Part of 2014's success comes from learned efficiency. The Rising Giants’ average earnings per designer rose to $213,000 from the $190,000 range we saw stagnating for the previous six years. The percentage of a designer’s time that’s billable has also crept up to a high of 83 percent.
“The recession was a moment to regroup and return to solid business practices,” Spacesmith’s Jane Smith says. “With change and challenge, our team has gotten stronger and more cohesive.”
Total design fees increased as well, 14 percent to $428 million, and the Rising Giants forecast $479 million for our next reporting period. Total earnings have already topped $1.1 billion. That’s exciting.
Responding firms predict 348 design hires, unfortunately not at higher salaries. Both designer and manager paychecks have stayed the same, averaging $62,000 and $85,000 respectively. Principals’ average salaries did rise, from $132,500 to $150,000.
2014 Rising Giants 1-100: Growth
2014 Rising Giants 1-100: Issues and Trends
2014 Rising Giants 1-100: Market Segment Report