Design Manager Salary Guide – Australia 2023

What is the average salary for a Design Manager in Australia?

On average, a design manager salary in Australia is currently around $150,000. Generally, design managers earn in the range of $140,000-$160,000 depending on their talent and level or experience. Salaries in Melbourne tend to be slightly higher than Sydney and the rest of the country, while Adelaide and Brisbane are slightly lower than the national average.

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What does a design manager do?

Design managers are responsible for overseeing design teams and their salaries reflect the level of responsibility they have inside an organisation. They work with design team members to ensure design elements and visuals are in-line with project objectives, as well as managing budgets and timelines. To do this effectively, design managers must have a strong understanding of design principles, be able to manage projects efficiently, and have an eye for detail. Plus, they must also be good communicators, be able to liaise effectively between stakeholders and provide guidance to less experienced members of the design team.

How do you become a design manager?

The most common way to become a design manager is by having multiple years of design experience, and management and leadership experience. You must demonstrate an understanding of design principles along with the ability to lead teams effectively. On top of this, many design managers will also have higher level qualifications in business management or related fields. With salaries well into six figures, the job market for design managers is competitive. This considered, having strong design experience and transferable management and communication skills is crucial for applicants.

How many years experience do you need?

Design managers will usually have at least 5-7 years design experience, along with additional management and leadership qualifications. While the number of years practicing is important, a more important factor is having expertise in a range of design disciplines. Equally important is having strong communication and team management skills. The design manager role requires extensive knowledge in design theory and practice, problem solving skills, budgeting experience, and the ability to work effectively with design teams.

What is the highest salary design managers can make?

While the average salary for design managers is around $150,000, an extremely experienced and talented design manager in Melbourne can earn up to a maximum of around $175,000 p/a.

How do salaries compare to other design roles?

Design manager salaries are significantly higher than other design roles, such as graphic design, web design and digital design, which typically earn around $65,000 to $110,000. The average salary for design management employees is approximately 40-50% higher. Comparitively, senior UX designer is one of the only non-managerial design roles that can compete with this. They can earn as much as $180,000 in rare examples.

Where are design managers typically employed?

Design managers are most commonly employed by design agencies, but can also be found in larger organisations such as advertising companies, media outlets, and corporate design teams.