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Market Update: Industrial Designer demand and salaries Australia 2022

By Academy Xi

Market Update Industrial Designer demand and salaries Australia 2022

Designing anything and everything from cars and devices to services is all in a day’s work for Industrial Designers. Let’s take a peek at the industry and demand in Australia and discover which training will set you on the right path.

What is industrial design?

As defined by the dictionary:


The art or process of designing manufactured products. “The scale is a beautiful work of industrial design”.

The World Design Organisation, based out of Canada, has created what they refer to as a ‘renewed’ definition of industrial design, as follows:

Industrial Design is a strategic problem-solving process that drives innovation, builds business success, and leads to a better quality of life through innovative products, systems, services, and experiences.

What do Industrial Designers do?

In a regular working day an Industrial Designer could be involved in several tasks and duties, including but not limited to:

  • Interpreting design briefs and providing production resource estimates
  • Researching and analysing potential product ideas, functions and marketplace requirements
  • Creating prototypes, sketches or samples to present to stakeholders
  • Developing design concepts using CAD (computer aided design) software
  • Working with manufacturers, engineers and product teams to refine designs
  • Presenting designs to clients, taking feedback and integrating modifications

Which industries hire Industrial Designers?

A diverse range of sectors require Industrial Designers in Australia, with the main industries being:

Main Industrial Design industries Source: Labour Market Insights Australia

How much do industrial designers earn in Australia?

The average annual salary for Industrial Designer jobs in Australia is $71,380, with the average for junior designers coming in at $61,250. Senior Industrial Designer salaries hit $114,000 and up, with earning capacity varying depending on the organisation and the specific experience of the designer.

Can you start a freelance industrial design business?

It is entirely possible to be a freelance or consultant Industrial Designer, however, it is recommended that you take in-house positions early on in your career for several reasons. Firstly, industry experience is paramount as it will expose you to the myriad of situations you can encounter as an Industrial Designer. It is this experience that will strengthen your freelance career later on and also expand your professional network, which can be vital in securing contracts. 

How much can a freelance Industrial Designer make in Australia?

The rates you charge as a freelance Industrial Designer will ideally reflect your level of skill and experience. If you specialise in any particular area of design, this could enable you to charge more if that skill is of extra importance on a project. Equally, the industry you niche in can influence the rate you set. Have a look at what freelance industrial designers are charging to get a guideline.

What skills are needed for industrial design?

A diverse range of skills is required for any designer to succeed, with industrial design being no different. Ideally, Industrial Designers are capable of balancing logical thinking and creative output. We’ve rounded up the top three for both soft and hard skills needed by Industrial Designers.

Top 3 soft skills for industrial designers

#1 Collaboration 

Teamwork makes the dream work and is vital for any Industrial Designer wanting to be successful in their role and long term career. As a designer you will be required to liaise with, work beside and present to stakeholders from various departments and external organisations. Effective communication and collaboration is incredibly important. 

#2 Problem solving

While this skill can be helpful in any job and in life generally, Industrial Designers can greatly benefit from being top shelf problem solvers, as their work regularly includes complexity and technical aspects which require analysis and resolution.

#3 Time management 

Industrial Designers will often work across several tasks and projects concurrently, often with competing deadlines. Being able to manage your time effectively is paramount.

Top 3 hard skills for industrial designers

#1 Prototyping 

Being able to take an idea from the page to a digital format to capture a ‘draft’ of the final product is known as prototyping. It’s an integral skill to possess as an Industrial Designer as it can enable user testing and further refinement of a design.

#2 Computer aided design (CAD)

CAD skills enable designers to create a 3D version of their idea from a 2D drawing, which increases their productivity and improves the quality of the design. Used by everyone from architects to engineers, this approach to digital modelling can truly bring an idea to life, which can assist in getting buy-in from stakeholders in early stages of a project.

#3 Adobe Photoshop

Knowing your way around the Adobe suite is generally a must have for your tool kit, particularly Photoshop. Initial sketches can be done in Photoshop, so you can then present your design proposals in a digitised format.

How to start a career in industrial design

At Academy Xi, we offer flexible study options in Graphic Design that will suit your lifestyle and training needs, giving you the perfect foundation for your future in industrial design. 

Whether you’re looking to upskill or entirely transform your career path, we have industry designed training to provide you with the practical skills and experience needed.

Career change? Take a look at our Transform options. 

Upskilling? Elevate courses are for you.

If you have any questions, our experienced team is here to discuss your training options. Speak to a course advisor and take the first steps in your industrial design journey.