2023 Salary Report

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How much can a service design professional earn? What other benefits can service designers get across different countries and industries? Do you need to graduate with a degree in Service Design to earn more? What level of salary will make you the happiest? What does the future look like for service designers in a global market?

The 2023 Service Design Salary Report aims to unveil the industry’s salary data and give you transparent information to make informed decisions about your career or hiring. Dive deeper into the answers from almost 1250 service design professionals to discover answers to your salary questions and much more. Many of our community members are using this report for their needs and rated the relevancy of our questions a 4.2 out of 5.

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Introduction

Welcome to the 2023 Service Design Salary Report. In the last two years, we’ve seen more than 6000 professionals use this data to help them with their careers. We’ve taken all your feedback and strived to improve in this next edition. This third publication features much more extensive data, a larger data set with record-high respondents, new questions diving deeper into the holistic offers available for service design professionals, and much more.

This report aims to be a tool for service design professionals to navigate their options as they progress in their careers. We believe that compensation transparency is the key to helping create a more inclusive and more mature field for everyone.

Further, this can help employers understand the current job market and expectations of service design professionals from all around the world so they can provide fair compensation for the talent they want.

7.3/10

Salary Satisfaction Rate
of Service Design professionals
Median Base Salary

across the globe

$62K

Down 9% compared to last year

Gender Bias

on average, women earn 12.5% less than men

12.5%

Last year the gap was 13.7%

Job Title

professionals with "service design" in their job title

48%

Declining two years in a row

Average age

of a Service Design professional

35

Same as last year

Who is this Report For?

So, why should we care about compensation transparency? It’s simple. It helps both service design professionals and employers looking to hire them.

For Professionals

  • Clear and accurate expectations. This provides the right expectations for those interested to get into a field and provides realistic perspectives.
  • Understand the value of the role across opportunities. This is a tool for you to better gauge opportunities and make the right decisions for your career.
  • Break the biases and promote inclusivity. Just like many other fields, service design still faces a gender gap in compensation. By publishing this, we hope to start conversations about these biases and help promote parity of compensation, equity, inclusivity and diversity in the field.

For Employers

  • More strategic offers. Sharing this compensation data will allow you to make informed decisions for the hiring process. You can now have a clear understanding of what’s at par with the market, country, and field you are in.
  • Increased hiring and retention rate. Collecting and publishing this data allows employers to gain insight into how to attract the talent they want and need.
  • Increase job satisfaction. By understanding the different factors that affect job satisfaction and compensation, you can provide better benefits and a working environment to boost their salary satisfaction score.

What Answers Can I Get From This Report?

Inside this report, you’ll be able to answer your most pressing questions such as these:
  • What is the average salary in a certain country?
  • How did the compensation of SD professionals develop over the last years?
  • Which industries have higher salaries?
  • What are the pay gaps and inequalities in SD?
  • Am I being paid fairly?

To make the most out of this salary report, we encourage you to take the time to understand the reading guide below. At first glance, the data can seem a bit overwhelming but we created a reading guide for you to help navigate this report more easily.

The data is organized into various lenses of analysis that act as your entry point. Each of these lenses can help you combine data points such as salary satisfaction and the country to answer your questions more in-depth. You can understand more about how to use the lenses in the reading guide below.

Please remember that this report only serves as a compass. It’s not a map. While you hopefully will be able to find valuable insights to guide your career, it is only a representation of the salary situation and isn’t definitive by any means.

To better understand the context of the respondents and how this report can help you make informed decisions, please read the background and context.

How to Get the Most Out of This Report

Like what we shared above, there are many data points available for you to explore and draw out your own insights. To get started, there are 14 lenses used in this report to organize and present the data.

We’ve made sure to use these different lenses to provide you with the information you need. Each lens represents a starting point (of a question). So, if you are interested in knowing if working more hours leads to a higher salary, you would take the "working hours" lens as your starting point. If you want to know how much a senior service design professional earns you would take the "seniority level" lens as your starting point.

Each of the lenses breaks down the data to help you answer the questions you have and find what’s relevant specifically to you. If there’s anything you want to discover more or feel like we’ve missed, do let us know so we can do our best to add it to the report or provide you with that data.

Getting Started

There are over 30000 data points in this report. Don’t worry, this may seem daunting but we can suggest a simple way for you to start navigating this goldmine of data.

