Big Industries vs. High Paying Industries

The Bureau of Labor Statistics lists the top five industries with the highest concentration of graphic designers as well as the five industries that pay graphic designers the most. Unfortunately, there is absolutely no overlap between the two lists. Should you pay attention to one more than the other?

First, the industries with the highest level of employment for graphic designers are:

  • Specialized Design Services: $50,280 annual mean wage
  • Newspaper, Periodical, Book, and Directory Publishers: $41,600 annual mean wage
  • Advertising, Public Relationships, and Related Services: $48,210 annual mean wage
  • Printing and Related Support Activities: $40,940 annual mean wage
  • Computer Systems Design and Related Services: $55,150

These industries have a constant need for graphic designers, making them good places to look for work. That’s especially true when searching for your first job, since you don’t have much experience on your resume to impress potential employers.

Yet some students at graphic design colleges want to earn the highest possible salary in their field, even if that means working in an industry they’d never considered before. That’s where these five highest paying industries come into play:

  • Federal Executive Branch: $74,030 annual mean wage
  • Computer and Peripheral Equipment Manufacturing: $66,250 annual mean wage
  • Motion Picture and Video Industries: $64,710 annual mean wage
  • Aerospace and Parts Manufacturing: $63,750 annual mean wage
  • Consumer Goods Rental: $59,040 annual mean wage

Demand for graphic designers tends to be much lower in these industries, which means there can be fierce competition for the few available jobs.

You do, however, need to put all of these salaries in perspective. The median yearly salary for a graphic designer in the U.S. (including all industries and among all the states) is $43,180. That means 3 out the 5 industries with the highest levels of employment still pay salaries in the top 50%. 

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