Moolah Palooza: On Tour in Chicago


Who's ready to rock?! Moolah Palooza –TCG's 2015 Salary Guide – is your exclusive backstage pass to current hiring and compensation trends in the creative field.

Whether you're looking for your next gig or you're in search of talent that will bring down the house, we're on tour to explore the job opportunities and earning potential for the hottest creative roles in cities across North America. This week, we're headed to Chicago.

Chicago's Creative Job Market

The Windy City is one of America's most cherished towns. It's the birthplace of deep dish pizza and blues music and home to the cursed but beloved Chicago Cubs. It also boasts a thriving cultural scene with world-renown museums, unique architecture and public art throughout the city. Chicago truly has it all.

And if you're in the market for a creative job, you're in luck. Chicago's creative job scene is hot. "Chicago is big city but it has an incredibly supportive creative community," said Angela Vitzthum, assistant vice president of The Creative Group, who is based in Chicago. "There are so many opportunities for designers, marketers, and interactive professionals to make connections and establish a name for themselves."

"In terms of demand, the technology, healthcare and nonprofit sectors are growing rapidly and in need of highly-skilled creative professionals who can hit the ground running and help launch high-priority projects. Digital is a big focus for many companies and if you have hybrid skills, such as copywriting and SEO expertise, you're going to be sought after," said Vitzthum.

Below are five in-demand creative jobs in Chicago, including a salary comparison of national versus local ranges. These figures will give you an idea of how the local job market, cost of living and other variables can affect Chicago salaries.

Position National Average Starting Salary Chicago Starting Salary
Account Executive (3+ years) $52,250-$72,500 $64,268-$89,175
Front-End Web Developer (3+ years)



Graphic Designer (3 to 5 years) $51,500-$72,000 $63,345-$88,560
User Experience (UX) Designer $80,500-$126,500 $99,015-$155,595
Web Designer (1 to 5 years)  $54,000-$84,000 $66,420-$103,320


Tips to Land a Creative Job in Chicago

If you're a current Chicago job-seeker or just exploring some relocation options, here are some insider tips from Vitzthum:

  1. Don't sell yourself short. Chicago is a competitive market but there are so many ways to set yourself apart. Do some networking. Research companies you might want to work for and ask for an informational meeting. Do volunteer work to build your portfolio, attend industry events to make new connections, and stay on top of local trends.
  2. Broaden your search. Look beyond online job listings and don't limit yourself to certain industries. Meet with a recruiter who can help match you to hidden opportunities. Connect with industry peers on LinkedIn to put some feelers out. If nothing immediate turns up, keep in mind the relationships you build may lead to opportunities down the road.
  3. Get out there. If you're considering moving to Chicago or you're new to the city, do some exploring of different neighborhoods and talk to some locals who live in the area. Lincoln Park, Wrigleyville, Bucktown, Roscoe Village, South Loop and Lakeview are all great neighborhoods with unique personalities. Hopefully your new neighborhood will inspire your creativity!

Get Your Moolah Palooza Tickets

For more trends affecting the creative hiring landscape, download The Creative Group's 2015 Salary Guide.

Thinking about making a move? Here are 51 more reasons to love Chicago.