User experience (UX) is all about making products, websites, and apps easier to use. But to do that, a company needs to have a deep understanding of their users — and that's where UX Researchers come in.
UX Researchers are tasked with diving into the minds of users to identify their needs, motivations, and behaviors. Their insights help inform the rest of the UX work and ensure that their products can (and will) help users achieve their goals.
UX research is a great choice for anyone with a passion for problem-solving and working with others, and the field is full of opportunities. Ahead, we'll explore how much UX Researchers make, how various factors influence their salaries, and how you can get started on this career path.
What does a UX Researcher do?
UX research involves connecting with users to figure out their pain points and desired outcomes using a mix of qualitative and quantitative research methods like surveys and interviews. Nannearl Brown, a UX Researcher at Figma, explains that this requires strong communication skills — not only to connect with users, but also to synthesize your findings and share them with the rest of your team.
So what does a typical day look like for a UX Researcher? According to Nannearl, "I might be leading a workshop and facilitating the formation of ideas and hypotheses that we want to look further into and then planning how we're going to actually get answers to the questions that we came up with." You can read more about Nannearl’s job, including how she got in the door at Figma, here.
UX Researcher average salary
UX Researchers play a key role in the software development process, so their skills are highly valued in the tech industry. Salary expectations generally sit above the six-figure mark, with Glassdoor reporting an average of $104,771, Indeed listing an average of $110,147, and ZipRecruiter estimating $112,899. Payscale provides a slightly lower estimate for the average UX Researcher salary at $88,788.
It's worth noting that other UX roles also earn fairly high salaries, with the average for UX Designers ranging between $98,933 and $98,579, and UX Engineers sitting around $124,346.
What factors influence a UX Researcher’s salary?
The averages listed above are a solid reference point, but a UX Researcher’s salary will depend on their location, as salaries are often adjusted to align with the area’s cost of living. Other factors include how much experience they have, and the size of the company they work for.
UX research tends to be well-paying no matter where you live, but Indeed reports that the highest-paying areas for UX Researchers are:
- San Jose, CA: $166,932
- New York, NY: $127,2243
- Boston, MA: $121,966
- Seattle, WA: $117,938
- Menlo Park, CA: $103,817
- Irving, TX: $96,196
- Chicago, IL: $81,040
- San Francisco, CA: $72,361
- Mountain View, CA: $67,516
And according to ZipRecruiter, the top-paying cities for UX Researchers include::
- Atkinson, NE: $155,985
- Bridgehampton, NY: $134,961
- San Mateo, CA: $133,051
- Boston, MA: $132,336
- Deer Park, CA: $129,940
- Morton, WA: $129,912
- Covelo, CA: $129,465
- Laytonville, CA: $129,424
- Lowell, MA: $128,675
- Green River, WY: $128,247
User Interviews, a Massachusetts-based user research firm, surveyed hundreds of UX Researchers around the world and found that (unsurprisingly) salaries generally rise as a person gains more years of experience. According to the report, UX Researchers with up to 10 years of experience earn between $100,000 and $150,000, while those with over 10 years of experience range between $150,000 and $200,000.
Aside from simply breaking down salaries by years of experience, salaries can also be considered based on titles. Glassdoor provides salary breakdowns for the following titles, which typically range from associate (entry-level) to lead (the most experienced, usually with managerial responsibility for a research team):
- Associate UX Researcher: $56,388
- Junior UX Researcher: $75,974
- UX Researcher: $89,095
- Senior UX Researcher: $135,735
- Lead UX Researcher: $126,411
In 2020, User Interviews found that a company’s size also influences a UX Researcher’s salary. Generally, larger companies have more resources to hire and compensate researchers and often provide more opportunities for new UX Researchers to learn from more experienced ones and develop their skills as part of a team.
The 2020 survey breaks down UX Researcher average salaries by company size:
- 0-50 employees: $77,224
- 51-200 employees: $82,077
- 201-500 employees: $89,700
- 501-1000 employees: $90,832
- 1001-5000 employees: $95,079
- 5001 or more employees: $104,810
Note that while larger companies often offer higher salaries, working at a smaller company can still be a great opportunity — offering UX Researchers a wider range of responsibilities and the chance to make a more demonstrable impact.
Ultimately, a UX Researcher’s salary will be determined by the company they work for. According to Indeed, the companies that pay their UX Researchers the highest salaries include:
- eBay: $274,800
- Grubhub: $258,697
- Twitter: $182,890
- Meta: $162,498
- IBM: $153,455
- Uber: $147,908
- Google: $139,559
- Liberty Mutual Insurance: $136,481
- LinkedIn: $133,012
- LanceSoft Inc: $130,811
- Autodesk: $128,917
- eMoney Advisor: $121,248
How to become a UX Researcher
Ready to start your journey to a lucrative career in UX research? Check out these blog posts to learn more about what the field involves and how to get started:
- Everything You Need To Know To Kickstart A Career In UI/UX
- Cool Job: I’m A UX Researcher At Figma — & A YouTube Creator
Then, hop into our free course Introduction to UI and UX Design. You’ll learn more about the different careers in UX and what they entail, and we’ll also show you how to use Figma — one of the most popular tools in the industry.
You can also learn how to use Miro, another popular tool, in our free course Learn User Research: Generative as you start planning and executing user research strategies. Then you can learn how to leverage your insights to create more effective designs in Learn Designing Thinking: Ideation. Sign up now to get started!