How do design pay and prospects compare at different scales? We take a look at three types of design agency
1. START SMALL (UP TO 10 STAFF)
Some of the best starting salaries for designers can be found in well-funded start-ups. For example, research by Google Ventures found that design salaries being paid by tech start-ups in San Francisco broadly reflect those being offered by much bigger, established companies. Larger agencies may offer more corporate perks, such as equity in the company, and have greater scope for internal career moves, but the ‘mucking-in’ approach at a start-up means you can gain a much broader range of experience and can potentially own and adapt your role instead of moving to a new one.
2. MEDIUM PROSPECTS (11-50 STAFF)
The for independent-Design Week studios Salary tended Survey 2015to earn found slightly that less designers (£33,364) workingon average than those at networked consultancies (£35,480). While medium-sized agencies may not offer the same salaries as bigger, global firms, they provide the best of both worlds – you’ll have opportunities for sideways and upwards moves, but will probably still know the names of all of your colleagues. Medium-sized agencies often have a culture of seeking project input from across the company, so you’ll potentially have a chance to get stuck into a wide range of projects.
3. LARGE-SCALE AGENCY (50+ STAFF)
You’ll potentially find higher salaries at larger, more established agencies, with plenty of scope for career moves – which could include a cross-global move to an office in another country. You’re likely to have a much more clearly-defined role, with different skill sets clearly covered off by designated teams. Bigger agencies can offer multiple opportunities for freelancers, but some will contract through smaller agencies rather than using individuals. The company should have a bigger budget for training and other benefits, but there will also be more layers of corporate hierarchy to deal with.