  1. Start with the High-Level Overview and work your way downwards. This report is designed to present the data as simply as possible. From there, you might have some specific questions in mind. If so, you can start with step 2.

  2. Deep dive into the report by exploring the different lenses to answer your questions. You can use the provided filters to tailor the information to your needs.

You can also check out the video below for tips on navigating the report, such as using filters to break down data and make comparisons. If you need additional help using this report, just leave a comment down below.

The data is provided in an interactive format rather than a static PDF so you can tailor it to your needs. It’s up to you which questions you want to ask this data set, what’s interesting to you, and how you interpret what you see.

Finally, it’s important that you’re getting the full picture. Please see the background story for more information about other important factors that influence salary as well as some points to consider about this report.

The Salary Report

We invite you to explore and navigate the lenses and visualizations below to get answers to the questions most relevant to you.

We’re curious what you’ll find, so let’s dig in!

High Level Overview

01

Glance at salaries and additional benefits by country. Then use the chapters that follow to investigate factors such as gender and work experience. Note that amounts are before taxes and don’t consider things like cost of living.

“Other” represents countries with fewer than five respondents (roughly 5% of total respondents).

Select countries to compare:

Who responded

02
Get to know the respondents by going through the following charts. You can select the country that you’re most interested in and find out different aspects of the respondents’ profiles such as gender, position, work experience, and job titles.
Select your country:

Ikigai

03

Ikigai is a Japanese term that means "reason for being" or finding one's life purpose. We introduced this question in the survey to gain a better understanding of what drives and motivates service design professionals. It provides a more detailed and nuanced answer compared to the Satisfaction Score.

Respondents were asked to select which of the following options applied to them: "I enjoy my work" (💚), "I am good at my work" (💪), "The world needs what I do" (🌍), and "I get paid fairly for my work" (💰). They could choose as many options as they wanted. The percentages in the chart indicate how many respondents selected each option.

Select your country:
Ikigai percentages

Gender bias

04

Just like previous years, we’ve seen similar struggles with the gender pay gap in the field. We are still a long way to providing inclusive compensation and equal opportunities for all SD professionals – no matter their gender. The truth is inclusivity goes beyond gender. Race, immigration status, and more also play a huge role in bias but we have not included those in this study. See below if it affects your country.

It is important to represent every person in this section of the survey. So, we have aggregated other data as “other responses” so that we can continue to be as accurate as possible while protecting the privacy of our participants.

Select your country:

Position

05

SD professionals can work in many contexts. Namely, there are in-house SD professionals that are full-time or part-time employees in a certain company, others who work at an agency, and some who are independent freelancers. Select your country to learn more about how each context can affect your salary.

Would working at an agency provide you with higher compensation? Or would the benefits outweigh compensation in a full-time in-house position?

Select your country:

Work experience

06
You would expect that having more work experience results in a higher salary. But is that the case? And if so, how big is that difference? The charts in this chapter help us to uncover the facts. The overview is broken down into overall work experience and service design related work experience.
Select your country:

Seniority level

07
What is the salary gap between junior and mid-level team members? How much do entry-level service designers get paid? And does career advancement increase your satisfaction score? Explore these charts to see how job level can affect your salary and happyness.
Select your country:

Job title & previous role

08
Our field is a mashup of different titles, roles, and job descriptions. Because of this, service designers go by many different job titles depending on the company you work for. How does that influence your salary? How will having “service design” in your official title have a positive impact your salary? Let’s find out!
Select your country:

Industry

09
Service design is (needed) everywhere and in every single business. As long as the business is interacting with humans, a service design professional can provide immense value. We asked you what industries you work in. And of course how that impacts your salary and satisfaction. These charts also give us an indication of the industries who are more eager to hire service design talent. Useful for you next job hunt!
Select your country:

Company size

10
Another important question we asked you is about the size of the company you work in. Is it helpful to look for a job in a large tech firm or would a small agency compensate fairly too? Find your answers below.
Select your country:

Work hours

11

Who works the most? We asked you to share how many hours, on average, you work per week. Not what’s in your contract but the hours you actually clock in. You can explore the data by country and then break it down in different dimensions. Play around it and see what you uncover.

We’re solely focussing on work hours in this chapter and not salary as there are too many factors at play to make a meaningful apples to apples comparison.

