There are two narratives dominating hiring right now. The first (and much louder) narrative is that tech workers are being laid off right and left. From the headlines, it’s easy to assume that new designers can’t compete for the few UX design jobs that exist.
The quieter discourse is that the labor market is stable, and growing at a healthy (albeit slower) pace. Let’s look at what the evidence says.
- Unemployment in professional and business services stands at 3.5% in the U.S., 22% lower than in January 2022
- Companies in the U.S. added 517,000 nonfarm jobs in January 2023
- More B2B SaaS companies increased their headcount than decreased it between November 2022 and February 2023
If you’re looking for entry-level UX designer jobs, there are lots of reasons for optimism. However, look beyond tech and software companies to deepen your pool of potential employers. Companies in diverse industries are hiring UX designers and you might miss out on your dream job if you only look at tech startups.
Is It Hard to Get Hired as a UX Designer?
While it depends on several factors, many companies are willing to hire a UX designer with little to no experience. The key is proving your design skills with a strong portfolio.
One option is to get your foot in the door with an internship, apprenticeship, or a contact at the company. Another option is to complete a UX design bootcamp that certifies that you have the skills needed to succeed in a UX design role.
Every aspiring UX designer needs three things to land their first job:
- Design skills and a portfolio to prove it: Learn visual design principles plus Figma or another design software. Build an online portfolio with two to three strong projects.
- Soft skills: Showcase your transferrable skills such as collaboration, communication, and creativity.
- Strategic networking: To get yourself out of the hole of blind applications, create connections through bootcamp cohorts, industry groups, and informal interviews.
Entry-Level UX Designer Salary
UX designers have a high earning potential, with experienced designers averaging between $76,000 and $126,000 in the U.S. according to Glassdoor.
In addition to their base salaries, UX designers may be eligible for other benefits like bonuses, equity, tuition or home office assistance, or health insurance depending on the company and country.
|UX designer median base salary|
|United States||USD $81,092|
What Industries Are Hiring UX Designers?
We’ve rounded up five industries you should consider in your UI/UX job search, what it’s like to work in that industry, and companies hiring now.
UX designers in retail create digital shopping experiences for apps and websites that help customers discover products they want and interact with sales support or customer service. Good UX design can lower cart abandonment rates and boost conversions and revenue.
Why are UX designers needed in retail? Ecommerce is reaching a level of saturation and maturity that needs qualified designers. In 2020, just 17.8% of global retail sales were made online. In 2023, that number jumped to 20.8%. UX designers work on more than just ecommerce sites and apps, though. They also design in-store experiences such as smart screens and self-check kiosks.
A junior UX designer salary in retail averages around $71,707, while mid-career professionals in retail earn $81,092 in the U.S.
Top Retail Companies Hiring UX Designers
- Sam’s Club
- Lowe’s Home Improvement
- Tiffany & Co
Healthcare, at least in the U.S., is notorious for having a terrible user experience. Pair that with the rise of telehealth delivery and electronic medical records in recent years, and it’s clear that healthcare desperately needs better UX—and designers to drive that transformation. UX designers observe how patients and healthcare providers interact with healthcare systems, map journeys, and prototype solutions that can have a big impact on care delivery and outcomes.
One obvious employer you can start with is hospitals. HR company Workable found that job postings at hospitals and healthcare companies effectively doubled between August 2022 and January 2023, and experts expect steady growth to continue.
Other companies hiring healthcare UX designers include insurance, wearables, pharmaceuticals, and medical device companies. There are a growing number of healthcare tech companies like athenahealth or Access Healthcare that design software for both patients and health professionals.
Median salaries hover a little lower in healthcare, around $72,516, but support for the UX discipline is growing– and the impact opportunities are massive.
Top Healthcare Companies Hiring UX Designers
- Medical Solutions
If you want to see the future, just follow the money: 78% of people now prefer to bank online. The most popular functions include transferring funds between accounts, mobile check deposit, viewing account balances, and bill pay. Consumers have high standards when it comes to apps managing their money and need absolute clarity for transactions.
As a UX designer for a bank or financial services company, you may design web and mobile experiences for online banking, investment management, or budgeting and financial literacy. Beyond traditional banks, opportunities abound at online banks, investment companies, and fintech startups.
According to the BLV, there are more than 900 UX designers at U.S. financial services companies, averaging a total compensation of $113,500 or $54.57 per hour. JPMorgan Chase & Co. is a great place to start with hundreds of product design and UX design positions listed worldwide. Fidelity Investments recently announced they would add 4,000 jobs in 2023, many of which will focus on technology.
Top Banking/Financial Services Companies Hiring UX Designers
- JPMorgan Chase & Co
- S&P Global
- BNY Mellon
- Fidelity Investments
- PNC Financial Services Group
- Capital One
- M&T Bank
- TD Bank
- US Bank
Enterprise companies come to consulting giants like Deloitte and PwC with big, complex problems like how to manage internal documents and notes. Business and IT companies will conduct research, identify challenges, and design products and solutions to meet those challenges.
As a designer, you’ll complete design sprints to help clients build customer-centric applications and deliver more value. Designers for Business and IT Services companies command one of the best average base salaries at $86,079.
Top Business/IT Services Companies Hiring UX Designers
- Hitachi Solutions America
According to data from LinkedIn, Government Administration is the most stable industry to work in, with headcount rising at least 1% month-over-month from October 2022 to January 2023. The unemployment for government workers is miniscule at 1.9%.
Running parallel to government jobs are defense and aerospace jobs, often with private government contractors. Companies like Leidos, Boeing, and CAN Corporation work with governments to design interfaces for intelligence, aerospace, and weapons systems. Many, but not all, require security clearances to work in this area.
Top Government/Defense Companies Hiring UX Designers
- CNA Corporation
- Nou Systems
- CACI International
Get Started With UX Design Careers
Do research on the companies above to narrow down which industries appeal to you and which may have job opportunities where you live. While many UX design jobs still sit in major markets like New York, Chicago, London, and Toronto, the new good news is that there are plenty of remote UX design jobs.
As you start the journey looking for entry-level UX jobs, we hope this guide will help you think outside the (startup) box to see what possibilities exist for UX designers. Many have made the transition before you, so you aren’t alone.
You likely already knew that UX design is one of the best non-technical jobs in tech. Now you know the secret: it’s one of the best jobs in any industry. Just remember the three things you need to break in: design skills, soft skills, and strategic networking.
Do your design skills need a makeover? Explore General Assembly’s UX Design courses.