Service Design Salary Report 2021

What if you had access to the salary data from more than 1000 service designers spread out across 53 counties? Well, that’s exactly what you get in this salary report. Play around with the data and find answers to the questions that are most relevant to you!

Table of Contents

What can I find in the report? 🤔

Example insights from the United Kingdom

In order to give you a taste of the types of insights you can glean from the data, here are some examples based on the data from the UK (which had the highest number of respondents). The charts you see here are static images but down below in the actual salary report you’re able to interact with them.

In the UK, service designers across all industries have an average of 5.2 years of experience, and an average yearly salary of $82k USD.

A vertical bar chart showing the average annual salary for a UK service designer as $82K USD, and the average years of work experience as 5.24.

On average, men earn 16% more than women. The average annual salary for a man is $88k USD, and the average annual salary for a woman is $76k USD.

A horizontal bar chart showing the average salary for men in the UK is $88k USD, with 46 data points, and the average salary for women in the UK at $76k USD, with 67 respondents.

In-house service designers earn an average of $73k USD per year, compared to $80k USD per year for service designers in agency or consulting firms.

A vertical bar chart showing average yearly salary based on position, paired with number of respondents. 47 agency or consulting data points with an average salary of $80k USD, 55 in-house data points with an average salary of $73k USD, 11 freelance or independent data points with an average salary of $140k USD. and 2 'other' data points with an average salary of $63k USD.

The data tells us that having a service designer title means you earn less – with an average annual salary of $81k USD for service designers, and an average annual salary of $86k USD for all other titles.

A vertical bar chart showing average yearly salary based on job title, with the salary and number or respondents side by side. 79 respondents with a Service Designer job title, and an average salary of $81k USD. 36 respondents with other job titles, and an average salary of $86k USD.

48% of Service Designers in the UK work in-house, with 41% working in agency or consulting, and the remaining 11% being freelance or independent.

A donut chart showing 40.9% of respondents in agency or consulting, 47.8% in-house, 9.6% freelance or independent, and the remainder 'other'.

How to browse through the data

The video below gives you some useful pointers on how to navigate and interact with the salary report. Check it out!

The salary report 💰

The salary report data highlights several key factors that influence service designers’ salaries – the influence of the position and context you work in (in-house, consulting, or freelance), the effect that years of experience has on salaries, and finally the impact of gender on salaries. 

Who responded to the survey

The following charts show you the breakdown of respondents by gender, position, work experience and job title. To browse the composition of respondents in your country, select it from the dropdown below.

High-level country overview

The two charts below allow you to explore the high-level service design salaries per country. Keep in mind when comparing salaries that the cost of living isn’t represented in the charts so it’s hard to draw conclusions on whether you can actually make a good living as a service designer.

The size of the bubble in the second chart represents the number of respondents from that country.

Influence of position

Service designers work in a variety of contexts. Does it matter whether you’re working in-house or at an agency? Select your country and find out how position influences salaries. 

Effect of work experience

Does how many years you have been working impact your salary? Keep in mind that for this data, the survey asked for years of formal service design experience. Select your country to see how years of experience influences salary levels. 

Impact of job title

Service Designers go by many names! What is the impact of having service design in your official job title or description? The charts below provide us with some insights.

The gender bias

Do you get paid more as a man or a woman in service design? Is there a gender pay gap in the data for your country? Select your country to explore.

Please note – for this chart we have focused on comparing pay between men and women, as the data sets are more comparable in size.

The background story 📖

The first ever service design salary report is a collaboration between Marc Fonteijn of Service Design Jobs, and Linn Vizard of Service Design Paths. We set out to fill the gap we saw for salary data for service designers.

Why this report?

The million dollar question: what can I earn as a service designer?

Unfortunately, it can be challenging to get reliable salary data for service designers. Factors like varying market maturity, lack of transparent data sources, and changing job titles and responsibilities make it difficult to get information about service designers' salaries.

That’s why we have set out to create the resource that we know many people wish they had. As one of our respondents mentioned, ‘information is power’!

With service design growing as a discipline around the world, the time is now for us to empower each other by opening up the conversation on service design salaries. With over 1000 contributions to the salary survey, we know you feel the same!

This report is intended to support anyone who wants information about service design salaries, whether job hunting, career transitioning or negotiating.

We hope this report will serve:

  • People who want to assess their compensation in their current role
  • People who are negotiating service design job offers
  • People transitioning to service design who are curious about salary levels.