Select your country:
Select area of interest:
Average number of work hours per week

Remote work

12

Remote work was a big thing in last year's report. This year we asked you again which percentage of your work happens remotely. A lot of interesting insights emerge from these charts. Take a guess: Are in-house service designers or agency folks more in the office? The answer is in the charts below.

In a future update we’ll add last year's data to the chart so you can a year over year comparison.

Select your country:
Select area of interest:
Percentage of work done remotely

Degrees

13
Who holds a formal service design degree? Are you more likely to find SD professionals with a degree in the US or Finland? And what is the difference between genders? You can even look at the salary ranges to find the one with the highest percentage of service design graduates.
Select your country:
Select area of interest:
Percentage of respondents with a formal service design degree

Negotiation

14
Who negotiates their salary? Discover which industries are more open to negotiation and explore the cultural differences between countries. You can also see whether juniors or seniors tend to come up with a counter offer. This is a fun one!
Select your country:
Select area of interest:
Who negotiates their salary the most?

The Background Story

Why Is This Report Important?

This report was created by and for service design professionals. We understand that salary and benefits are affected by many factors and we aim to showcase that in this research. May it be the different benefits in a package, the macro factors like industry and country, or even the individual factors of the candidate and position like seniority level, previous role, and more.

With a relatively new field, service design professionals and employers often don’t have a clear understanding of how to value the role and compensate accordingly. By providing transparency, we can change that. As we provide more information readily available for both professionals and employers, this can help mature the field and grow the credibility of the industry.

Notes on Salaries

It’s important to note that work conditions have changed in the last few years. Given the recent global pandemic, work-from-home is commonplace, and more global opportunities are now made available. This is one of the reasons why we must understand that while important, salary is not the only factor in job satisfaction. We even found from our surveys that those in higher salary scales aren’t much happier.

Compensation packages can have many more additional benefits such as health insurance and bonuses that can be better perceived by potential employees. Other intangible benefits can also include skill fit, brand recognition, great team and colleagues, and finding their purpose in the role. This report showcases some of the other benefits that can be available for service designers too.

One of the key factors we’ve introduced in this year's survey is the question on Ikigai.

Differences from Last Year

In the spirit of continuous improvement, this year’s survey is even more expansive than the first two editions. We have considered the feedback from our community and added the following data points to help you gain even more insights:

  • Previous roles
  • Salary negotiation
  • Formal service design degrees
  • Ikigai

These additions are created to help you get a better understanding of the respondents' backgrounds and perspectives that influence their overall Salary Satisfaction Score.

Ikigai

Ikigai is a Japanese philosophy that directly translates to ‘a reason for being’. It aims to explain something that gives a person a sense of purpose or a reason for living. Usually, it is believed to be the key factor for long-term happiness in a job or career. It is the intersection of what you love, what the world needs, what you are good at and what you can be paid for.

In the survey, we asked what aspects of Ikigai apply to their current role. This can help you gain more insight into the different factors that can affect salary satisfaction.

Methodology

To understand deeper and provide more accurate insights, you can see here the details about the data collected and the limitations of the study.

Limitations and Considerations

While we strive to be as accurate and representative of the community as a whole, no survey can be completely definitive. We’re proud to continuously improve and work on building a more extensive report year after year to get the valuable insights you may need. However, please note that there are some limitations to keep in mind because of the sample size and scope of the respondents.
  1. Diversity

    We did our best to reach as many people from diverse backgrounds as possible, but the respondents still only represent a subsection of our global community. We also understand that some professionals prefer not to fill out surveys or share information about their careers, so the data doesn’t accurately represent every service design community. We’re committed to expanding our reach to those who would like to participate, and we welcome you to leave a comment if you have ideas on how to better involve these communities next year.

  2. Accuracy

    Some countries, levels, and respondent sub-groups have a lower number of respondents thus it can be less accurate to the sub-group it represents. More respondents in the future will be helpful for us to get a clearer, more precise picture.

    Context

    Using just one lens most likely cannot answer your question completely and definitively. It’s important to understand the context to get a good grasp of the situation. For example, service design professionals in the Netherlands may have a high salary but could have many senior-level professionals that answered the survey. It’s important to make the most out of the data by exploring the lens available.

