ISDI’s Service Design Survey 2020

By June 12, 2020, 150 responses were collected to this year’s 2020 second annual online survey targeting service designers.  For last year’s survey, during June, the number of respondents was cut at 86.

In this year’s survey, any results that include the entire sample size has a 75% probability of being answered in the same way as if the question was posed to a population of 1,000 service designers (within a margin of error between 6.3 and 7.3.)

The above confidence level is also calculated based on our gathering methodology, which was non-bias, random-response, in which no screening was used.

A link to the survey was posted weekly on LinkedIn and Facebook targeting service designers.

The survey ran online for about five weeks April-May 2020, during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic.


More senior service designers were represented in our data set

▶ Due to the larger participation of senior service designers, we tabulated some of the question-responses to see if our data offered any career insights.
▶ In the meantime, the fairly representative sample of levels, helps to show respondents’ answers from multiple perspectives—those entering the field, those in mid-level positions, along with at the top.

Fewer service designers over age 50 were represented

▶ Our results would seem reflective of the notion that service design is an emerging field, with 76% of respondents younger than age 40.
▶ Male-to-female ratio about equal.
▶ Women skew slightly older, overall.
▶ More older men than women were represented.

Service Designers are employed worldwide

▶ Service designers span the globe.
▶ Our sample included designers from North America, Europe, MEA, and Asia

Growing numbers of service designers worldwide

▶ Numbers are increasing in Italy, the U.S., UK, Spain, Portugal, India,
▶ Conceivably, other countries showing fewer service designers this year could indicate lower participation by those representative service designers this year.
▶ Also, despite our interactions, the voice of service designers not represented include Mexico, Nigeria, Singapore and Japan.


Their salaries are 28% above the national average.

For comparison:

Their salaries are 25% less than the national average.

The field offers enormous opportunities for advancement

▶ Those between 30 to 39 are in a sweet spot for service designer earnings, based on our sample.
▶ Overall, the results could reflect the emerging growth of the field, along with opportunities for career growth for those entering the field.
▶ As those in their 20s move up, they should find plenty of opportunities for salary growth.

Gender—by salary

▶ The results are mixed on gender salaries.
▶ Women are well represented across the board, except, or until the highest salaries.
▶ Entry salaries are evenly divided between gender.

Salaries for service designers follow typical sector patterns

▶ Consumer-based organizations pay the most.
▶ Those who work across multiple sectors and industries report the next highest compensation.
▶ Civic-public service pays more for service designers than healthcare.

Top three salary brackets represented in no more than a ~dozen countries

Working Environment

Most service designers are consultants

▶ Service designers are mostly consultants, followed by those who work internal to an organization (In-house).
▶ Those organizations that have internal service design operations, many in financial services, are evidence of the need for service design.
▶ The ‘other’ category includes those who work in publicly funded business incubators and labs.

Consultants compensated well in agencies and consumer-based organizations.

Service designers work across sectors and industries

▶ The results showing where the sample works closely aligns to the evolution of service design.
▶ Service design is a field that considered by many to have evolved from the public sector, and public funding will to take a risk on using service design.
▶ From the resulting benefits, consumer-based organizations began adopting service design.  The move was driven by seeking competitive advantages.
▶ Healthcare, meanwhile, is one of the sectors for which the field of service design offers much promise, experts we have interviewed said. And while they realize the benefits, the sector is quite slow in adopting service design, as much as any other innovations.

Seniors and high-salaried agree SD knowledge is key to preparing for career

▶ To prepare for a service design career, pour senior and high-paying respondents indicated there is no substitute for SD knowledge.
▶ Accumulated experiences and experience working on projects were also cited.
▶ Advanced degree, mentorships and joining a team does not adequately prepare someone.