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What is the state of the Permanent UX Marketplace currently?
The UX marketplace is healthy and the demand for User Experience professionals continues to grow. This may seem like quite a broad, sweeping statement, however almost 20% of the positions that we have placed over the last 6 months have been for clients making their first UX hire. This is encouraging to see, and this growth creates a real demand for UX professionals that are able to implement an adaptive UX process while communicating their ideas to internal stakeholders that aren’t familiar with UX practices. Established teams also continue to be a key point of growth for many expanding agency and client-side organisations.
So how is the Contract Market doing?
There are more contractors now than there were 6 months ago, and this is bringing down the contract rates slightly. There are still plenty of contract opportunities out there, however the competition is greater now, we are finding that many relatively seasoned contractors are willing to be flexible on rates in order to ensure consistent work.
Non-financial-services based contract positions that require a UX practitioner capable of leading UX on a project are likely to pay £375-£425 per day. At this level there will certainly be an element of strategic involvement aside from the UX deliverables that will need to be produced.
We have seen an increase in the number of rolling contracts, created as a means of “filling in” until a permanent hire is made (an effect of the candidate driven nature of the permanent marketplace), and also an increase in the number of very short term contracts (3-5 days) to facilitate focus groups and user testing sessions.
What are Hiring Managers looking for right now?
Axure is the wireframing tool of choice as a result of its prototyping capabilities, with knowledge of HTML5, CSS3 and Jquery becoming more important too. Social media UX specific experience is also becoming increasingly sought-after within digital agencies.
Specifically relevant to contracting professionals, given the increase in the number of candidates available, employers are focussing more on specific project relevance more-so than the UX skill-set which is now more broadly available.
Trends Occurring within the UX Space
Over the past year an increasing number of Visual Designers and Front-End Developers have been transitioning into UX; and where-as 12 months ago this was a constant cause of complaint for hiring managers ‘I have advertised a UX position and have received 40 CV’s; not one of them a UX Architect – Can you help me?!’, the market is now becoming more accepting of both creative designers and developers, for a couple of reasons.
Firstly, there seems to have been an increase in the number of ‘UX/UI Design’ positions that are available, these are suited for the creative professionals looking to make the transition into UX. These roles tend to be situated within small to medium sized companies, that perhaps do not have the projects to support a full-time UX professional, and look to utilise a well-rounded skill-set.
Secondly, UX is becoming much more of an iterative process, and one in which prototyping seems to be quickly replacing static wireframing. More and more websites are responsive, and producing pages and pages of static wireframes is not cost or time effective. This is creating a demand for UX Architects that can code, and is opening the door for technical professionals who can quickly pick up core UX principals.
An Increase in Multi-Channel UX/CX Positions
A noticeable trend occurring within the UX space is an increase in both permanent and contract positions that are instrumental to client’s multi-channel customer experience. Positions focussed on improving the usability of internal systems and interfaces used by telephonic customer support and service staff, aimed at strengthening multi-channel brand experience. Given the access to, and availability of the actual users of the interfaces, these can make for some quite interesting projects, in which improvement is easily measurable. Furthermore, these projects can be refreshingly usability focussed as less importance is placed on visual elements.
If you are in need of a new challenge (or know someone who is), would like to learn more about some of our current opportunities in UX or our clients, please contact Chris on 0203 301 9905 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Search all our current vacancies.