Employment is expected to grow
about as fast as the average.
Keen competition for jobs is expected; those with strong backgrounds in
engineering and computer-aided design and business knowledge will have the best
Employment change. Employment of
commercial and industrial designers is expected to grow 9 percent between 2008
and 2018, as fast as the average for all occupations. Employment growth will
arise from an increase in consumer and business demand for new or upgraded
products. The continued emphasis on the quality and safety of products, the
increasing demand for new products that are easy and comfortable to use, and the
development of high-technology products in consumer electronics, medicine,
transportation, and other fields will increase the demand for commercial and
However, some companies use design firms overseas, especially for the design
of high-technology products. These overseas design firms are located closer to
their suppliers, which reduces the time it takes to design and sell a product—an
important consideration when technology is changing quickly. This offshoring of
design work could continue to slow employment growth of U.S. commercial and
Despite the increase in design work performed overseas, most design jobs,
particularly jobs not related to high-technology product design, will still
remain in the U.S. Design is essential to a firm's success, and firms will want
to retain control over the design process.
Job prospects. Competition for jobs will
be keen because many talented individuals are attracted to the design field. The
best job opportunities will be in specialized design firms which are used by
manufacturers to design products or parts of products. Increasingly,
manufacturers have been outsourcing design work to these design services firms
to cut costs and to find the most qualified design talent, creating more
opportunities in these firms.
As the demand for design work becomes more consumer-driven, designers who can
closely monitor, and react to, changing customer demands—and who can work with
marking and strategic planning staffs to come up with new products—will also
improve their job prospects.
Employment of designers can be affected by fluctuations in the economy. For
example, during periods of economic downturns, companies may cut research and
development spending, including new product development.
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor,
Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2010-11 Edition
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