Despite the economic downturn and the layoff of thousands of architecture and design professionals in recent months, compensation and benefits in professional design practices remains strong.
Just released is the 2009 DesignIntelligence Compensation and Benefits Survey, which draws data representing some 460 professional practice locations in the United States employing more than 25,000 full-time staff. These professional practices offer a wide variety of services, including architecture, design-build, engineering, interior design, landscape architecture, urban design, and industrial design.
The survey shows that the average compensation figures continue to march upward for recent architecture school grads. The mean salary for a graduate with a Bachelor of Architecture degree, for example, has risen from $39,333 in 2008 to $41,012 in 2009. The mean salary for a graduate with a Master of Architecture degree has risen from $42,985 to $47,263.
At the other end of the architect experience scale are professionals with 20 or more years of experience. The average base compensation for this position is $100,723; however, the top 20 percent can make $142,200. And add to this an average bonus of 9.5 percent.
An interior designer with 20 years’ experience is most likely to earn $97,800, with the top 20 percent in making $145,333. Their bonus is 8.3 percent.
Marketing directors in professional practices are compensated with an average base salary of $83,881. Additionally, the average bonus for a marketing director is 9.6 percent. Chief marketing officers earn an average of $118,483 plus a bonus of 18.2 percent.
The annual DesignIntelligence Compensation and Benefits Survey is the only survey of its kind, revealing owner and executive compensation levels in addition to those for architects, project managers, interior designers, landscape architects, engineers, marketing and support staff, and others who work in professional design practices. Data is provided nationally, regionally, and at all levels of career experience.
Also included in the survey are projected compensation increases for 2010 as well as current benefits, perks, demographics, and strategic practices such as signing bonuses and cost-of-living differentials.
DesignIntelligence (di.net) is a bi-monthly journal published by The Greenway Group on behalf of the Design Futures Council. It delivers original research and commentary about emerging trends and management practices.
DesignIntelligence is a regular source of information for such media as Fortune, the Wall Street Journal, the Chicago Tribune, NPR’s All Things Considered, and others.
Media may obtain review copy of the 2009 DesignIntelligence Compensation and Benefits Survey and interviews with DesignIntelligence Founding Editor James P. Cramer.