It’s a job that was virtually unheard of in Ireland ten years ago but User Experience (UX) designers are now commanding some of the most competitive salaries in the tech sector, with a 320 per cent increase in jobs in the past 5 years. An analysis of the Irish hiring landscape for UX Designers by Morgan
It’s a job that was virtually unheard of in Ireland ten years ago but User Experience (UX) designers are now commanding some of the most competitive salaries in the tech sector, with a 320 per cent increase in jobs in the past 5 years.
An analysis of the Irish hiring landscape for UX Designers by Morgan McKinley and the UX Design Institute shows them to be amongst the most sought-after tech professionals today, as companies continue to seek out digital opportunities and focus on exceptional end-user experience.
UX designers are to the software industry what architects are to construction. They provide high-level and detailed design that ensures websites, mobile apps and other software products are fit for purpose and easy to use.
Dara Boland, Associate Director at Global recruitment company Morgan McKinley, says: “We’ve seen incredible growth in UX in the past five years with a threefold increase in the level of UX jobs we are being asked to service. This is largely due to many companies rapidly growing their UX design teams – in some cases by 20 to 30 people – and businesses with no previous design culture beginning to appreciate the need to have at least 1 to 2 talented UX designers on site to remain competitive.”
According to the analysis, the average starting salary for UX designers now stands at €30,000 per annum, up from €25,000 three years ago. This puts graduate earnings higher than that of accountants (€26,468) and close to engineers (€30,527) and banking graduates (€30,550).
With demand so high, it doesn’t take long for salaries to progress upwards, with earnings increasing significantly as experience grows.
An analysis of salary data shows UX designers with 0 to 2 years’ experience typically earning between €30,000 and €35,000 in permanent roles. Salaries for those with 2 to 4 years’ experience will range from €35,000 to €60,000, while those with 5 years’ experience and more will jump to between €60,000 and €80,000.
Salary by years’ experience:
Along with being well paid, UX design has proven to be an attractive and accessible profession for women*. This is in sharp contrast to the wider technology industry, which has a well-documented gender balance issue.
Analysis by Morgan McKinley shows females accounting for 41 per cent of UX professionals in Ireland. This is double that for females in other technology roles, where the figure is 20 per cent for Ireland and 17 per cent for the whole of Europe (Eurostat, 2017).
This reflects the typical student profile at the UX Design Institute, where male and female students are split almost 50/50, with marginally more females than males.
Colman Walsh, CEO of the UX Design Institute, which aims to fill the UX skills gap in the technology industry, says: “We see a far more balanced percentage of men and women pursuing careers in UX compared to other areas of technology. Feedback from our student base is that it focuses on the more human side of technology and offers an interesting blend of design and psychology which requires a lot of empathy for end-users. This tends to appeal to both sexes.”
So who’s hiring?
A number of large tech companies in Dublin have significantly expanded out their design teams over the past 2 to 3 years – Hubspot, Workday, Verizon Connect and CarTrawler – while more traditional organisations, such as banks and other financial institutions are hiring as their businesses adapt to an increasingly digital world.
Irish-based companies presently hiring for UX designers include Accenture, PWC, Paddy Power, Glanbia, Infosys and Ryanair as well as many design agencies, software development firms and startups like Poppulo.
Walsh adds: “Every company that operates a website or mobile app needs UX design skills to remain successful, which is close to every company in the world. Traditional universities are not producing enough qualified graduates to fill the demand for UX designers. This is a major pain point for companies hiring, but it’s a great opportunity for smart professionals to enter the industry and progress quickly.”