Hiring Trends in UX Design: The 6 Things You Need to Know About Tech’s Fastest Growing Field

UX design is hot right now: companies have never been more invested in making sure their users, customers, and clients have a positive experience with their websites and apps. Adobe set out to uncover the latest hiring trends in UX design and the results point to one big conclusion: ‘UX designers’ are now as in demand as software engineers, and that demand is only going to increase.

Adobe spoke to 500 managers and department heads working in UX design and asked them about their needs, their hiring priorities, and what they’re looking for in potential candidates. What we found looks very good for UX professionals.

Hiring UX Designers is Top Priority Right Now

Eighty-seven percent of managers said hiring more UX designers is the top priority for their organization: higher than graphic designers (76%) and product managers (74%), and tied with software engineers for top spot.

One HR manager called UX design “very critical for our [organization’s] future,” while another department manager said “UX review, prototyping, and screen design are important to ensure the end product will not be met with resistance by the end users or even product failure.”

Most Managers Plan To Double The Number of UX Designers They Hire In Next Five Years

UX design is slated for more growth: 73% of managers said they plan to double the number of UX designers in their organization in the next five years.

Many don’t plan to wait that long: 63% of them hired five or more UX designers in the last 12 months and 40% of them expect to double their total number of UX designers in the coming year.

Current Hiring Surge in New York, Major Growth Expected in Detroit

The managers we spoke to are looking for UX designers in all major U.S. tech hubs, but 39% of them said they’re looking to hire UX professionals in New York right now. Things are looking good in several other big cities: 29% of managers said they’re looking to hire UX designers in Chicago and 24% are looking in Los Angeles, with Boston and San Francisco following closely behind.

If you’re looking to the future, look further north: Detroit is seeing major growth in UX design. Managers expect to strongly increase the number of UX designers they hire there in the next year, with Washington, D.C., San Diego, and Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill also showing impressive prospects.

‘UX Tools’ Is The Most Important Skill, But Personality Counts Too

When asked what skills they look for in UX designers, 42% of managers said ‘knowledge of UX tools’ is the most important factor in hiring. 33% said the ability to collaborate was a top skill, but this answer varied a lot depending on the size of the organization. Collaboration skills are much less important to managers who’ve hired more than 20 UX designers in the past year.

Different skills matter to different managers as well:

All managers said UX design experience (76%), having a strong portfolio (75%), and coding/programming experience (70%) were the top things they looked for in the hiring process.

For the most experienced managers working in large organizations, good references (78%) and recommendations from someone they trust (84%) were the most important factor when hiring. References and recommendations were much less important for managers working at a smaller scale.

UX Design For Mobile Platforms is Most Important, But VR, AR, AI, and Wearables Growing

The majority of hiring managers are focused on mobile platforms (55%), and they expect mobile will still be the top priority for hiring in five years time (48%).

While desktop-to-mobile (cross-platform user design) will also remain a hiring priority, 45% of managers expect to hire UX designers who can work on virtual reality (VR) projects in the next 3-5 years. Growth is expected in augmented reality (37% of managers looking to hire in 3-5 years), and

AI and wearables will see double-digit growth in hiring trends too.

Most managers are hiring UX designers to work on web design (65%), with visual design (61%) and mobile app design (54%) also being significant. Regardless of platform, UX designers are being hired primarily to solve problems related to customer experience and improved user experience (54% for both). Solving other problems such as consistency across devices and growth/acquisition were key, but not as important as focusing on the end user and their interactions.

Take a look at the data from the report in this beautiful visualization #MadeWithAdobeXD by designer Wen Tong:

Regardless of your specialization in UX design, hiring trends are overwhelmingly positive with serious growth across the board. If you’re looking to level up your design skills, or are looking to break into the fast-growing world of UX design, download Adobe Experience Design CC for Mac and Windows today.