What's next

We believe that the report, as it stands now, is valuable, but we recognize that there is always room for improvement. In fact, we already have several ideas on how to enhance it further. Here are a few of the improvements we are considering:
  • Making the report more accessible across various devices
  • Adding the option to compare data from prior years
  • Enhancing the clarity and readability of the language used
  • Providing an option to easily download charts
  • Exploring additional data visualization methods beyond our current bar chart format
  • Clarifying what falls under the "other" categories
  • Adding filtering capabilities to exclude outliers from the data
Do you have any suggestions or feedback on how we can make the report even more useful? We'd love to hear from you! Please leave a comment below or send us a message at team@servicedesignjobs.com.

Acknowledgment

This report would not be possible without our community. This has been built for, by, and with service design professionals and we wouldn’t be here without their input. So, if you’ve participated or helped spread the word on our survey, thank you!

A huge thank you also to our esteemed partners. We appreciate all the support from these respected organizations that have joined us to break biases, provide compensation transparency, and create a better work environment for fellow service design professionals.

As we close out this year’s salary report, we must thank all the others that have provided help and support along the way.

marc fonteijn

About the Author

This Service Design Salary Report is an initiative from Service Design Jobs, the first and only online collection of updated opportunities related to real service design jobs from around the world. Committed to providing tools, and opportunities, and transforming the careers of fellow service designers, this initiative is led by Marc Fonteijn.

Marc Fonteijn is the founder of Service Design Jobs and the Service Design Show. With over 15 years of experience in the field, he has made it a mission to provide service design professionals with any help needed to take their careers to the next level.

FAQ

Respondents provided values in USD. Those using a different currency did the manual conversion, and the exchange rate at that moment applies. This was done to give a global benchmark to compare different geographic locations. Although you should be mindful of the limitations when making these cross-country comparisons.

No. The report presents gross salaries and does not consider taxes or the cost of living.

“Other” represents all the respondents from countries that had fewer than five respondents (roughly 5% of total respondents).

This metric is calculated as the average rating given by respondents to the question "How satisfied are you with your total compensation?" The rating scale ranged from 1 (lowest) to 10 (highest).

We know, it seems like we're obsessed with bar charts! While we did experiment with other types of charts, we found that the bar chart was often the most effective and easy-to-read option for displaying the data. Plus, it looks great on screens of all sizes. That being said, if you're using the report to write an article or tell a specific story, you may find that another type of chart would work better. If you're on that journey and need some guidance, please don't hesitate to get in touch with us. We're always happy to help!

If anything this report represents a snapshot in time of a portion of the service design field. With a sample size of about 1200 respondents, it’s not wise to draw any definitive conclusions. Treat it as a compass rather than a map. Also, in most cases, the given salary was an estimate instead of an exact number due to the nature of some of their professions (project-based, part-time, etc.). These factors influence the data you see in this report.

All the data represented in this report was collected in November 2022.

Yes. Our respondents’ privacy is important to us, and we don’t collect any personally identifiable information such as names or email addresses. Where appropriate, the data have been aggregated to protect the privacy of participants. For example, we observe gender aggregation to preserve the privacy of respondents.

You can email us at team@servicedesignjobs.com to request a copy.

Unfortunately, there isn't a PDF version of the report available right now. We designed the report to be interactive so that you can sort and filter the data according to your specific needs and preferences. This allows you to personalize your experience with the report and explore the data in a more flexible way. By not offering a static PDF document, we avoid making assumptions about the information that you might find most valuable.

Please let us know if you would like specific parts of the report in another format to easily explore the data (such as PDF or CSV export). Requests are reviewed case by case and we’ll do our best to provide them for you.

This report is created by the Service Design Jobs team for the service design professional community. We have issued a Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0) license that allows anyone in the world to use this study in any manner consistent with its terms. If you have questions or doubts about your specific case please get in touch.

Join Us!

This report was created for the community and it relies heavily on feedback from you. If the data inspired new questions that you’d like us to investigate, or you didn’t find what you were looking for, we want to know! Feel free to leave a comment or reach out to us via team@servicedesignjobs.com with any suggestions, feedback, or ideas for perspectives we missed.

Be part of the mission and help us serve more members of our community. By answering our quick survey, we want to promote transparency, break biases, and help create more success in our community.

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3 comments on “Service Design Salary Report 2023”

  1. Thank you as always for putting this together and providing transparency to aid us as practitioners. I have been responding for the past two years! If I am using this to help negotiate my salary, it would help to have more granularity on the responses. For instance, simply showing median SD salary in the US doesn’t show the distribution of responses or how that might compare against years of SD experience vs. in-house/agency/independent.

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