Set designers are one of the happiest careers in the United States.

At CareerExplorer, we conduct an ongoing survey with millions of people and ask them how satisfied they are with their careers. As it turns out, set designers rate their career happiness 3.8 out of 5 stars which puts them in the top 17% of careers.

To put this into perspective, we compared how happy set designers are to similar careers in the industry. Take a look at the results below:

Salaries and satisfaction ratings in similar careers

Career Satisfaction Avg Salary
Sewer
3.9
$30k
Recording engineer
3.9
$34k
Calligrapher
3.8
$62k
Tattoo artist
3.8
$39k
Art director
3.8
$101k
Set designer
3.8
$28k
Videographer
3.8
$35k
Exhibit designer
3.7
$55k
Gem worker
3.7
$47k

So what does it mean to be happy in your career? Let’s break it down into different dimensions:

  • Salary: Are set designers happy with their salary?
  • Meaning: Do set designers find their jobs meaningful?
  • Personality fit: How well suited are people’s personalities to their everyday tasks as set designers?
  • Work environment: How enjoyable are set designer’s work environments?
  • Skills utilization: Are set designers making the best use of their abilities?

Are set designers happy with their salary?

Set designers rated their satisfaction with their salaries 2.8/5. Set designers tend to be quite unhappy with their salary, with very few reporting satisfaction with their pay.

We asked set designers how fairly compensated they are for their work.
Their response was:

2.8 out of 5 stars

269 set designers

5 Star
11%

11% of set designers rated their compensation 5 stars

4 Star
22%

22% of set designers rated their compensation 4 stars

3 Star
26%

26% of set designers rated their compensation 3 stars

2 Star
24%

24% of set designers rated their compensation 2 stars

1 Star
17%

17% of set designers rated their compensation 1 stars

Do set designers find their jobs meaningful?

On average, set designers rate the meaningfulness of their work a 3.4/5. Unlike many careers, set designers have little difficulty finding meaning in their work, and it likely constitutes one of the main reasons people become set designers.

We asked set designers how meaningful they found their work.
Their response was:

3.4 out of 5 stars

273 set designers

5 Star
27%

27% of set designers rated how meaningful they found their career 5 stars

4 Star
23%

23% of set designers rated how meaningful they found their career 4 stars

3 Star
25%

25% of set designers rated how meaningful they found their career 3 stars

2 Star
15%

15% of set designers rated how meaningful they found their career 2 stars

1 Star
10%

10% of set designers rated how meaningful they found their career 1 stars

How well are people’s personalities suited to everyday tasks as set designers?

Set designers rated their personality fit with their work an average of 4.0/5. The majority of set designers find their personalities quite well suited to their work, with relatively few having complaints about their fit.

We asked set designers how well their personalities fit into their careers.
Their response was:

4.0 out of 5 stars

271 set designers

5 Star
45%

45% of set designers rated their career fit 5 stars

4 Star
28%

28% of set designers rated their career fit 4 stars

3 Star
15%

15% of set designers rated their career fit 3 stars

2 Star
8%

8% of set designers rated their career fit 2 stars

1 Star
3%

3% of set designers rated their career fit 1 stars

How enjoyable is a set designer’s work environment?

As a whole, set designers rated their enjoyment of their work environment 3.8/5. A solid majority of set designers enjoy their work environment, probably contributing to overall higher satisfaction with working as a set designer.

We asked set designers how much they enjoyed their work environment.
Their response was:

3.8 out of 5 stars

272 set designers

5 Star
32%

32% of set designers rated their work environment 5 stars

4 Star
34%

34% of set designers rated their work environment 4 stars

3 Star
19%

19% of set designers rated their work environment 3 stars

2 Star
9%

9% of set designers rated their work environment 2 stars

1 Star
6%

6% of set designers rated their work environment 1 stars

Are set designers making the best use of their abilities?

Former set designers on CareerExplorer have rated their skills utilization 3.7/5. Most set designers surveyed find that they manage to use their abilities to their fullest as a set designer, which helps contribute to higher career satisfaction in the long term.

We asked set designers how well their abilities were used in their careers.
Their response was:

3.7 out of 5 stars

272 set designers

5 Star
31%

31% of set designers rated their how well their skills were utilized in their career 5 stars

4 Star
26%

26% of set designers rated their how well their skills were utilized in their career 4 stars

3 Star
26%

26% of set designers rated their how well their skills were utilized in their career 3 stars

2 Star
14%

14% of set designers rated their how well their skills were utilized in their career 2 stars

1 Star
3%

3% of set designers rated their how well their skills were utilized in their career 1 stars