Table showing growth in UK based UXR salaries by years of experience
Hulu subscription: $7.99.
Interactive bird simulation toy for your cat: $59.99.
The satisfaction of being paid well for a job you love: Priceless. 💸
Whatever you’re spending money on, you deserve fair compensation for your work.
Keeping an eye on recent salary trends and benchmarks is a great way to get the data you need to negotiate effectively and make informed decisions about your career path. (For managers, staying up to date on these same trends will help you advocate for and set fair salaries for your team, and equip you with the information you need to thoughtfully respond to questions about UXR compensation.)
Our 5th-annual 2023 State of User Research Report unpacked the findings from a global survey of UX Researchers, ReOps specialists, designers, product managers, and other people who do research. This year, we collected so much data that we decided to do two follow-up reports on UXR salaries and tools (stay tuned for the next tools report).
In this one, we’ll dive deeper into our findings about UX researcher salaries, covering:
- How much User Researchers earn by years of experience, country, region, and company size.
- How much Research Ops professionals earn in the US, by years of experience.
- The salary ranges that make UX Researchers happy (based on self-reported satisfaction with compensation).
- Year-over-year salary trends from previous reports.
✍️Note: This original version of this report was published in 2020 by Carrie Boyd, based on insights from the 2020 State of User Research Report. This page was updated in August 2023 with fresh data from the 2023 State of User Research Report.
How to use this report
- UX Researchers and ReOps Specialists: Use this report to compare your own salary against industry benchmarks. With these data points in hand, you can better advocate for a fair compensation package and evaluate the competitiveness of different job offers.
- Research Managers: Use this report to evaluate the wages you offer against industry benchmarks. Understanding the typical salary in the industry will allow you to set fair and competitive compensation packages, increasing your ability to retain talented researchers.
- Aspiring researchers: Use this report to make informed decisions about your career path. Compare your current or potential salary to the global industry standards to better understand your options and weigh your earning potential against the costs of further education or a career switch.
In May 2023, we conducted our fifth annual State of User Research survey, with the support of our partners at Lookback, Marvin, MeasuringU, the Research Ops Community, and UXtweak. We heard from 929 researchers across the globe—including UXRs, ReOps Specialists, and people who do research (a.k.a. PwDRs, such as designers and product managers).
The 2023 State of User Research Report unpacks the findings of this survey, and includes insights on everything from UXR team sizes to tools to feelings about AI and democratization.
For the UX Research Salary Report, we isolated data for folks who identified themselves as UXRs and Research Ops professionals only.
Note that we defaulted to using the median salary, except in cases where the sample size was below 25—in those cases, we’ve included the geometric mean, as this provides a more accurate measure for smaller samples. (We adopted this approach from Jeff Sauro PhD, a Six-Sigma trained statistical expert and founder/CEO of MeasuringU. We encourage you to review his published studies and blog on this approach to learn more!)
Visit the 2023 State of User Research Report for more details on our survey methodology, or consult the Appendix at the bottom of this page for details on salary analysis and reporting.
For clarity, here are the definitions of key terms we’ll be using throughout the report:
- UXRs: People whose titles include UX/User Research (or similar terms)
- ReOps Specialists: People whose titles include Research Operations (or similar terms)
- ICs: Individual contributors, or professionals who aren’t directly responsible for managing or directing other employees.
- Median: A statistical measure that represents the middle value of a dataset. We’ve used the median when our sample size is above 25.
- Geometric mean (or geo mean): A value representing the central tendency of a dataset, calculated by multiplying the numbers together and taking the root. We’ve used the geo mean when our sample size is below 25.
- Est. middle value: Our best estimate of the middle value. We’ve used “est. middle value” to encompass both the median and geo mean where applicable.
- N: The sample size, or number of responses for a particular segment.
- Salary: Annual compensation, including bonuses but excluding additional benefits like equity. All numbers are in USD ($).
💰 UX research salaries in the US, UK, and Canada
As we’d expect, our data showed that User Researchers generally report higher salaries as their experience grows. When we compare US, UK, and Canadian UXR salaries (for which we had the largest sample sizes), we found that US-based User Researchers report the highest salaries across the board. (We’ll dive deeper into location-based pay differences in the UXR Salaries by Country and Region section.)
✍️ Note that all salaries are presented in US dollars.
Our data showed that median salaries grow from one bracket to the next at an average rate of 15.1% as US-based User Researchers gain experience. For comparison, see the Glassdoor median salaries in the table below.
According to our data, the typical US-based UXR is earning over $100k/year, starting from their very first year on the job. Unsurprisingly, the frequency of higher salary reports increases with experience level.
Our data for Canadian researchers shows that salaries grow at an average rate of 15.7% from one experience bracket to the next, although our (small) audience of UXRs with 10-14 years of experience had a lower geometric mean salary than their colleagues with 7-9 years of experience. For comparison, PayScale reports a median salary of $60,413 USD for all Canadian UXRs, based on a sample size of 67 salary profiles. Glassdoor reports a median salary of $70,409 across all years of experience (sample size unknown).
According to our sample, Canadian salaries are 38.7%–93.8% lower than US salaries at the same experience level. For comparison, our Canadian salary means are higher than those reported by Learners in 2021. The 2021 Learners report (N=153) found that UXRs with 1-3 years of experience were earning a median of $43,740 USD, while UXRs with more than 10 years of experience were making $78,596 USD. UXCEL’s Canadian UXR Salary Report offers additional benchmarks, but they don’t share the sample size of their audience.
UK-based UXR salaries also increase with years of experience, at an average rate of 28.3% from one experience bracket to the next. However, they’re still making less than their North American counterparts at nearly every seniority level. For comparison, Glassdoor reports a median salary of $69,630 for UK-based UXRs across all levels of experience. Note that we’ve omitted the 7-9 years of experience bracket due to an insufficient sample size.
For comparison, the 2021 UXR Salary Report by Learners found that UK-based UXRs (N=49) were earning a median salary of $60,265 with 1-3 years of experience, $67,413 with 3-6 years of experience, $100,198 with 6-10 years of experience, and $103,427 with more than 10 years of experience. This seems to roughly track with our data, but it’s hard to make a 1-1 comparison because the experience brackets aren’t exact.
💰 Research operations salaries in the US
Our 2023 State of User Research Report found that some of the most common pain points faced by dedicated UXRs—including recruiting qualified participants, managing a panel, and scheduling sessions—seem to be alleviated when a Research Ops Specialist is part of the team. Likewise, our 2022 Report found that folks with a dedicated ReOps function were more satisfied with their jobs overall.
It’s clear that ReOps can have a positive impact on the efficiency and happiness of research teams. Do their salaries reflect the important role ReOps Specialists play on their teams?
Based on our data, it seems like US-based ReOps professionals are earning a little over $100k in their first few years, with their salary growing to more than $150k after 10 years of experience.
Note that our sample size for Research Ops professionals outside of the US was quite small, so we’ve only included US-based respondents in this section.
The ReOps professionals in our audience reported a general increase in salary with more experience. Note that we’ve merged some of the years of experience brackets due to insufficient sample sizes.
For comparison, the 2020 Research Ops Community Census found that US-based ReOps professionals (N=72, out of 147 total ReOps professionals from the US, UK, Germany, Canada, and Australia) were making a median salary of approximately $125,800 annually, with an average of 6.9 years of experience. Glassdoor reports a median salary of $84,756 for all experience levels.
💰 UX research salaries around the world
Wages can vary drastically in different parts of the world, typically due to differences in cost of living, local income benchmarks, and standard benefits packages. To benchmark UXR salary differences by country and region, we segmented our audience by their location and compared their salaries in USD.
✍️ Note that we converted all the salaries to USD based on current exchange rates the week of July 24th, 2023.
Our data showed that, in general, UX Researchers in North America and Oceania are the highest earners. Individual contributors (ICs) in Brazil seem to be making the least, although they reported the highest level of satisfaction with their salaries (more on that in the “What Salaries Make UXRs Happy?” section).
UXR salaries by country
Our sample sizes varied for different countries, so the following charts include comparisons of both the median salary (for countries with sample sizes above 25) and the geometric mean (for countries with sample sizes below 25). We’re referring to the combined metrics our best estimate for the middle value, or “estimated middle value.”
According to our data, UX researchers in the US are making more than UXRs in any other part of the world. However, the cost of living varies by country, so the same salary may go a longer way in some places than others. For example, Brazilian UXRs earn 78% less than their US counterparts. This sounds less dramatic when we compare the cost of living—in Brazil it's 69% less expensive than the US. In Poland, where the cost of living is 59% lower than the US, UXR salaries are 74% lower than in the US.
See Appendix Section B for direct links to the Glassdoor comparisons.
UXR salaries by region
Our data showed that UX Researchers in North America and Oceania are making higher salaries compared to UX Researchers from other parts of the world. This is to be expected, as the cost of living in North American and Oceanic countries are among the highest in the world.
Note that in the State of User Research 2023 report, we initially reported regional salaries using the median. The UX Research Salary Report uses the geometric mean for some regions, due to small sample sizes.
Manager-level salaries around the world are higher than those of individual contributors, but follow a similar regional pattern (higher in North America and Europe, lowest in Asia and Latin America & the Caribbean). Note that we’ve omitted some of the regions (namely, Africa, the Middle East, and Oceania) here due to insufficient sample sizes.
Around the world, it seems like UXRs see increases in salary as they move into higher-level positions. Note that our data is especially scarce at Director-level and above.
💰UX research salaries grow with company size
Does working at a bigger company = bigger pay potential?
When we analyzed the data for our US-based UXRs, this seems to be the case. This may be because larger companies have more resources available for UX Researchers than smaller companies.
However, the gap between what small companies pay and what large companies pay seems to be more pronounced for UXRs at the highest seniority levels (Director+).
Based on our sample, IC salaries seem to be 55.3% higher in large companies (10,000+ employees, N=82) than in small companies (<50 employees, N=16).
Managers in 10,000+ companies (N=19) seem to be making 49.7% higher salaries than their counterparts in companies with fewer than 100 employees (N=7). Note that we’ve merged the 2-49 and 50-199 company size brackets due to small sample sizes.
The gap between pay in small orgs and large orgs is more pronounced for Directors/VPs than for ICs and Managers. In our sample, Directors/VPs earn 89.6% higher salaries in large orgs (10,000+ employees, N=7) than in small orgs (2-199 employees, N=7). Note that we’ve merged the 2-49 and 50-199 company size brackets due to small sample sizes.
Although our audience reported a slight dip in salary in the 1,000–9,999 company size bucket, our data generally showed an increase in individual contributor salaries as companies scale.
Our data generally showed an increase in Manager salaries as companies scale.
As with the IC segment, the Directors-VPs in our audience reported a slight dip in their salaries in the 1,000–9,999 company size bucket. In general, though, our data showed an increase in Director-VP salary as companies scale.
💰 What salaries make UXRs happy?
Can money buy happiness?
Maybe. In the 2023 State of User Research survey, we asked folks to rate their satisfaction with various factors on a scale from 1 (very unsatisfied) to 5 (very satisfied). Controlling for location, company size, and seniority, our survey data suggests that people are most satisfied with their salary when it’s at or above the middle value.
Satisfaction with salaries appears to trend higher when salaries are at or above the median/geometric mean. Note that our sample sizes outside of the U.S. were small, especially at Director-level and above. In this section, we’ve included data from all the countries where our sample size was 5 or above; for ICs, that means Australia/NZ, Brazil, Canada, Czechia, France, Germany, Netherlands, Poland, Spain, UK, and the U.S., and for managers, that means Canada, Germany, UK, and the U.S.
Here, we’ve looked at the median/geo mean salaries for each salary satisfaction rating. In our sample, UXRs who indicated being more satisfied with their salary also reported making higher salaries (the “very satisfied” ICs had a middle value of $171,250) compared to those who were less satisfied (the “very dissatisfied” ICs had a middle value of $100,468). Note that we omitted the “very dissatisfied” segment for managers due to an insufficient sample size.
Year-over-year salary trends
We published our inaugural State of User Research Report in 2019. Since then, our audience has grown a lot. That growth has allowed us to deliver bigger, more accurate insights every year.
However, that growth also means that when comparing year-over-year data, previous years will have wider confidence intervals. We’ve also made some changes to our survey over time to improve analysis; in previous years, we asked about salary using brackets, while this year, we asked for a numerical input and then grouped responses into brackets as part of our analysis.
Those caveats aside, it’s clear that UX research salaries are on the rise, even when taking into account reported cost of living adjustments. The percentage of UXRs receiving higher pay has increased year-over-year at every level, but especially for director-level positions and above.
According to our State of User Research data, IC (individual contributor) salaries are growing. The segment of our total survey audience making 200k+ has grown by 650% since 2020.
Manager-level salaries also seem to be growing, according to our yearly State of User Research data. The segment of our total survey audience reporting salaries of $200k+ has grown by 222% since 2021. Note that we have no manager-level data from 2020.
Director-level salaries have also grown. The segment of our total survey audience reporting salaries of $200k+ has grown by 230% since 2021. Note that we don’t have enough manager data from 2020.
More insights on the current state of UX research
We hope this report provides you with some salary benchmarks for researchers in your location, experience, and company size.
Based on our data, researcher salaries do seem to be on the rise—and that’s not the only thing that’s changed in the world of user research this year.
Our 2023 State of User Research Report drilled into other surprising insights about the industry today, including:
- The anatomy of UX research teams
- The impact of layoffs, AI, and democratization
- Top UXR software and research methods
… and much more! Dig deeper with the full report.
A. We asked for salaries in USD (and provided a link to a currency calculator) using an open-response field. Of the 929 responses we received, 129 required interpretation. For transparency, the assumptions and changes we made were as follows:
- We failed to specify that we were looking for annual salaries, which is the standard format when discussing salaries in the United States. In some other regions, however, it is more typical to discuss salary in monthly terms. If the input salary was much lower than expected (between $300 and $9,000 USD) for individuals located outside of North America, we presumed that the participant had entered their monthly salary, rather than annual. We multiplied this value by 12, and confirmed that the resulting amount was within a reasonable range for local salaries based on a quick Google search.
- If a participant from the United States or Canada entered a 3-digit salary that appeared to be shorthand for a typical salary (based on that individual’s location, seniority, and years of experience), we multiplied the response by 1,000. For example, in the case of a VP/Senior VP in the US with 15+ years of experience, we interpreted the input “350” as $350,000.
- Responses of $0 were excluded from calculations. When a response was inscrutable (i.e. far outside the expected range, but did not meet either criteria above), we also excluded it from our calculations.
B. According to Glassdoor, Australian UXRs (across all experience levels) earn a median annual salary of $78,773; Brazilian UXRs earn a median of of $38,400; Canadian UXRs earn $70,406; Czechian UXRs earn $94,743; French UXRs earn $53,445; German UXRs earn $65,960; Dutch UXRs earn $75,157; Polish UXRs earn $25,663; Spanish UXRs earn $40,378; British UXRs earn $69,636; and American UXRs earn $115,554.