In July, a trio of Philly designers set out to learn about an oft-not talked about factor of life as a technologist: money.
Lauren Hallden, the lead product designer at Stitch; Tony Nguyen, a design lead at Comcast; and Dan Singer, a UX strategist at Think Company, met at La Colombe in the spring to chat about transparency in pay and decided to kick off the conversation by being open about their own salaries.
But, following a national trend, they wanted to take it a step further, opening up the conversation to whoever in Philadelphia was willing to talk about how much they made (anonymously) via the Philly Design Compensation Census. Over the course of a month, they collected data from nearly 300 technologists, then published the results this week.
The data attempt to help technologists in the area to answer these questions: Am I being paid fairly for my role? And what does pay disparity look like for designers in Philly?
Results are intended to give folks a benchmark or a point of reference in negotiations, the trio wrote of the findings.
The data show that job titles vary significantly between organizations, but folks with a “manager” title out-earn others, with a median income of about $128,000. Jobs like UX/UI designer and design director fall slightly below that with median salaries of $90,000 and $100,000, respectively.
The data also show that for a role like a content designer, 50% of incomes fall between $70,000 and $92,000 a year, although there were outlier incomes of $97,000 and $51,800 reported.
Because folks were also asked questions like how long they’d been at their company or in their field, the survey shows that senior or lead roles earn upward of $100,000, across various positions like front-end designer, design director or manager.
Size of the company generally matters, too, survey results say. The median salary for someone at a company with between five and 10 employees is about $70,000 while the median for folks at companies with 250 employees or higher is about $97,000. Those working in house, compared to an agency, out earn their counterparts by about $10,000.
Survey results also show that throughout the tech field in Philadelphia, most folks are allowed some flexibility in working time and ability to be remote. Employers also offer benefits like matching 401k, paid parental leave and fitness/wellness benefits more often than not.
When it comes to gender and race breakdowns of the data, across all roles, people who identify as men out earn all other genders by 17%, and those who are white out earn others by 6.8%.
The clearest, largest gap in the data is that women, gender nonconforming and nonbinary respondents of color make a median compensation of $77,800, which is a 6% gap from their white peers overall and a 22% gap behind white men.
“The demographic disparities in pay are not out of line with larger trends in the country,” Hallden said. “But it’s disappointing to see that Philly isn’t doing better.”
Learn more about the methodology behind the survey and see the full scope of data at the Philly Design Compensation Census below:
Knowledge is power!
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