to get more money.

Meanwhile 58% of you said you were looking for a new challenge and 40% of you said you wanted more opportunities.

Other key reasons were to gain more experience and to get a promotion, while 8% of you said you were looking to move on in order to improve your chance of winning awards.

Jump to our next stories to find out about more about the make-up of the design industry and how much people earn.

Visit the 2016 Design Week Careers Survey homepage

We asked data visualisation specialists IIB Studio to help us uncover and visualise the stories in our survey. IIB Studio took the data relating to designers and creatives and analysed them, looking for the most interesting relationships, patterns and conclusions that could be drawn. They then turned these findings into the visualisations you see here.

Our thanks to Ella Hollowood, Michael Brenner, Duncan Swain and Rebecca Conroy. For more on IIB Studio’s work, go to iibstudio.com.

Hide Comments (1)Show Comments (1)
  • Stephanie Brown February 1, 2016 at 7:15 am

    The pension data is a bit worrisome as aren’t all companies now supposed to provide a workplace pension to all employees by law? If I’m right, then a whole lot of companies are breaking the law. Or maybe this hasn’t all been phased in yet therefore respondents to the survey had not yet been the beneficiaries of this new legislation?

  • Post a comment

Latest articles


Michael Wolff: “Why all the poor logos?”

Michael Wolff scrutinises recent logos which he believes have fallen short and offer little more than “visual nonsense” as he assesses where they’ve gone wrong and how they could have been designed differently.


Offset Sheffield: 5 talks to catch

Design conference Offset has been going since 2008, taking over Dublin for three days a year with inspirational, educational and amusing talks from an array of well-known and up-and-coming designers. Having started up a London festival last year, it hits Sheffield for the first time in 2016, and will feature 60 speakers across two stages. We’ve put together a handful of must-see talks.