2017 Salary Guide Lists Ranges for 120 Creative and Marketing Jobs

According to The Creative Group 2017 Salary Guide, starting compensation for creative professionals is expected to increase 3.6 percent in 2017. In-demand positions such as user experience and mobile designers are likely to see even bigger gains.

The 9 creative and marketing professionals listed below will be in the greatest demand and shortest supply in 2017. Compared to 2016 salary ranges, their starting compensation is expected to be higher than the 3.6 percent average received by all 120 positions covered in the Salary Guide.

  • Front-End Web Developer (1-3 years’ experience): 7.2%
  • Mobile Designer: 6.8%
  • User Experience (UX) Designer (3-5 years’ experience): 6.1%
  • Content Strategist: 5.4%
  • Visual Designer: 5.3%
  • Project Manager: 4.6%
  • Digital Strategist: 4.5%
  • Interactive/Web Copywriter (1-5 years’ experience): 4.4%
  • Marcom Manager (5+ years’ experience): 4.2%

Setting the Right Salary Matters

“Hiring creative talent is getting increasingly harder as demand remains strong and unemployment rates in the industry continue to trend below the average,” said Diane Domeyer, executive director of The Creative Group. “Since it’s a candidate’s market, employers must step up their recruitment efforts to secure the talent they seek.”

When The Creative Group surveyed 400 marketing and advertising executives about their biggest recruiting challenges, compensation ranked high on the list. When the executives were asked to name the most common reason candidates turn down job offers, 27 percent said it’s because the compensation and benefits were lower than the candidate expected.

“Salary may not be the only consideration for job seekers, but companies that aren’t paying competitively stand little chance of attracting and landing highly skilled candidates,” said Domeyer.

Top 4 Hiring Trends

The Creative Group 2017 Salary Guide highlighted four key trends that hiring managers should consider.

Timing is everything. Because top candidates often receive multiple offers, organizations should move quickly. When faced with a lengthy hiring process, 39% of candidates lose interest or pursue other opportunities.

Skilled talent is in short supply. The unemployment rates for specialized positions are typically lower than the national rate.

Education is essential. More than 95 percent of jobs created during the recovery have gone to individuals with some college education.

Temporary is becoming permanent. Firms are bringing in freelancers instead of letting jobs sit vacant. This gives employers more time to recruit or determine if the temporary project professional is the right fit for a full-time role.

“Creatives with skills outside their specialty are highly marketable. In addition, digital proficiency is becoming a prerequisite for many traditional roles. For example, graphic designers need to be familiar with web layouts or social media and copywriters must have knowledge of search engine optimization.”

About the Guide

Whether you are a job-seeker or employer, The Creative Group 2017 Salary Guide can be a useful tool. It features starting salary ranges for more than 120 positions in the creative field. Positions are grouped in five categories.

Design and Production positions include creative director, creative services manager, art director, production manager, studio manager, traffic manager, illustrator, graphic designer, package designer, 3D animator, multimedia designers, presentation specialist, and production artist.
Interactive Design and Production jobs include interactive creative director, interaction designer, visual designer, user experience director, user experience specialist, user experience researcher, web designer, email designer, HTML developer, front-end web developer, interactive producer, web production artist, motion designer, video producer, video editor, mobile designer, and mobile developer.

Content Development and Management jobs include copywriter, proposal writer, curriculum developer/writer, instructional systems designer, interactive/web copywriter, blogger, copy editor, proofreader, content manager, content marketing manager, and content strategist.

Advertising and Marketing positions include chief marketing officer, marketing director, marketing communications manager, business development manager, creative director, account director, account executive, account coordinator, account planner/strategist, digital strategist, event/trade-show coordinator, social media manager, SEO specialist, email marketing specialist, marketing analytics specialist, and market researchers.

Public Relations jobs include account manager/supervisor, senior account executive, account coordinator, public relations director, and public relations specialist.

The salary data included in the guide comes primarily from The Creative Group’s North American staffing and recruiting professionals. They make thousands of full-time, temporary, and project placements each year.

The ranges published in the guide represent national averages but can be adjusted for local markets by using local variance numbers included in the guide. For example, a starting salary in Los Angeles might be 130 percent of the national average whereas a starting salary in Sioux City, Iowa might be 85 percent of the national average.

The Creative Group is a division of Robert Half, the world’s largest specialized staffing firm. The Creative Group connects companies with highly skilled interactive design, marketing, advertising, and public relations talent. The Creative Group provides flexible staffing solutions by placing candidates on a project, contract-to-hire, or full-time basis.


Starting Salaries Will Be Up Significantly for Eight Technology and Creative Jobs

As companies increase their focus on digital strategy, starting salaries are rising for professionals with expertise in this area. The 2016 Salary Guides from staffing specialists Robert Half Technology and The Creative Group show that base salaries in the technology and creative fields are expected to increase 5.3 percent and 3.8 percent, respectively, in the coming year. But some roles are projected to see even bigger pay bumps.

“Companies continue to struggle to find professionals who can help create seamless digital experiences – from collecting and analyzing customer data to building secure e-commerce environments to providing intuitive, easy-to-navigate websites,” said John Reed, senior executive director of Robert Half Technology and The Creative Group. “Strong demand and a limited supply of professionals with digital competencies have put job seekers in the driver’s seat. Businesses risk losing good people to prospective employers who promise more money or new challenges.”

The following eight high-paying jobs are expected to see substantial increases in average starting salary in 2016, according to the Robert Half Salary Guides*: Compared to 2015 starting salaries, the eight positions below will see starting salaries from 5.9% to 9.7% higher than in 2015.

  • Wireless Network Engineer: Up 9.7% over 2015
  • Big Data Engineer: Up 8.9% over 2015
  • Data Scientist: Up 8.9% over 2015
  • Mobile Applications Developer: Up 8.2% over 2015
  • Content Strategist: Up 8.1% over 2015
  • Multimedia Designer: Up 6.3% over 2015
  • User Experience (UX) Specialist: Up 5.9% over 2015
  • User Interface (UI) Developer: Up 5.9% over 2015


More information about these and other potentially high-paying career opportunities, including job descriptions, can be found in the Robert Half Technology 2016 Salary Guide, which includes a wide range of information technology positions, and The Creative Group 2016 Salary Guide, which focuses on interactive, design and marketing jobs.

Both Robert Half Technology (rht.com) and The Creative Group (creativegroup.com) are divisions of Robert Half, the world’s first and largest specialized staffing firm.

The Creative Group 2016 Salary Guide Provides Ranges for 120+ Positions

The Creative Group  (TCG) has released its 2016 Salary Guide. The free 32-page guide features salary ranges for more than 120 positions in the creative industry.  The positions are grouped into five categories:

  • Design and Production
  • Interactive Design and Production
  • Content Development and Management
  • Advertising and Marketing
  • Public Relations

According to Robert Half analysts, creative and marketing staff can expect average starting salary gains of 3.8 percent next year.


Content strategy and mobile development roles are in particularly high demand as organizations focus heavily on initiatives that enable them to connect with customers anytime and anywhere.

The guide also includes local variance numbers that enable employers to calculate the adjusted low-to-high salary range for specific cities. For example, average starting salaries in Cedar Falls, Iowa are about 87% of the U.S. average salaries published in this guide. In San Diego, California, the average starting salaries about 123% of the U.S. average salaries.

The content is directed at potential employers of full-time, part-time, contract-to-hire, and freelance creative professionals. It includes sections on:

  • Seven Sizzling Hiring Trends
  • Eight Essentials of an Award-Winning Team
  • Qualities to Look for In Job Candidates
  • Hiring for Your Environment

According to the guide: “Employees at all levels who specialize in mobile and responsive design continue to be in strong demand. Professionals skilled at creating content for the small screen are also become more sought after as wearables and other mobile devices gain in popularity.”

TCG identified eight essentials of an award-winning creative team:

  • a digital strategist
  • content strategist
  • user experience designer
  • visual designer
  • graphic designer
  • user interface developer
  • front-end web developer
  • web content writer

Three new roles that bubbling up in the creative world include: creative technologist; customer experience designer; marketing automation manager.

Hiring Trends

In addition to identifying salary ranges, the guide includes tips for hiring the right creative professionals for your particular company culture, retaining the best talent, and working with freelancers.

For example, the guide advises companies to “Highlight the unique attributes of your workplace culture on your website and in job postings. Make sure your hiring managers can easily articulate why your business is a great place to work.” The TCG guide also notes that “Many workers who feel they deserve a raise won’t even ask for one before deciding to resign.”

Employers should benchmark their salaries proactively against those of other companies in their region and industry. “In addition to offering competitive pay, employers need to consider salary discussions more often than the scheduled annual review.”

