UX Writing Fundamentals
UX writer salary survey: How much money do UX writers make?
by Patrick Stafford
The infographic we created for this survey was created with Ryan Farrell, of Daily UX Writing. Check it out!
The role of the UX writer isn’t exactly new, but it’s only recently evolved as a discipline separate from content strategy. It’s a niche skill, which means we don’t have a lot of information about an average UX writer salary.
Even traditional salary researchers like Robert Half don’t offer breakdowns for UX writers. So, over the past several weeks, we created an online survey and distributed it among the UX writing community.
Our goal was simple: we wanted to learn how much UX writers make on average, the salary variations in different regions, and whether years of experience made a big or small difference in earnings.
Here’s what we learned:
UX writer salary survey methodology
We created a survey through Survey Monkey asking five questions:
- What is your job title?
- Where do you live?
- What is your annual income?
- What is your gender?
- How many years’ experience do you have?
We distributed the survey through several channels:
- The Content + UX Slack group
- Private messages through professional networks
- The UX Writers Collective email list
We collected 255 responses. These responses were cleaned to eliminate duplicate entries, irrelevant job titles (front-end designer, technical writer, etc), entries from the same IP address, and any other entries that seemed insincere or were missing critical pieces of information.
This resulted in 208 separate entries.
Statistical significance and margin of error
Does this represent a significant sample of the UX writer market? Let’s consider some data points:
- Last year, there were between 20,000–24,000 open positions for UX designers available
- As of August 12 2019, there are more than 470 open positions on LinkedIn for UX writers (2.35% of the UX designer total)
- A LinkedIn search revealed more than 470,000 people classed as “UX designers”
- A LinkedIn search revealed more than 3,000 people classed as “UX writers” (0.6% of the UX designer total)
It’s impossible to say what the total size of the UX writer market is right now. However, we can confidently say it is smaller than the UX designer market.
If we estimate there are approximately 500,000 UX designers worldwide, it is conceivable the UX writer community is approximately 5% of that total: 25,000.
Based on that assumption, our sample of 208 represents 0.8% with a 7% margin of error.
A quick note about job titles…
One of the big debates in content strategy and UX writing right now is the sheer number of job titles, and what they mean. We received several responses with very different job titles.
That represents a challenge in categorizing this information. We don’t know what percentage of a person’s job relates to UX writing as opposed to other types of writing.
To that end, we’ve decided to combine all the job titles for the purpose of presenting this information. We believe this is the definitive version of the information contained in this survey.
If you want to view the split data, read the appendix at the bottom of this page.
Job title count by mention (global)
Some global findings about UX writers
- 26% of respondents identified as male across all job titles
- 74% respondents as identified as female, or “mostly female”
- 31% claimed 10+ years of experience
- 44% claimed between 3–9 years of experience
- 21% claimed between 1–3 years of experience
- 4% claimed less than 1 year of experience
Revealed: UX writer salary averages
United States (n: 119)
The average salary of a UX writer in the United States is USD $126,000
- 26% of respondents identify as male
- 74% of respondents identify as female
The majority of UX writers are located in California, with 45 respondents. However, there are UX writers in many states: Washington (9), New York (13), Colorado (3), Illinois (7), Massachusetts (10), Texas (6), Wisconsin (2), Minnesota (3), Georgia (3), Iowa (2), Maryland (1), Maine (2), Michigan (2), North Carolina (2), South Carolina (1), Oregon (1), Pennsylvania, (1), Virginia (3).
Average salary by state:
UX writer average salary by gender and experience (major markets)
Our recommendations for future UX writer salary surveys
This data tells an interesting story, but it’s only the beginning of a large picture. To that end, we recommend anyone conducting other salary surveys in the UX writing field consider some key challenges and refine some data points. Our respondents were all self-reported “UX writers” but, for example, we don’t know whether that’s 25% or 100% of their job.
Delve into job responsibilities
It’s entirely possible that people with dissimilar job titles actually have quite similar responsibilities. Future surveys should analyze specific job descriptions and responsibilities to ensure a more normalized data set.
Break down between base pay, stock, and bonus
Most respondents did not note any stock or bonus income. However, this is largely the norm in developed markets such as California, and so any future survey should specify whether we’re asking about base salary or total compensation.
Larger sample sizes are needed to break down salary by experience
While some markets, such as California, provided enough information to delineate salaries by experience, many did not. More data is needed to extract this information.
It’s clear that UX writers and content strategists are well paid. Even outside of major tech markets, salaries are well above market average in the United States (USD $56,516, according to the 2015 census).
In some global markets, such as Australia and the United Kingdom, salaries are also higher than average. However, global markets differ in their income streams. The data provided by some countries suggest UX writer salaries are below average income, although others are quite well above median income for those markets.
Further data is needed to conduct a more detailed analysis about UX writer salaries at a global level.
A few caveats about our UX writers salary data
- This is not a comprehensive survey. It was designed as a temperature test, not as a verifiable, professional survey.
- This data is anonymous in nature. It contains no identifiable information such as name, or age. The survey did not verify identity. It is possible users submitted more than one entry from multiple locations.
- This information does not take into account if respondents work part-time or full-time, unless they explicitly state so.
- This information should not be used by HR departments, businesses, or other organizations as any sort of official benchmark. This is one data point among many.
- Data with fewer than five responses were considered unreliable.
Does this information make you want to become a UX writer? Check out our online courses.
Appendix: split data
This section splits information into two groups: “ux writers” and “content strategists”
UX Writers relate to only these job titles: UX writer, digital copywriter, product writer, experience writer, experience designer (copy), product copywriter, UX writer II, UI writer, UX writing manager, UX writing lead, any other term that uses the prefix or words “UX”, “writer”, and “senior”.
Content strategists relate to only these job titles: content designer, content design lead, content strategist, UX content manager, any other term that includes the word “content”, including titles that indicate seniority.