User Experience Jobs Visuals represents user experience
professionals who are seeking contract jobs or direct-hire
employment in the San Francisco Bay Area.
If you are a user experience or user-centered design
professional looking for employment, please view our open jobs
and consider applying for work. In addition to the jobs listed, we
have access through our network of contacts to many other
opportunities that may not be posted or publicly available. Just
browsing? Please join our email list to keep abreast of UX
employment opportunities in the Bay Area.
UCD Employers Do you need an Interaction Designer to write
functional specifications? How about a UI Designer to create
wireframes, page schematics, and user flows or a Visual
Designer to update the look of a web or application interface?
Visuals represents user experience design professionals
throughout the Bay Area. Please view our currently featured
talent or contact us to request talent.
Weak Job Market Requires Caution
Since our last email in September, the economy has lost 1.9 million jobs, so now even the user experience job market is weak. This environment requires extra caution because the safety net of multiple job opportunities is much smaller than normal. We share three recent experiences.
The Best Opportunities Come From Friends
One candidate was approached by a former colleague with a job opportunity that would provide an increase in salary and work closer to home. After interviewing, she accepted the offer and gave notice. Three days before she was to start the new job (with a large and well-known employer), the offer was rescinded. Unfortunately, it was only a verbal offer, so the new employer had no legal obligation to hire her. She had already given notice and couldn't go back to her former employer. She was left without a job and contacted Visuals at that point for assistance.
It is Always Safest to Stay Put, Right?
Visuals was searching for a Director of User Experience for one of our clients and reached out to a Sr. UX Manager with many years at the same company. He interviewed for the new role and the company was willing to offer him the position, but about the same time his current employer came to him with an opportunity to build a team and design a new product from scratch. It sounded very exciting and didn’t involve the risk of changing jobs, so he stayed. He called us just after the New Year and said the project was scrapped because of budget pressures and he and his group are laid off. Even staying put is not without risk.
Perfect Opportunity at the Perfect Time
The candidate we did find for the UX Director role was happy to leave a bank in the fourth quarter of 2008. She was a UX Manager with ideal experience to move to the UX Director level. She was very excited by the opportunity to build a new team and develop the UX standards and practice at the new firm. The new role brought a $25k increase in salary along with the new challenges. She says “It was perfect timing for me. I am very happy with the UX Director role and my new employer. I thank Visuals for representing me, negotiating the offer, and making the transition as smooth as possible. Visuals is extremely professional, responsive, and knowledgeable about the needs and goals of UX professionals.”
UX Job Market in the Bay Area
As the economy continues to weaken, the question on the minds of many of our clients is, what’s happening to the UX job market in the Bay Area. The simple answer is that it is weakening also, but not as dramatically.
The U.S. Dept. of Labor reported last week that unemployment rose to 6.1% nationally, and that non-farm payrolls declined by 84,000 in August. This is the eighth straight month of job losses, which bodes ill for the health of the economy. The three MSAs (metropolitan statistical areas) that make up the Bay Area show variability by region. The San Francisco MSA, which includes San Mateo County, had unemployment rise from 4% a year ago, to 5% last month. Santa Clara County unemployment has risen from 4.9% to 6.25%, and unemployment in the Oakland East Bay has risen from 4.8% to 6.4% over the same period.
Despite the weak labor market overall, the Bay Area UX job market is still relatively strong. There are not enough Senior Interaction Designers to meet the demand; designers with experience in mobile application design are still much sought after; and some sectors of the economy continue to add jobs, namely, healthcare, education, and government, so those are bright spots.
Overall, user experience is weathering the economic decline better than many other specialties. While many companies have frozen hiring, there are still good opportunities for experienced practitioners.
User Experience Salaries Highest in the Bay Area
Salary data provided by PayScale (see the US News article below) shows
that Bay Area User Experience professionals are the best paid in
the nation with a median salary of $115,000. We are followed by
New York at $112,000, then Chicago at $101,000. Boston,
Seattle, and San Diego are essentially tied at $98-99,000. Los
Angeles comes in seventh at $93,000 (in case you need another
reason not to move there).
UX included in Best Careers 2008 US News and World Report
lists Usability/User Experience Specialist as one of “31 careers
with bright futures” that “offer strong outlooks and high job
satisfaction.” The strong outlook is based on the proliferation of
new and complex products, many of which demand a usability
specialist. They list the career’s downsides as “justifying your
service’s value [to] companies [that] believe the can make
products without a specifically trained usability expert,” and
“being typecast as someone who can help design only one kind
of product.” If you haven’t read the article, here’s a link to the on-
line edition: http://www.usnews.com/features/business/best-
Usability Professionals Salary Survey A new salary survey
released by Usability Professionals Association, which provides
salary data by job classification (but not specifically for the Bay
Area), shows that User Experience Directors nationwide make
an average of $121,269, followed by User Experience Managers
at $94,752, Usability Managers at $87,886, User Researchers at
$83,161, UX Practitioners at $81,413; User-Centered Design
Practitioners $79,274; Information Architects at $78,755, and
finally Interface Designers at $62,623. These averages are low
for the Bay Area, but show the relative pay among specialties
nationwide. The full version is available only to UPA members
(but a free version is also available to the public) at: