November 26, 2013

Business of Design: Age and Rank


If there is a crucial age in the design world, one that serves as a career milepost, 35 looks to be it. Part of the reason for that is pure arithmetic. The older group has more years of the kind of work experience that really moves people forward: 42 percent with over 20 years, or an average of 17 years. (Only 13?percent of the younger group have between 11 and 15 years’ experience. Not many teenagers starting out in the business, apparently.)


As you might expect, age affects job title as well. Of the older respondents, 51 percent are owners, partners, or some form of executive. A mere 8 percent of the younger group can say the same. “Senior manager” was a crossover zone, with 16 percent under 35 claiming it versus 23 percent of those over 35. The rank-and-file “designer” title captures 73 percent of the younger set. That age-title relationship is also reflected in how daily duties play out. Younger staffers spend the biggest chunk of their day by far, almost two and a half hours, working on drawings. Older ones spend a third more time meeting with clients in addition to devoting more hours each day to preparing for presentations, meeting with contractors, and researching products.

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