November 26, 2013

Business of Design: Work Priorities According to Age


Job priorities split along somewhat unexpected lines. Younger staffers place an 11 percent higher priority on educating clients about the value of good design, particularly green practices, and make a greater effort to keep up with product knowledge and diversify into new services. And far more youngsters, 43 percent, are concerned about competition with bigger firms. Of the older group, only 29 percent agreed. The lower fees that can result from competition also worry the younger group more than the older group: 46 percent to 41. Meanwhile, the older segment, true to the ways of higher management, sees the following areas as priorities: charging appropriate fees, as opposed to worrying about lower fees; retaining and growing the client base; marketing; managing vendors; conforming to regulations; and, of course, staying in business.


If you want to put pros of different ages at odds, just mention salary and staffing. Of the older group, 55 percent say “doing more work with less staff” affects their daily priorities. Meanwhile, offering appropriate pay and benefits is important to 63 percent more young designers than older ones. In the younger set, 55 percent more worry about staff retention and recruiting, and over 75 percent expect workload to increase in the next two years.

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