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Creative Director - Career Levels and Salaries

A creative director with a lot of professional experience in a large company can earn up to more than 100,000 euros gross per year. A horrific sum that you shouldn't set yourself as a salary target when starting out in an agency as a career starter. Because only very few come after a few years on such a considerable income.

Nonetheless, these numbers can be an exciting guide. The portal shared its data with us ... this year too!

In the table above you can see the latest salary information for the job of Creative Director, listed according to the number of employees and professional experience (as of July 2018). The median for this area is 79,597 euros gross per year. The difference between the earnings in a small agency compared to a large one is still considerable.

Dr. Philip Bierbach, CEO of

Designers often start their careers in agencies in order to gain valuable professional experience and later switch to a larger company or to self-employment. On the agency side, the income for creatives is considerably lower than that in the company or that of a freelancer.

At this point we would like to refer again to an older article on PAGE Online that dealt with this topic: Advertising agencies pay poorly - into the company?

Further down in the article you can see an older list that shows the career levels - from entry-level to junior art director to creative director.

From here you can also read some information about the difference between training and studying. There is also an older salary table below.


Significant differences between design training and design studies


The following two salary tables list on the one hand the salary data of the different career levels for trained designers (e.g. media designers) and on the other hand salaries for designers with a degree.

»Career starters with a university degree receive around EUR 30,200 gross annually. Newcomers who have completed vocational training are significantly lower at EUR 24,594. «

comments Dr. Philip Bierbach, managing director of

The portal evaluated this data separately, as there were significant differences to be discovered. A design course is obviously worthwhile: This was also shown by another article - »Salary report from 2016« - in which the StepStone online job exchange stated that you can earn 28 percent more with a university degree.

In return, trainees can demonstrate more professional experience than students. We are therefore not making any recommendations for or against training or design studies at this point; the information in the table is intended as a guide.


Creative Director: No straightforward career path

For the position of Creative Director, requires professional experience of more than nine years in the job. In some cases this can of course be less, depending on the services provided. External factors such as the location (Berlin, Hamburg or Munich are among the hot spots of the German design scene) or the employer (agency or company) can have a significant influence on the career path.

In Q1, the online portal explained to PAGE, mainly salaries of smaller companies and agencies are reflected. In the higher positions, quite high salary ranges can be observed, which is due to the fact that there are sometimes significant differences between agency and company. Factors such as gender, age, work experience, region and company size also played a role.

In addition, the tasks and responsibilities of art directors, senior art directors or creative directors vary greatly - another reason for the large salary ranges. For example, an art director can also lead a team in a lower position, but mostly in a professional manner.

(Click on the tables to enlarge them.)

Salary table for apprentices

Salary table for academics


Job & Career: You can find more information on the topic of »Career Levels and Salary for the Art Director« at

More on the subject:Salary report 2016,Web Designer Salaries,What do concepts earn?

This article was first published on PAGE Online in mid-2017 and is regularly updated with new information.


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