The Calculated Creative

Why Are Graphic Design Jobs so Hard to Get?

The reality is that stellar graphic designers get passed over every day for jobs they deserve simply due to the volume of competition.

Getting a job in graphic design can be extremely competitive.

Here are some of the main reasons openings are limited compared to the pool of talented designers looking for work.

Over the past decade, graphic design has exploded in popularity as a career choice for creatives.

Design programs at colleges and universities are flooded with students who aspire to be graphic designers.

More people graduate from graphic design degrees every year, creating an enormous pool of talented creatives eager to enter the industry.

Not to mention the ability to make $100k, or even millions, built off of the back of an in-demand skillset.

While interest in graphic design jobs is at an all-time high, the number of openings simply hasn't kept pace with the tidal wave of new designers hoping to land related roles.

There are far more qualified applicants than available positions

The number of talented graphic designers looking for work far exceeds the number of openings at agencies and companies.

Most corporate creative teams only hire graphic designers when they have a specific need to fill.

They do not constantly add new designers like other departments.

And design agencies tend to maintain small, tight-knit teams.

They may only hire when a designer leaves the agency.

There are only so many graphic design roles to go around and the individuals in these roles typically put in long hours.

So the supply of designers in the job market greatly outstrips the limited demand.

Graphic designers now need extensive experience and qualifications

The requirements for landing a graphic design job have increased significantly over the years.

A degree was once enough to make you stand out from the applicant pool.

Now most companies expect candidates to have 1-3 years of professional work experience in addition to a design degree.

Applicants need a killer portfolio that demonstrates real-world skills across both print and digital media.

It's difficult for recent graduates to compete with more seasoned designers who have established careers.

Companies can afford to be picky and hold out for "unicorn" candidates with both education and experience.

Open positions attract an overwhelming number of applicants

When a graphic design job does become available, it's common for the opening to get bombarded with hundreds of applicants.

Talented designers flock to any opportunity they can find.

This enormous volume of applicants makes it statistically unlikely for any one designer to get selected, even if they are perfectly qualified.

The odds are heavily stacked against applicants, despite how badly they may want the job and how well their skills align with the role.

Companies can be highly selective in who they hire

Thanks to the huge volume of graphic designers applying to each opening, employers can be extremely choosey about who they ultimately hire.

They are looking for a candidate who is a perfect culture fit and aligns with their specific needs.

Even talented designers get rejected simply because the competition is so vast.

With so many polished portfolios and qualified applicants to select from, there is little room for error.

You have to be just right for the role in every regard to make it past the intense screening process.


The Takeaway

The frustrating reality is that stellar graphic designers get passed over every day for jobs they deserve simply due to the volume of competition.

But by continuing to build your skills and network, you can eventually land the right opportunity.

Persistence and patience is the key to overcoming the challenges new designers face.

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Suck Less

Pulling back the curtain on the creative process to help make your work a little less terrible. A 3-minute read delivered each week on Monday morning.

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