NYC, Austin, San Fran, Chicago. Which has the most ID jobs?

Which do you think has the most opportunities for Industrial Design? Which is the hardest to find work?

If the response to the coroflot salary survey is indicative of the general population of ID professionals then it would be ordered like this: NYC (216 responses), Chicago (151 responses), San Francisco (125 responses), Austin (25 responses). This is, of course, directly tied to population of the metro area.

NYC 23.5M
Chicago 9.8M
San Francisco 4.5M
Austin 1.8M

Take it a step further and normalize things to find the # of responses per million people of the general population

NYC 9.2 responses/million
Chicago 15.4 responses/million
San Francisco 27.8 responses/million
Austin 13.9 responses/million

so it depends on how you define “most jobs”

pure quantity, NYC, but as a percentage, SF.

NYC is a hard one. Pure ID, I would say SF and Chicago have a bigger pool. I would also look into Boston.

If you are looking for IxD, UI, Strategy, CPG, then NYC is you place. Just remember these are quite competitive fields.


This is a really wiggly topic. For instance, the stats we’ve started this conversation with are flawed, because it’s based on voluntary survey participants, which could be wildly uncorrelated to number of designers in any given city. There are also many ways to weigh this against a city’s population: metro area is not always the most appropriate.

I don’t think an aspiring designer should prioritize the city with the greatest quantity of jobs or the best odds of landing one. A person should pick a city they’re interested in, and do what they can to secure work in that location. The cities mentioned above plus a few others are obvious good options.

Besides, once you get to know a city, you realize there are so many interesting companies/gigs hiding beneath the surface, that don’t necessarily fit the mold of the classic design studio.

It depends what area of ID you want to be in as well. NYC is much less hard product, a lot more exhibit, fashion, point of purchase, etc.

You should look at what industries and sectors are in the surrounding region to get an idea of where the ID jobs are going to fall.

I like the adverb wiggly. Are there a lot of ID jobs because a lot of people are there or are there a lot of ID jobs there because it is adjacent to Silicon Valley and VC? Cum hoc ergo propter hoc.

Just come to San Francisco! Rent is stupidly expensive, we have a sweet drought, and you can get a job at a startup that pays a pittance.

Without fail the word correlation makes me think of this: