How much does a graduate web designer get paid in 2018?

There’s one question that floats around our industry a lot, and it’s this one more than anything else.

How much will I get paid?

Unfortunately the question isn’t the easiest thing in the world to answer because there’s lots of variables to consider.

As a graduate looking to get your first job in the creative and digital sector your potential salary has a lot of room for movement.

Depending on the variables below, your starting salary could be anything from £12,000 to £22,000. We typically see somewhere in the middle of that figure, around £15,000/£16,000.

London or Barnsley?

Probably the most important variable is location. Not only is there more opportunities available in different locations, but you’ll command a higher salary in a large city than you will in a smaller one. You’ll get paid more in London than you would do in the area where we’re based—Barnsley.

However, the competition will be much more fierce in London and everything else will be more expensive too, so in the end things will even out.

It’s all about experience

Then you’ve got the next variable: experience. If you’re new to the industry you can expect to earn a lot less than someone with much more experience, but I imagine you’d already guessed that one.

There’s more to this that it first seems though. Some agencies want to know that they’re employing a safe pair of hands, and often the easiest way for them to work that out is if you’ve got prior—and proven—experience at other agencies.

If you’ve been around a while and managed to hold down a job it probably means you’re not completely useless, so it can be an easy way for agencies to understand your skills.

There’s still lots of variance even amongst experience though, as some agencies will define a “Junior” as different years of experience. Some agencies may consider somebody with 3 years experience a junior, whereas elsewhere it might just be 1 year.

Having a particular set of skills

The final most important variable is skills. What you know matters, and certain skills command higher salaries than others. .NET developers for example are notoriously hard to find so they charge a lot for their services. Somebody who knows HTML and CSS are more common, so they tend to earn a little bit less.

Knowing the basics

Before you can command the big money you do still need to know the basics of being a web designer. In 2018 you’re expected to know:

  1. HTML
  2. CSS
  3. SCSS/LESS
  4. Responsive Web Design
  5. A basic knowledge of task-runners such as Gulp
  6. Basic JavaScript
  7. An understanding of UX Design and the main packages: Adobe XD, Sketch and for some people Photoshop

There’s lots more on top of this, but these are the basics you should be continually working on throughout your career.

Our [re]start course focuses on a wider range of knowledge that makes you employable in a wider range of job roles.

It’s always important to remember that the majority of the creative and digital industries is made up of small agencies of around 5-10 people. These kinds of agencies need people who have a wide range of knowledge and have the ability to dip in and out of lots of different projects.

I don’t believe it’s a good idea when you first start your career to be specialising. The start of your career is a good time to get experience and experiment.

Try out as many different things as you can and see which one you enjoy the most.

Survey: so how much do you get paid?

We’re keen to develop our own data for 2018 on how much you’re getting paid in the creative industries. If you’re interested in taking part just fill out our form below. Your response is completely anonymous, but your data is really valuable to us.

It’ll help us better inform our students of how much they will get paid when they complete their course with much more accurate data than is already available online.