Why accepting a permanent role could be better for your UX career
- last updated 21 Jul 2016
This week, Ash McGann - our UX Guru - tells us what’s going on in the UX market right now and why you might want to reconsider that freelance role.
You’ve been specialising in UX at Digital Gurus nearly 5 years now - how has the market changed in that time?
When I first started, senior UX designers had a preference for freelance positions. As time has gone on, I am now seeing this preference in junior and mid-weight designers as well. Basically, there are increasingly less candidates looking for permanent UX roles.
Why do you think this change has happened?
Quite simply, the lure of more money. UX is a buzzword with real power at the moment - businesses are feeling increasing pressure to get some kind of UX head on their team. As a result, they are taking on freelance UX’ers at any level. At the same time, freelance day rates are increasing, but permanent salaries are not inflating at the same rate.
Why is this a problem?
It’s a huge problem. With hiring managers taking on junior UX’ers in order to please their company heads & ‘tick the UX box’, juniors aren’t being given the direction & support they need (i.e. by a more senior UX designer).
Juniors and mids are no longer learning as they would in a permanent role. I hear time and time again from my candidates that they want to move to perm because they’ve ‘stopped learning’. Instead of seeing projects through from start to finish, being part of a successful, strategic UX team and driving change in businesses, a lot of these candidates are just spending their days wire-framing.
So there are now a lot of juniors and mids in the market who have fallen behind their peers by going down the freelance route. They haven’t developed the necessary skills to drive their career forward and take things to the next logical level.
What’s the solution?
In the ‘good old days’, candidates would spend a number of years learning UX in a perm role, steadily up-skilling and moving up the ranks, taking advantage of employee development budgets and training programmes. Once they had developed their expertise, they would take that knowledge and apply it to freelance roles.
Freelance is popular because it doesn’t require strict discipline. But the way things are going now, UX is becoming devalued. I really think we need to go back to this traditional model to make sure the reputation of UX (or your own) isn’t tarnished.
So what are the benefits of taking a permanent role over a freelance role?
The good news is that employers are recognising the need to pay their permanent UX staff an enticing salary. With the security of a fixed income, paid holiday, ability to learn, a team, stability, easier career progression and more influence within the company, it has to be worth considering.
Ash has a number of really exciting and well-paid perm roles for UX designers of all levels. This could be the exact right time to consider your options. Click here to contact Ash directly.
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