What 4,000+ Job Posts Say About the Design Industry

A collaboration between a data scientist and a design job seeker

Molly Norris Walker
Modus
Published in
7 min readAug 22, 2019

--

Photo: PeopleImages/Getty Images

TL;DR — The design job market is top-heavy

I worked with a data scientist to scrape five popular design job boards for the last four months with global coverage, including Dribbble and Behance. We then classified jobs by seniority and discipline. (See the methodology section for more details.)

Even at a basic first glance, the dataset shows that job posts are heavily skewed toward senior roles, leaving little room for entry-level opportunities.

The hottest disciplines associated with the tech sector are the toughest markets to get your first job:

  • Product Design: For every 1 entry-level post there are 29 senior roles
  • UI/UX Design: For every 1 entry-level post there are 19 senior roles

More traditional design disciplines have the most entry-level opportunities:

  • Graphic Design: For every 1 entry-level post there are 1.3 senior roles
  • Visual Design: For every 1 entry-level post there are 3 senior roles

The seniority skew

Why are design job posts dominated by senior roles? And why are product and UI/UX design so skewed toward seniority? Well, I theorize there are both supply and demand issues at work.

Leading-edge employers are less likely to have supportive hierarchies to nurture early-career talent. This is partly due to a positive shift toward flatter company structures, more autonomous product teams, and the rise of self-management. And the inverse trend is true where traditional companies and disciplines are less skewed to seniority in this data.

In my personal experience as a manager, tech companies want to hire self-sufficient designers who can be given an area of responsibility to own right away. I didn’t hire fresh designers at my last two jobs for this reason. As the head of design, I simply didn’t believe we had the…

--

--

Molly Norris Walker
Modus
Writer for

Product Designer & Growth Leader. I come in peace and I mean business. Author of Design-Driven Growth.