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

A collaboration between a data scientist and a design job seeker

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.)

  • UI/UX Design: For every 1 entry-level post there are 19 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.

Individual contributor or manager?

If you’re on the upper end of the experience spectrum, you can afford to be picky.

Total Number of Posts by Job Title Seniority Level (May-Aug 2019)

The ambiguous middle

Many times the seniority level isn’t explicitly advertised in job titles. We created the label “unclassified” or “not given” to describe generic titles without supporting keywords, for example “product designer.” As a whole, the dataset is fairly split between unclassified job titles and those where the seniority level is explicitly advertised.

The new entrant’s strategy

Much ink has been spilled about how hard it is to get into design. This dataset is a snapshot that provides further proof of this fact.

If you’re struggling to get your first design job, the industry is stacked against you.

The remote reality check

Flexibility is like vacation: We can’t get enough of it. Remote jobs offer the most flexibility but represent a tiny sliver of the job market: 0.5% of job titles in this dataset are explicitly advertised as remote.

The targeted strategy

Many years ago, I did a research project with IDEO about long-term unemployment for the Rockefeller Foundation. We discovered that there’s a two-sided problem with the post-internet job market.

The methodology

We used the Twitter API to scrape tweets from five popular job boards that re-posted their website listings in a repetitive format (thanks for the data formatting, job bots!):

  1. Design Jobs Board
  2. Authentic Jobs
  3. Design Week
  4. Behance
def consolidate_roles(df):

UI_UX = ['user experience','user researcher','experience','experiential','interaction',
'user interface','interactive','ux ui','ui ux','ux', 'ui', 'xd']
product = ['product design','product designer','product','mobile','web','wordpress','html']
visual = ['visual','illustrator','artist','art','photoshop','multimedia','layout','photo','picture','drawing']
marketing_content = ['email', 'e mail', 'marketing','communication','writer','social','content','instagram','comms','publications','campaign','creative','brand']
motion = ['motion','animat','video','moving image','3d']
front_end =['frontend', 'front end','software engineer','engineer','developer']
service_org = ['service design','organization design','organizational design','business design','service']
full_stack =['full stack']
graphic = ['packag','stationery','stationary','shirt','wayfinding','print','graphi','presentation']
account_based = ['account','project','programme']
industrial = ['industrial']
interior = ['interior','archit','kitchen','store','exhibition']
general_design = ['design','desin']
growth = ['growth']
digital = ['digital']

In conclusion

The goal of this dataset is to provide a snapshot of the job market from May–August 2019 and to come up with a job hunt strategy that’s aligned with your career stage.

The Long Read

Do you like this? No, you love it!? Aw, thanks. Checkout more work by this author, including the ebook Design-Driven Growth available on Amazon or direct from the author at https://www.design-driven-growth.com/

Modus

Helping designers thrive.

Thanks to Gareth Walker and Liz Heidner

Molly Norris Walker

Written by

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

Modus

Modus

Helping designers thrive. A Medium publication about UX/UI design.

Molly Norris Walker

Written by

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

Modus

Modus

Helping designers thrive. A Medium publication about UX/UI design.

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