Technical Design Salaries

We have a customer posting a Technical Design position for Juniors, Missy, Plus who must know knits and wovens and have 3-5 years of experience.

The job is listing the salary range as $50k-$65k. I know that is super-low BUT PLEASE, add some comments on this salary range so that I can relate some real-world expectations to this customer.

-nothing mean, of course. no names will be used.


Hmm, I know it’s a tough retail market out there.

Can we have location?

My first job in 2008 with just a college degree I started at $45K (midwest)
My second job I started in 2010 with 2 yrs experience I started at $60k (Coastal)
At 8 years experience I was offered a job for $90K (Coastal)

Since then I’ve hovered around $80-90K depending on location. This has felt tough with the ever rising cost of rent/ home owning and gas/commuting prices. As a result I mostly dropped out of the FT work circuit and went freelance so I can charge what I need to in order to survive in this economic environment (in addition to being able to chase learning and growth opportunities increasingly not provided in a workplace setting). I also left the coastal locations to live somewhere more cost effective and find I’m able to work remotely very easily.

I’ve chatted with other PM & TDs who have or are planning to do something similar after struggling to make ends meet in coastal cities. I know I’m not alone!

I think you get what you pay for- if you want experienced candidates who show up ready to work and bring valuable experience to the table, you won’t get it for that salary. You might if it’s somewhere in the midwest or remote?

Hope this helps!


Sorry, I thought I had listed the location. NYC. :slight_smile:

ahh gotcha! Yeah, I think if they can only offer that amount, then the way to find a good candidate is offer flexible work schedule/ remote at least 2-3 days a week, in addition to on-the-job technology training (like, I would take a lower paying job if it would provide me training in digital patternwork /3D or mentorship in a specialty product like bras or swimsuits, etc).

If they want butts-in-seats, & no on the job perks, they’ll get a lot of pushback from applicants on salary or just many who won’t even apply.


That sounds like a range for a kid fresh out of school. It sounds about right for what my employer is paying new grads


Assuming this is for TD level and depending on other skills, 3D use, etc-
$70-90k in NYC on the closer to 5 year mark.


50-65K in NYC is really low, closer to new grad than 5yr experience level.


Yikes! $50k in NYC sounds like a fresh-out-of school or intern-level person, most likely a TD assistant/associate. You get what you pay for. This seems like Spec tech job. (Measure, fill in specs in excel, write basic comments).

1 Like

In my past, depending on the company i’ve paid my Co-op interns 37-41k. Assistant/Associate level 45-75k, TD’s 75-90k & Sr. TD’s 85+.

Salaries have fluctuated up and down throughout my career. Although they may be on a downward turn, good luck finding someone in NYC with experience at that price point.


Are new grads making 55-60K? My first job out of school only paid me 30k/year, and other entry jobs weren’t much better. I was so broke I was stealing food from the conference room.

Now i’m associate/mid senior and not seeing a ton of jobs beyond 60K (unless they’re for merchandising.) Am I missing something?

1 Like

If they won’t budge on salary… lower the experience level to 0-3 years. Why is everyone so scared to hire fresh talent and train them ?! You can literally mold their first experience and if they are a good company, hopefully they can hold onto this person and promote along he way to have more skill, more money, etc over time…


I was paid $35k at my first fashion job in 2010. With inflation, that’s worth $49k now. So a $55-60k job isn’t really that much these days :confused:
(I was SO underpaid, even then. I was working insane hours too–when averaged out by the hour, I was probably making less than minimum wage then. It was definitely tough.)

1 Like

Honestly this was my first thought when folks were saying this salary was for a new grad. I literally made $15/hr at my one of my first jobs. Then $16.80 when they made me manager, but then put me on salary :upside_down_face:. I found out after I quit, the people on my team doing the same job I was doing all made $17+/hr. Even the manager I replaced made at least $20/hr & they wouldn’t give me her salary. The company just decided to pay me the lowest, & being that I was very new to the industry (and 20- nothing) , I didn’t fight for my salary. So I know I’ve been severely underpaid my entire career. I didn’t make $45/k until about 3-4 years into my career. Now with over 10yrs in the industry I make $90k, but this is the 4th job I’ve actually been a manager & this is the most I’ve ever made. Even at Director tech level I didn’t make 90k at a billion dollar company. :confused: :upside_down_face: … so seeing that folks are saying this is entry level salary just confirms I was under paid & overworked my entire career. :weary:

I contemplate being freelance (like I was during covid) but I don’t want to be on the job hunt every month or so. :face_with_diagonal_mouth::weary:

1 Like