Freelancers Are Hot

In the “What’s Hot” list of “7 Sizzling Hiring Trends,” the report notes that “Indie creatives are in demand.” Agencies and in-house creative departments are using freelancers to help manage workloads and provide specialized skills that don’t exist internally: “In many cases, they are extending full-time offers to consultants who have proved successful in their roles.”

About The Creative Group

The Creative Group is a division of Robert Half, a global leader in professional staffing and consulting services. TCG specializes in placing interactive design, design, and marketing professionals on a project, contract-to-hire, and full-time basis.


The Creative Group 2016 Salary Guide

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The Creative Group’s 2014 Salary Guide Lists Eight In-Demand Jobs

TCG-Salary-Barista-Cover2The 2014 Salary Guide for professionals in creative and marketing fields is now available free from the website of The Creative Group. Entitled “Salary Barista,” the guide serves up fresh data on the average starting compensation levels for 134 different jobs.

The Design and Production category lists salaries for 34 jobs, including Creative Director, Art Director, Studio Manager, Medical Illustrator, 3D Animator, Package Designer, and Presentation Specialist.

The Interactive category lists 26 jobs such as Interactive Creative Director, Game Designer, Blogger, Motion Designer, Web Production Artist, Video Editor, and Mobile Developer.

The Content Development and Management section provides salaries for 15 positions such as Copywriter, Medical Writer, Curriculum Developer, Proposal Writer, Copy Editor, and Content Manager.

The Advertising and Marketing category includes salary ranges for 49 corporate and/or agency jobs. Agency jobs include President, Account Manager, and Social Media Account Manager. Corporate jobs include Chief Marketing Officer, Marketing Director, and MarCom Specialist. Jobs that can be found in either an agency or corporate setting include Media Director, Brand/Product Manager, Web Analytics Specialist, Event/Trade Show Manager, and Market Researcher.

The Public Relations category lists salaries for 5 agency jobs such as Account Executive and VP/Group Director and 5 corporate jobs such as Public Relations Director and Public Relations Manager.

For each position, the guide lists national average low and high starting salaries. To determine the estimated salary range for positions in your city, use the “variance numbers” listed on page 12 and 13 of the guide.

For example, jobs based in Chicago have a 123.0 variance number; jobs in Fort Wayne, Indiana have an 81.0 variance number. If the national average starting stalary for a content manager ranges from $62,500 to $83,000, the salary range in Chicago would be 1.23 times higher (i.e., $76,875 to $102,090). In Fort Wayne, the salary would be 0.81 of the $62,500 to $83,000 range (i.e., $50,525 to $67,230).

Eight in-Demand Jobs

Salary Barista lists the eight most in-demand creative and marketing jobs and describes the required skills. The eight jobs include:

  • Digital Project Manager
  • Front-End Web Developer
  • Interactive Marketing Manager
  • Mobile Designer
  • SEO/SEM Specialist
  • User Experience (UX) Designer
  • Web Content Writer
  • Web Designer

The guide notes a continuing shortage of creative talent with digital expertise, particularly in the field of mobile design: “Companies need people who can help them develop content for small screens…Responsive design also is becoming a greater priority for businesses that want to provide customers with optimal experiences on their devices and browsers of choice.”

According to a recent study conducted by The Creative Group, more than half (52 percent) of the 400 marketing and advertising executives surveyed said it’s challenging to find skilled creative professionals today.

In a section listing five hot trends affecting hiring, the authors of Salary Barista observe that “Professionals with in-demand skills recognize that they have more choices in the current employment market and are open to pursuing new avenues, even if it means leaving a stable job. Consequently, managers are redoubling their efforts to retain top performers.”

Freelancers Bring Flexibility and Specialized Skills

To help manage heavy workloads and access specialized skills, organizations are bringing in freelancers more frequently (and for longer periods).

In a section that promotes the benefits of flexible staffing, the Salary Barista notes that, “The percentage of people who are working on a temporary or part-time basis is rising – for a variety of reasons. Specialists at very high levels often choose interim assignments over full-time work because of the schedule flexibility and diversity of projects this option provides.”

The “Salary Barista” 2014 Salary Guide includes

  • four characteristics to look for in creative talent
  • tips on preparing job offers applicants can’t refuse
  • statistics on perks and willingness to negotiate compensation

Starting Salaries Up for Creatives and Other Professionals in 2014

A division of the Robert Half professional staffing services agency, The Creative Group specializes in placing interactive, design, and marketing professionals on a project and full-time basis.

