UX designer salary in San Francisco: Averages and how to negotiate

Hi, I’m Elle! I work as a product designer at Getaround and as an industry mentor here at Pathrise. I help our fellows land great jobs in product design through technical workshops and 1-on-1s. Check out my article about the average UX designer salary in San Francisco, which includes tops on how to negotiate for higher compensation.

As the tech industry booms, demand for UX designers increases. In fact, UX Collective reports that there will be a 22% increase in UX design jobs in the next decade. And this is corroborated by LinkedIn research, which shows UX design is one of the top 5 hard skills that companies need the most. 

With continued growth of tech companies, San Francisco remains one of the most expensive cities in the world. With more and more tech companies paying their employees high salaries, the living expenses in San Francisco will grow as well. If you are looking for UX design roles and wondering how you can increase your UX designer salary in San Francisco, Pathrise can help. We have worked with thousands of people as they navigate their job search and negotiate 10-20% increases in compensation, on average.

Average UX designer salary in San Francisco

Negotiations actually start during your first interactions with recruiters. You should never give a number or even a range because if you do, you can end up pigeonholing yourself when it comes time to get an offer. 

If you are asked by a recruiter or hiring manager, tell them that you want to do research on the average compensation for the role. This background knowledge will help you understand the starting point for your negotiation when the time comes.

Let’s take a look at some average salaries for UX design roles in San Francisco. All of these numbers come from Glassdoor.

  • Associate UX designer – $94,552
  • UX designer – $104,843
  • Senior UX designer – $130,164

How to negotiate your UX designer salary in San Francisco

Now that you know the average salaries, you can start planning how you are going to negotiate. Remember: negotiation is expected. So, if you take the first offer you are given, you are almost definitely leaving money on the table. Don’t do that! Instead, make a plan and be confident in your negotiation.

Most recruiters call candidates on the phone to give them their offer verbally. While this is exciting, make sure that you remain calm and don’t say yes to anything. You should definitely tell them that you are excited about the opportunity, but do not agree to the offer. Instead, ask to see the offer in writing via email and then thank them and hang up.

If the recruiter pushes you to accept the offer over the phone, just stand firm, but be polite. Explain that you want to see it written out before agreeing. You can also let them know that you’d like to talk it over with your mentors, family members, or friends. They cannot force you to accept it verbally, so just get off the phone as quickly (and calmly) as you can.

Once you have the written offer, read through it and make sure that you understand it all. Compensation includes benefits, perks like PTO, and equity along with your salary. Go through it with a fine tooth comb and do your research if you have questions about equity or other, similar elements.

Planning your negotiation

When you understand your offer, you can plan your negotiation. Make sure you take the type of company into account as well. For example, big tech companies like Google, Facebook, and Amazon are known for giving starting offers with high salaries and good benefits. Therefore, you might see better results if you negotiate on signing bonuses, equity, relocation funds, and other benefits with these organizations.

On the other hand, startups might start with lower salaries in their offers. So, you should focus on increasing compensation, unless they explicitly mentioned that they cannot go higher. In that case, turn your attention to bonuses, equity, and benefits. For more info on how to increase your salary, check out our guide.

With this background knowledge on the average UX designer salary in San Francisco and these tips, you should be able to successfully navigate offers for these roles and negotiate to increase your compensation. For more guidance on how to become a UX designer, check out our guide.

Pathrise is a career accelerator that works with students and professionals 1-on-1 so they can land their dream job in tech. With our guidance, we’ve seen a 10-20% increase in salary from our fellows in the program.

If you want to work with our mentors 1-on-1 to get help with negotiation or with any other aspect of the job search, join Pathrise. 

Apply today.

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