What should I be earning?

The days of being paid less than a shelf stacker at your local supermarket are nearly over. Because, along with crazy house prices and the real cost of living being stupidly high, agencies have realised that to attract and retain the best talent in the industry, you actually have to give them a decent wage too.

When you’re starting out in the industry it’s very hard to know your ‘worth’, but thankfully there are lots of salary guides to work from. For our list below, we’ve cross-referenced Nikky Lyle’s Fool-proof Guide to Rates and Salaries, Major Players’ 2019 Salary Survey, as well as this super handy Google Sheet that allows people to anonymously tell everyone how much they earn and which agencies pay what.

As a word of caution, we’ve started to see a trend of ‘junior’ roles being lumped together with ‘graduate’ ones, so some of the salaries on the table have a wider salary range. These junior roles will ask for 1/2 or even 3 years’ experience and so that higher-end figures reflect that. These salaries are also skewed towards London, so you might find smaller regional roles will pay £1-3k less per year.

Despite it being 2021, there are still agencies out there who prey on unsuspecting talent, and offer internships that might only pay expenses or absolutely nothing. Please note that if you’re working on billable client work, it’s actually illegal to be paid nothing. From the outside of any role you take, you should know if it’s ‘work experience’ or an ‘internship’ – as we’d argue that they are two very different things.

We’d also actively encourage you to check out the agencies who have committed to support young talent in the industry. You’ll find many of them on our Placement Poverty Pledge initiative, and they have signed up to pay interns the UK Living Wage or the London Living Wage (depending on their office location).

Factors like age, location and how many hours you work a day all make plotting a precise salary figure tricky. And UK Gov’s minimum £ph age brackets make everything even more taxing.

Rate from April 2021
National Living Wage£8.91
21-22 Year Old Rate£8.36
18-20 Year Old Rate£6.56
16-17 Year Old Rate£4.62
Apprentice Rate£4.30

If we’re assuming you’re a 21-year-old grad working 9am-5:30pm every day (37.5hrs per week) for an agency anywhere in the country you’d have to earn at least £16,302.

While if you’re 23+ you’ll get £17,374.50. And if you’re being paid the London Living Wage on the same hours, you’ll get £20,475. Confusing, right?

So armed with all this info, how much should grads and juniors in the industry earn? Here are the averages:

RoleUK Salary Range (£) Average (£)
Junior Designer (Creative/Design)20 – 30k25k
Junior Designer (Branding/Design)20 – 28k24k
Junior Visualiser18 – 25k22k
Junior Digital Designer20 – 30k25k
Junior UX Designer25 – 35k30k
Junior Motion Designer25 – 32k27k
Junior Artworker18 – 23k20k
Junior Copywriter (Creative/Design)20 – 30k25k
Junior Copywriter (Social/Content)25 – 30k27k
Junior Art Director20 – 30k25k
Placement Creative Team18 – 22k21k
Junior Creative Team20 – 30k25k
Junior Front-end Developer22 – 28k25k
Junior Project Manager/Producer20 – 30k25k
Graduate Account Executive18 – 21k20k
Account Executive20 – 26k 23k
Marketing Assistant20 – 26k23k
RoleFreelance Rate Per DayAverage
Junior Designer (Creative/Design)£120 – 200£150
Junior Designer (Branding/Design)£150 – 200£175
Junior Visualiser£150 – 200£175
Junior Digital Designer£180 – 240£200
Junior UI Designer£230 – 280£250
Junior UX Designer£230 – 280£250
Junior Motion Designer£180 – 230£200
Junior Artworker£120 – 160£135
Junior Copywriter (Creative/Design)£100 – 300£200
Junior Copywriter (Social/Content)£150 – 200£175
Junior Art Director£100 – 300£200
Placement Creative Team£80 – 120£100
Junior Creative Team£100 – 300£200
Junior Front-end Developer£225 – 275£250
Junior Project Manager/Producer£150 – 200 £180
Graduate Account Executive£100 – 140£120
Account Executive£120 – 150£140
Marketing Assistant£80 – 120£100

Happy job hunting.

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