The salary guide for creative and marketing professionals was one of five salary guides released by Robert Half this week. Robert Half also released salary guides for professionals in accounting and financial services, information technology, legal services, and office and administrative support.

Overall, starting salaries for professionals in U.S. are expected to increase an average of 3.7 percent in 2014.

Technology positions are expected to see the largest gains among the fields researched with a 5.6 percent increase in the average salary for newly hired workers. Accounting and finance professionals can expect starting salaries to rise an average of 3.4 percent.

Salaries for professionals in creative fields in the U.S. are expected to be up by an average of 3.3 percent, as are starting salaries for administrative and support staff. The starting salaries for legal professionals are expected to rise 2.7 percent.

Robert Half has been publishing salary guides for businesses owners, hiring managers, and professionals since 1952. Ongoing salaries are not reported because salary increases are affected by factors such as seniority, work ethic, job performance, and training.


The Creative Group 2014 Salary Guide

The Creative Group

Robert Half

Robert Half Salary Guides

Survey Says Creative Pros Can Seek Higher Starting Salaries

A new survey by The Creative Group suggests that talented creative professionals who accept an initial job offer may be leaving money on the table. More than six in 10 (63 percent) advertising and marketing executives interviewed said they are at least somewhat willing to negotiate compensation when extending a job offer to a top candidate.  Only 28 percent of respondents said they are not.


The national survey was developed by The Creative Group, a specialized staffing service for interactive, design, marketing, advertising and public relations professionals. The survey was conducted by an independent research firm and is based on more than 500 telephone interviews — approximately 375 with marketing executives from companies with 100 or more employees and 125 with advertising executives from agencies with 20 or more employees.

Advertising and marketing executives were asked, “When extending a job offer to a top candidate, how willing are you to negotiate compensation?” Their responses:

  • Very willing:  23%
  • Somewhat willing: 40%
  •  Not very willing:  14%
  •  Not at all willing: 14%
  •  Don’t know/no answer: 9%

“Job seekers often have more leverage than they realize when negotiating a starting salary,” said Donna Farrugia , executive director of The Creative Group. “Businesses that have gone through the process of selecting a top candidate are motivated to hire that person, even if they have to sweeten the deal.”

Farrugia warned, however, that salary negotiation conversations are delicate and can easily go off track. She said, “Applicants who thoroughly prepare are more likely to have positive outcomes.”

Common Mistakes in Salary Negotiations

The Creative Group offers five common salary negotiation mistakes and how to avoid them:

Showing up unprepared. Enter negotiations with a solid understanding of current salary trends for your position and location. Review compensation sources, such as The Creative Group 2013 Salary Guide, to ensure you have realistic expectations.

Playing games. Tactics such as misleading a prospective employer about your current salary or other job offers in an effort to obtain higher pay almost always backfire. It’s better to be honest about your situation.

Making it all about you. Don’t base your request for a larger starting salary on the fact that you want a new car or bigger down payment for a home. You’ll make a much more compelling argument by talking about the value you can bring to the organization.

Viewing money as the only object. Salary is just one part of the equation; a generous benefits package or opportunities to learn and grow with the company may compensate for a lower starting salary. Look at the full picture when evaluating a job offer.

Drawing a line in the sand. Giving ultimatums too early in the process may cause negotiations to fall apart. Instead, look for common ground and avoid taking an adversarial stance. How you conduct yourself during the negotiation process sets the tone for employment with the firm, and you want to start on the right foot.


The Creative Group

The Creative Group 2013 Salary Guide


Six Jobs Likely to See Above-Average Salary Gains in 2013

According to the recently released 2013 Salary Guides from Robert Half Technology and The Creative Group, several positions in the information technology (IT) and creative fields are likely to see above-average salary gains in the coming year. The increase in compensation levels is due to high demand for these professionals as organizations enhance their digital presence and boost investments in IT infrastructure.

“Salaries are rising for candidates who can help organizations leverage new technologies to increase efficiencies, gain business insights and produce superior customer experiences,” said John Reed, senior executive director of Robert Half Technology and The Creative Group. “In some cases, there’s a shortage of individuals available to fill these highly specialized positions, which is driving up starting compensation levels.”

Below are six hot design and technology jobs in 2013, along with their anticipated average starting salaries in 2013. (The salaries are U.S. national averages based on data published in the 2013 Salary Guides from Robert Half Technology and The Creative Group. Actual salary ranges may vary depending on location.)

