Creative professionals are everywhere. We received responses from over 58% of the countries on earth, with a majority coming from the United States. This map shows the 10 most represented U.S. cities plus the ten most represented countries. We added the aggregate 25th, median and 75th percentile salary points to each U.S. city in case you want to move your creative career there or hire a creative professional in that area. West coast cities, namely San Francisco and Portland, have edged out long standing earning potential leaders, New York City and Boston.
View more detailed information about creative earning potential in the United States here.
These are the seven most represented job titles from all respondents along with their salary ranges and average freelance rates, all in U.S. dollars. Not surprisingly, Art Director and Creative Director, titles that assume greater experience and skill, enjoy higher salary ranges, compared to broader titles Graphic Designer, Architect and Fashion Designer.
View many more job titles and their respective salaries and freelance rates here.
It’s a common assumption that working for a small agency or company often means you’re out of luck on the benefits front. We asked respondents what size company they work for and whether or not they get medical and retirement benefits through their employer. Our respondents revealed that medical benefits are offered more often than we expected at smaller companies. Nearly half reported receiving them at companies with 15 or fewer employees, and nearly three out of four reported the same at companies with 16 to 50 employees. Hopefully, retirement benefits will become more prevalent as well in the future.
This list shows the 10 most represented U.S. colleges and universities that our survey respondents attended. If you graduated from any of these schools, the salary ranges provide a gauge for your own earnings comparison, whether you are fresh out of class or a seasoned industry veteran.
We wanted to discover exactly how the creative community is landing their gigs, so we asked which of the 7 major sources of employment below led to their most recent job. Personal referral came in as the most common source, followed by job boards. Creative professionals tend to find jobs through industry events and Meetups as often as they do through LinkedIn. According to a recent Jobvite survey*, 16% of job seekers credit social media with their most recent job, which means the creative industry is not leveraging social media as much as the general job seeking population. Recruitment service came in as the third most prevalent source of employment.*Percentage of job seekers that credit social media with their current job according to 2012 Jobvite Social Job Seeker Survey.
If your main motivation for pursuing an advanced degree is a higher salary, there’s a chance you might not need to go the extra mile. We organized all U.S. respondents according to which level of education they reached; high school, bachelor’s degree, master’s degree and above. According to each group’s salary range, those with a high school diploma earned more at the median and 75th percentile than those who acquired a bachelor’s degree. However, once a master’s degree or higher is reached, earnings across the board increase notably.
We are not recommending that you should stop or give up on your education. In fact, continuing your education, formally or otherwise, is crucial for success in every creative field. This data simply suggests a positive earning outlook for those who are unable to get an advanced degree. Similarly, hiring managers shouldn’t necessarily overlook those without a bachelor’s degree.