Posted 06 April 2022
Written by N'Tanya Clarke

Seven sites and spreadsheets for salary transparency in the creative industries

It’s one thing to find a dream job, but how do you know if the salary that comes with it is just as dreamy? With a growing number of creative opportunities out there, we believe it’s important to know what’s fair. Here, we’re sharing seven sites and spreadsheets – from Glassdoor to the AIGA Eye on Design’s graphic design salary database – to help keep salary transparency front and centre.

An ever-growing talking point across the creative industries, pay transparency is being demanded now more than ever. Take senior reporter Victoria M. Walker, who, in early February shocked many on Twitter when she disclosed her salary along with the salary that her replacement should ask for. Although a generous and helpful move in an industry that can be exploitative, it’s not something that’s seen enough of, and which is harder to come by for emerging creatives.

The desire for pay transparency ranges from a need to expose and close the gender pay gap to a collective fatigue around ‘competitive’ salary listings and exploitation. Motivations vary, but one thing is for sure – creatives are banding together, fearless as ever, with a desire to effect change. And with the demand for pay transparency increasing by the day, we hope that with this list, you’ll gain a greater insight into the companies you choose to apply for and industries you wish to work in.

1. Glassdoor

Originally created as a site to anonymously review your company or employer, Glassdoor has become one of the leading platforms for salary transparency. Conducting research into the effects of a lack of transparency such as discrepancies between men and women’s pay and attitudes toward asking for a pay rise, they’ve also showcased the positives of transparency across industries.

Being one of the biggest sites for reviews, users can give anonymous insight into a workplace beyond pay, creating profiles on employers, ranging from a star rating to in-depth reviews of a company and its practices.

Use Glassdoor’s salary tool here

2. LinkedIn Salary

A newer addition to the renowned networking site, LinkedIn Salary provides salary insights, allowing you to get a deeper look into the the roles you want. With a process that demands you to share your salary before gaining access to the data, it is an ever-growing database of information.

Launched in 2016, the tool can help you make more informed career decisions and understand the factors that effect pay for different roles such as location, years of experience and company size. A beneficial resource, this will allow you to provide context to the jobs you see and companies you follow.

Use LinkedIn’s salary tool here

3. Reed

UK-based employment agency Reed, known for their jobs board, up-skilling courses and career advice, recently added a UK average salary checker. Allowing you to browse by sector as well as specific job titles and locations, they provide some much-needed context into the gap between London and non-London based jobs, as well the same role in different industries.

Due to its ability to average out salaries it provides an easily decipherable look into the industry, for those who would rather an average over a spreadsheet.

Use Reed’s salary checker here

4. Design Interns Club

Set up in 2019 by design students and graduates, the Design Interns Club spreadsheet looks to “raise awareness of interns’ conditions and help those seeking an internship to chose the right place for them.”

Collating information about internships across graphic design, product design, industrial design, art, fashion and architecture, the sheet lists salary information along with details about benefits, cost of living, working hours and conditions.

To view the spreadsheet click here, and to contribute to the sheet, click here

5. Graphic Design Salary Transparency

The Graphic Design Salary Transparency spreadsheet is one of few created by a company instead of an individual in the industry. Fittingly set up by AIGA’s editorial platform, Eye on Design, it shows the salaries of those working in graphic design across continents including the US, Europe and Asia.

Since its release in December 2019, over 2,000 designers have disclosed their salaries along with information about their job title, age, race and more. An invaluable tool with an array of data, it continues to be a resource for those entering the industry, switching careers – and most of all those that want change.

To view the spreadsheet click here, and to contribute to the spreadsheet click here

6. Real Agency Salaries

With a focus on salaries at creative advertising agencies, Real Agency Salaries provides context into the expected pay across adland. With contributions coming predominantly from within the United States, it’s also a great way for UK creatives to learn about the pay discrepancies between the UK and US industries, should they wish to work across the pond.

With a range of columns providing greater context, such as gender identity, sexual orientation, race and years of experience, it will give you greater insight into the many contributing factors to pay, allowing you to explore any pay gaps that exist.

To view the spreadsheet, click here and to contribute to the sheet, click here

7. Book Publishing Salary Transparency

In June 2020, people working at all levels of the publishing industry started to contribute to the Book Publishing Salary Transparency sheet. From editorial assistants, digital marketing assistants, commissioning editors and marketing directors, salaries were shared “for the sake of transparency and change.”

Wrapping up its salary intake in July of 2020, it now serves as a platform for junior creatives who wish to see what starting salaries they should be receiving, and for mid-level creatives looking to progress in the industry.

View the spreadsheet here


If you know of any other pay transparency websites or spreadsheets that you think should be added, feel free to get in touch at [email protected]

Written by N'Tanya Clarke