What has the biggest impact on designers’ happiness?



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We’ve taken a deeper look at some of the more hot button topics explored in the 2016 Product Design Report—namely, compensation, gender, and education. This week, let’s look at what designers say has the biggest impact on their professional happiness.

On average, the report found that designers around the world work about 3 hours more than the usual 40 hours per week. That goes for both self-employed and full-time designers.

Within C-level design leadership, though, designers work the longest hours—44.9 hours per week. Of those designers who work more than 40 hours a week, less than 9% receive overtime pay.


Given the majority of designers spend more than 8 hours a day doing their jobs, usually without any additional compensation, certain factors come into play when discussing happiness at work and non-salary benefits.

Most designers working full time (85% and 80%, respectively) receive vacation time and paid holiday or flex-time benefits. Three-quarters receive sick time and the option to enroll in a company health care plan.


About half are given the option to enroll in a 401(k) or other retirement plan, and less than half receive life insurance or disability benefits.

Less common “perks” enjoyed by even fewer full-time designers include gym membership reimbursement (24%), tuition reimbursement (19%), and elder or child care benefits (13%).

For designers looking to make a career move, these types of benefits, though, are nowhere near the most important factor they consider. At 81%, professional growth was the most significant factor designers said they consider when deciding whether to accept a new position.

pdr-happy-3 “The biggest factor most designers consider before accepting a job? Professional growth.”

Almost equally as important (80%) was the quality of the work able to be accomplished at the new job. 71% of designers said work-life balance was critical, too. Less important? The company’s retirement plan (16%) and pay-related perks (just 8%). Clearly, designers value their professional progress and opportunities for creating quality work far beyond many other factors.

Explore what designers want in the full 2016 Product Design Report.


Kayleigh Karutis
Kayleigh got her start as a news reporter, and she still considers that time she wrote the entire paper among her greatest achievements.

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