Mobile applications developers: As companies strive to reach consumers on smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices, they need professionals who can develop for the small screen. Average starting salaries for mobile applications developers are expected to rise 9 percent, with compensation ranging from $92,750 to $133,500.

Interactive creative directors: As companies of all sizes add interactive roles, they seek professionals with superb leadership skills and digital expertise to manage these growing teams. Interactive creative directors can anticipate a 4.9 percent bump in base compensation, with average starting salaries ranging from $95,500 to $160,000.

Interaction designers: The best interaction designers step into the shoes of a company’s customers and maximize their online experiences. These professionals understand the connections between people and products. Those with one to five years of experience should see a gain of 4.9 percent, to between $52,250 and $77,500.

User experience (UX) designers: Since so much customer interaction happens online, companies are looking for workers who can create positive digital experiences. UX designers can expect a 4.8 percent salary increase, with starting compensation of $73,750 to $110,500.

Business intelligence analysts: These individuals assist firms in making critical business decisions by gathering and analyzing data to better target marketing efforts. Business intelligence analysts should see a gain of 7.3 percent, with starting salaries ranging from $94,250 to $132,500.

Network architects: These individuals provide the backbone of a company’s communication infrastructure. They assess business and applications requirements for corporate data and voice networks, making it possible for data to be shared. Network architects are forecast to receive a 7 percent starting salary boost, to between $102,250 and $146,500, on average.

More information about the positions listed above can be found in the Robert Half Technology 2013 Salary Guide, which includes a wide range of IT job descriptions, and The Creative Group 2013 Salary Guide, which focuses on interactive, design and marketing jobs.


The Creative Group

The Creative Group 2013 Salary Guide

Robert Half Technology

Robert Half Technology 2013 Salary Guide

Starting Salaries for Creative Pros Projected to Rise in 2013

According to the newly released “2013 Salary Guide” from The Creative Group, starting salaries for creative and marketing professionals are expected to rise an average of 3.5 percent in the coming year. Interactive creative directors, interaction designers and mobile designers are among the positions projected to see the highest gains in base compensation in 2013.

The “2013 Salary Guide” features average starting salary ranges for 127 interactive, design and marketing positions. The data can be customized for more than 135 markets in the United States and is available at www.creativegroup.com/salarycenter. The Salary Center has additional information on skills and positions in demand, and The Creative Group’s Salary Calculator, which allows visitors to the site to quickly compute salaries for a specific position and city.

“The growth of online, mobile and social media content has created strong demand for professionals with digital expertise. In fact, many companies and agencies are creating new interactive positions and can’t seem to fill them fast enough given the shortage of available skilled talent,” said Donna Farrugia, executive director of The Creative Group. “As a result, compensation increases for many digital roles are expected to exceed the industry average.”

According to data in the “2013 Salary Guide,” certain positions are anticipated to see notable salary increases.

Interactive creative directors and mobile developers can anticipate the biggest bump in base compensation (4.9 percent), with average starting salaries ranging from $95,500 to $160,000 and $80,250 to $113,250, respectively.

Interaction designers with one to five years of experience also should see a gain of 4.9 percent, to between $52,250 and $77,500.

User experience designers are forecast to receive a 4.8 percent salary increase, with starting compensation of $73,750 to $110,500.

Projected base pay for mobile designers and game designers is expected to be up 4.8 percent as well, with average starting salaries of $63,000 to $96,000 and $59,500 to $93,500, respectively.

“Creative professionals who possess a combination of strong design, technical and interpersonal abilities continue to be among the most desirable to employers, regardless of job title or experience level,” added Farrugia. “In fact, it’s not uncommon for many of these well-rounded candidates to receive multiple job offers.”

About the Salary Guide

Since 1999, The Creative Group (TCG) has produced its annual Salary Guide to offer business owners, hiring managers and professionals information on prevailing starting salaries in their geographic areas and insight into the latest employment trends in the creative field. Companies consult the guide to determine appropriate compensation for creative and marketing professionals at all levels.

In addition, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics has used the guide when preparing its comprehensive “Occupational Outlook Handbook.”

Information in the guide is based on the thousands of job searches, negotiations and placements managed each year by TCG’s staffing and recruiting managers, along with the company’s ongoing surveys of advertising and marketing executives. Continuing or ongoing salaries are not reported because many external factors — such as seniority, work ethic, job performance and training — impact the salaries of full-time professionals as work histories develop.


The Creative Group 2013 Salary Guide

The Creative Group