Whether you’re a user experience designer or marketing director, creative professionals with in-demand skills and experience have many job opportunities in the current employment market.
Here’s a look at just some high-paying creative jobs, according to The Creative Group’s 2021 Salary Guide:
1. User experience (UX) director
UX directors oversee user experience for an organization, designing and evaluating user experience studies to improve applications or software products. UX directors maintain customer satisfaction and brand loyalty by making the user experience positive. The midpoint salary (or median national salary) for a user experience director is $130,500.
Developing design specifications and working with internal teams or customers to create cohesive concepts are also part of the job. Overseeing and training a team of designers and user experts is essential as well, as is tracking metrics to change user experience for the better.
2. Creative director
Creative directors ensure the quality of all creative department projects, managing the creative process from beginning to end. They lead and direct the creative staff in the production of all advertising and marketing collateral and ensure that visual communication standards are met across various media. These creative pros need a lot of experience — five to eight years at least — and the ability to create clear creative objectives from marketing goals. A strong design or copywriting background is preferred.
Creative directors with this level of experience can expect a midpoint salary of $117,000. They also must work well with different project teams, especially IT, as well as meet with clients and upper management to explain strategies and solutions.
3. Demand generation manager
These professionals develop and deliver demand generation programs such as email marketing or digital ads to create sales opportunities and penetrate a firm’s target markets. They need a deep understanding of customers, products and buyers. Demand generation managers work closely with other departments and often present to upper management to get buy-in and secure budgets.
Experienced professionals in this field can expect a midpoint salary of $89,250. Most companies prefer three to five years of demand generation and marketing experience. A college degree with a concentration in marketing, communications, advertising or business management is typically required. Experience with marketing and CRM software is also required.
4. Marketing director
Whether it’s targeting specific customers or running marketing campaigns, marketing directors are in demand and can expect a midpoint salary of $109,000. They direct market messaging activities and supervise a marketing team responsible for developing promotional communications strategies and materials for a company or product. Marketing directors prepare long- and short-term marketing plans, budgets and pricing policies. Communication skills are key, as is knowledge of the creative side of marketing and design. Some companies require an MBA as well.
5. Front-end web developer
Front-end web developers help bring UX and web design ideas to life, making them key players in digital marketing and design. To develop functional and appealing online experiences for consumers, these professionals write code for web- and mobile-based applications and must understand the entire web development process, from design to development and deployment.
6. Advertising account director
Problem-solving, creativity and business sense are just a few of the qualities necessary for a successful advertising account director, who can earn a midpoint salary of $103,000. They typically lead multiple accounts within an advertising agency and make sure the creative work is addressing the client’s needs.
Advertising account directors need the ability to lead and inspire others on their own team, as well as outside of the firm. They also ensure the accounts they manage are profitable and often pitch new business to prospective clients. A bachelor's degree and seven or more years of work experience in an advertising environment are required.
7. PR director
These professionals develop and manage public relations and corporate communications activities. PR directors work with company executives to create an overall public relations strategy, oversee the public relations budget and supervise the public relations team to ensure implementation of initiatives. They must have excellent written and oral communication skills because a big part of the job is establishing and maintaining relationships with media professionals and influencers.
They arrange interviews at internal or external publications to promote company products or brands. Managing any challenging or sensitive company problems that could impact its reputation is also a key part of the job. PR directors often have a college degree in communications or journalism and seven or more years of public relations experience. The median salary of a PR director is $98,000.
8. User experience (UX) designer
As the lines between design and technology continue to blur, demand for UX designers is high, and they command a midpoint starting salary of $98,250. These creative pros determine the architecture and wireframes that help users navigate a product or website. UX designers address users’ needs, whether emotional or functional, to create the best user experience.
It’s a job that requires creative, technical and problem-solving skills — and also some psychology and storytelling. Responsible for the full design process, from research, ideation and concept development to prototyping and evaluation, the role also requires the ability to collaborate with business, customer service, design and technology teams. UX designers should possess an expert understanding of design principles and wireframing tools, such as Axure RP, Balsamiq, InVision and Sketch.
9. Marketing analytics manager
Marketing analytics managers develop ways to effectively analyze and report data key to a firm’s business objectives that the marketing team can use in their plans. They also typically define a company’s metrics and data sources to implement analytics solutions. Marketing analytics managers require experience in both data analysis and reporting, customer relationship management (CRM) software and a background in market research. Most have a college degree in computer science, statistics or a related area. Marketing analytics managers have a midpoint salary of $97,000.
10. Interactive art director
This is a job that encompasses design and execution, so interactive art directors must be comfortable in both roles. They deliver digital solutions for a company’s business or brand for a midpoint salary of $92,500.
Interactive art directors have a keen understanding of concept development, copywriting and storyboarding, as well as an ability to work cross-platform with various presentation devices. They should know ActionScript, Adobe Create Suite (Photoshop, Illustrator, etc.) and some coding languages. Interactive art directors also must have a working knowledge of online design, copywriting, SEO and information architecture.
11. Brand/product manager
These creative pros are responsible for the brand strategies and marketing programs of a product or business. Brand managers provide branding direction, develop and execute brand marketing programs and ensure brand consistency across channels. They also review market research to anticipate competitive and industry trends and translate consumer attitudes into new branding directions.
Brand managers coordinate sales, pricing, product supply and product development to meet strategic objectives. Strong writing skills, relationship management and storytelling abilities are key to the job. Many brand managers have a college degree in communications, marketing or business. The salary midpoint for a brand manager is $90,500.
12. Art director
These creative professionals lead the artistic development of marketing and promotional pieces for print, online, mobile, corporate publications, and television and radio advertisements. Art directors oversee graphic designers, photographers, illustrators and production artists; they also collaborate with marketing and advertising teams and copywriters to come up with strategies for advertising campaigns.
The midpoint salary for an art director is $86,000. They must have five to eight years of design-related work experience and expertise with creative tools like Adobe Creative Suite.
13. User experience (UX) researcher
Mix a sociologist, anthropologist and marketer together and you get a UX researcher. These creative pros figure out what motivates people to buy a product and how they use it — information that helps market research teams. They’re responsible for designing, conducting and analyzing user design research and usability testing.
User experience researchers must have excellent analytical and communication skills to interpret data and work with users to gather that data. They also need experience with various research methods and tools, as well as a thorough understanding of the business to inform and conduct their research studies, develop recommendations and drive results. The salary midpoint for UX researchers is $89,000.
14. Mobile designer
Mobile designers create compelling interactive experiences on mobile devices that most of us have today, which is why they’re in demand. The job has a midpoint salary of $86,500. These pros collaborate with user experience and other cross-functional teams to make content engaging. Mobile designers must know both graphical and functional aspects of web and mobile design and work across platforms, including HTML5, iOS and Android.
While a specific degree isn’t usually required for the job, most employers prefer candidates have a design-related degree in graphic, interactive or interaction design. Mobile designers also must know responsive design, UX and programming.
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