Facts about the survey

  • The survey ran for one month, starting 5 November 2020
  • The survey asked for base yearly salary in USD 
  • Over half of survey respondents selected something other than service designer as their job title.

Data gathering details

As this was our first ever time running a salary survey, we decided to take our own service design medicine and start with a prototype or ‘minimum viable survey’.

We wanted to better understand which questions and data points are important to you, rather than try to come up with the perfect survey by ourselves (and risk never getting it out the door!)

Related to that, there are some important things to note about the data and how we gathered it:

  • This iteration of the survey was very lean, focusing on nine key questions - covering gender identity, country and city/regional location, service design experience, title, current role/context/industry and annual salary range in USD.
  • We focused on base salary, and provided ranges rather than ask people to submit their specific salary.
  • We also asked folks to provide their salary in USD. While this is not an apples to apples comparison across countries due to things like cost of living and taxes, it does make it easier to visualize and represent the data, especially within a specific country. The survey is not intended to indicate whether a salary is low or high, or compare cost of living and taxes across countries. This is something that we will leave to you, the reader.
  • To emphasize the point above, the data only includes base salary, and we did not ask about bonuses, additional benefits and tax rates.
  • We asked ‘how many years of formal service design experience do you have?’ in order to understand how direct, specific service design experience relates to salary rate.
  • In an effort to gather service design-specific data, we understood that not everyone will have an explicit ‘service designer’ title - so we included variations on adjacent titles such as customer experience designer, and hoped that by circulating within the service design community, people who identify as service designers would self-select and answer the survey. It’s not perfect but gets the job done.

What's next 🎯

Feedback we heard from you

Thank you for all of your thoughtful feedback in the open-ended question at the end of the survey! We’re excited to make the 2022 of this salary survey even better.

The people have spoken, and here are the key things we heard over and over again:

  • A desire for more granular salary data - feeling that the ranges provided were too big, or the desire to submit a specific salary. Our hypothesis was that people may not be willing to provide their specific salaries, so it was interesting to see this feedback.
  • Wanting to understand service design compensation more holistically, including benefits, pensions, and other perks.
  • Curiosity about other intersecting aspects of identity beyond gender such as level of education, age, race and ethnicity.
  • Wanting information about day and hourly rates for freelance or independent service designers.
  • Desire to understand responsibilities and roles in more detail - e.g. size of company, team, people management responsibilities.


But, overwhelmingly, the biggest piece of feedback we heard was ‘THANK YOU!’, illustrating the desire and need for this type of resource for the community. Feedback like:

  • “Thanks for doing this!”
  • “So great to see this survey happening!”
  • “Was waiting for something like this, thank you. As a "new" job it's difficult to have an idea about it”
  • “Nice initiative! I've just dealt with this problem while changing jobs. Thanks.”


We’re looking forward to the next iteration! Thank you to everyone who took the time to share their knowledge, test, complete, and promote the survey, so that we can all be empowered with better data.

What did you find in the data?

Did you find something interesting in the data? We’d love to hear from you!

 Leave a comment down below and share it with the community.

If you have any questions or feedback about the report, feel free to reach out directly to us via (linkedin) or (twitter).

P.S. Need a different format?

We understand that Google Data Studio has some accessibility limitations. Please let us know if you require specific parts of the report in another format in order to explore the data effectively (such as PDF, .csv export). We will do our best to provide it for you.

One Response

  1. Hi Marc,

    Thanks so much for this valuable work! It means so much to me that we have a way to have transparency in the industry.

    I was sad and angry to see the gender bias in salaries still exists and in nearly every country. While I realize your work is helping to eliminate that by shedding light on salaries, I’m wondering if combining different job levels helps contributes to the discrepancy?

    For example, it makes sense that director of design, head of design, or VP of design get paid more than a service designer (or what ever title) of X years experience.

    When the salaries of a head of design are averaged with their direct reports it can skew that average, and since we know more men are in leadership roles in design (at least in the USA) I’m hopeful that perhaps that is a contributing factor to these gender differences in salaries?

    Essentially, I’m hopeful that the gender gap isn’t as pronounced as it appears…is there a way to sort the data by job title and back out the leadership roles to compare apples to apples in job titles?

    Lastly, for next year I’d be interested to see if people negotiated their salary as well.

    Thanks again for all your work on this!

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