Use this area to discuss Technical Designer salaries.
San Francisco - senior level 100k
NYC- technical designer, $77,000
What level? Yrs of experience
Associate Tech Designer - New York $67,000
NYC - Asst. Tech Designer - 4 years - $50,000
LA- Technical Designer (senior level)- $90k
NYC - Associate Technical Designer - $65k
When I was a Senior Tech Designer for Menswear in NYC, I was making 98K back in Jan, 2020.
$75 per hour freelance LA highly experienced.
Unfortunately, salaries have been flat for over 12 years across all roles. There has been a steady decline in recognizing the value that we bring to this industry. I do not foresee it reverting back, ever, to the glory and honor it used to hold.
When I was a Sr. Tech Designer back in 2006, I was making $125K…
Portland, OR: $90K senior level with 6 years experience
Technical designer -10 years - 85k - Pennsylvania
NYC-I’ve made 138k and 140k as sr tech, with large companies. But that was 3-4 years and probably hard to come by that kind of money again. My most recent fulltime job was 100k, but that company went out of business.
I’ve also had freelance jobs that paid 50/hr when hired directly and one that paid 30/hr through an agency. I’ve found there wasn’t much room for negotiation with the agency, but I took the job because I needed it.
Wow, it’s so sad salaries for TD’s have not increased in 20 years!
20 yrs ago I was (gratefully fortunate) that I was getting $85/hr as a 3/4 time in house freelance Sr. TD. I know those days are gone. Now there are SO many more TD’s. What gave me an edge in my career is my extensive hands on background in Patternmaking, cutting, sewing, truly knowing garment construction, grading, (the physical grading of patterns using a Sun Li grading instrument), fabrics and components compatibility, costing and in house production manufacturing experience. I encourage all TD’s that are sincerely interested in the craft to apply these skills. It is an applied practice.
Salaries have definitely gone down while costs of living have gone up and up! I just got a job offer with a well known, competitive to get into company after a lot of interviews for only 75k (and I have 14 years of experience and I’m also a patternmaker). I feel so shocked that they would offer this to me and act like it’s a good offer.
I’ve been debating what to do going forward. I have found that I almost do best by remaining a freelance contractor and charging $60-$75 an hour since I can also do patterns and that seems to be hard for people to find. At least by being independent I can live where I want to live and control some expenses. Also, I find my time is more respected since they know they have to pay for what they ask for. I’m tired of going above and beyond for a job that barely covers the cost of living in a coastal city.
I just can’t find a full time job that actually pays what I think is reasonable for the amount of experience I have and the cost of living.
I do feel like we have to push back on agencies who try to get us to work for $25-35 an hour. I have been emailing them back and saying to not contact me again for anything less than $50.
Why are salaries going down so much in our area? is it time to change careers?
I totally understand what you are going through. Somehow over the last 10 years " technical design" got demoted, companies think that it requires no skill at all and are in a race to the bottom as to what skill level they will pay for. It takes a lot more than a few flat sketches in Illustrator to do product design and development well. And then they wonder why it takes so many pre-production samples before approval, why the product is ill-fitting, or why there are high customer returns, etc. Sadly, 75K is at the higher end of the job postings I have seen lately. I also have years of experience as a patternmaker, and since the pandemic began I have been freelancing in the $60-$75 hour range, and have told agencies that I would consider work in the $50 range. It’s hard to find a full-time job with benefits, but I think we should stick to our principles here- They get what they pay for, and I know my experience is worth a lot more than $25 an hour. (Patternmaking, grading, garment construction, sewing, manufacturing procedures etc, many garment categories including knitwear, all hands on.)
Totally agree! Honestly, a lot of full time job offers try to get you with, “well, you get beneftis”, but I have found healthcare not too difficult to get independently and I find I actually am happier with the plan I have as a freelancer than I was when I was full time and had a high deductible.
I suppose clothing discounts are also benefits, but, honestly, I don’t really need much anymore. A higher salary with no benefits is definitely preferable.
I’m glad to hear we are both working in that same hourly rate range. Sometimes I get a lot of pushback saying other people they work with only charge “x”. But I also know there are patternmakers in NYC charging at least $100/hr. I’m working towards always charging $75/hr but I’ve been bouncing around a bit depending on the client and how easy they are to work with.
What are the salary differences between a job in LA or SF Versus an NYC job for a mid level tech designer and a senior designer?