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Web Industry Pay Levels

Show me the money!

Whether you’ve already taken the first steps towards your new career as a web designer or developer, or you’re just weighing up the possibilities for the future, it’s well worth taking a long hard look at the bottom line.

As our love affair with the internet continues, it’s an industry that holds plenty of promise for web professionals. So just what are the likely pay levels for people working in the industry, whether as paid employees or freelance contractors?

Average British earnings

To put things in perspective, according to Prospect magazine in 2011 average earnings in Britain (before tax) were £26,000, with average income for working-age households coming in at around £33,000.

But according to IT job market tracking site JobStats, which monitors job adverts, at the time of writing the average salary for a web designer stands at just over £32,000 – which when extremes are ironed out the site ‘normalises’ down a thousand pounds.

However the site also quotes a figure of £25,000 as the ‘mode average salary’ – which is the most frequently entered maximum salary for this kind of role. For a developer, JobStats quoted a ‘normalised’ average of around £50,500, with the mode average of £45,000.

What they’re paying

Taking in a quick round up of some web jobs being advertised at the time of writing, a Camden Town marketing agency was looking for a ‘web designer/developer’ and offering a salary between £20,000 and £30,000; a business providing online solutions to companies around the world was advertising for a ‘web / digital designer’ and offering £26,000 - £30,000; a blue chip organisation was looking for a web designer, and willing to pay £30,000 - £36,000; and an insurance client was looking for a web designer in Kent on a salary of £40,000 - £45,000.

Freelance rates

When it comes to contract – or freelance – workers, £200 was quoted as the most frequently entered maximum day rate for a web designer by JobStats, while a whopping £600 was the maximum rate for developers.

Freelance opportunities advertised at the time of writing included a London company looking for a web designer to create “great user interfaces” at £300 a day; a company in central Paris offering around £270 a day for a French speaking interaction designer; and a West Midlands firm looking for a web designer with skills in a range of areas, including Photoshop, Illustrator, UX, XHTML, CSS, Javascript, for up to £200 a day.

Also on offer was a year-long contract as an information architect in Dublin at £250-£300 a day, and a web platform designer role in Edinburgh at up to £400 a day.

There are also various sites that enable freelancers to ‘bid’ on specific projects, so you can pick your own daily or hourly rate, calculate how long the job will take and then bid against your competitors.

Develop a range of skills

One thing that is clear is that employers are often on the lookout for candidates with a range of different skills which suit the particular project in hand. And that project could last from a few days, to indefinitely. The more areas you can become an expert in, the more employable you’re likely to be, so take some time to research the market for jobs and freelance projects, decide which areas it’s achievable for you to master to meet those needs, and if necessary invest in high quality training to develop your skills and prove your abilities to future employers.

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