Employment is expected to grow about as fast as the average. Keen competition for jobs is expected; those with strong backgrounds in engineering and computer-aided design and business knowledge will have the best prospects.
Employment change. Employment of commercial and industrial designers is expected to grow 9 percent between 2008 and 2018, as fast as the average for all occupations. Employment growth will arise from an increase in consumer and business demand for new or upgraded products. The continued emphasis on the quality and safety of products, the increasing demand for new products that are easy and comfortable to use, and the development of high-technology products in consumer electronics, medicine, transportation, and other fields will increase the demand for commercial and industrial designers.
However, some companies use design firms overseas, especially for the design of high-technology products. These overseas design firms are located closer to their suppliers, which reduces the time it takes to design and sell a productan important consideration when technology is changing quickly. This offshoring of design work could continue to slow employment growth of U.S. commercial and industrial designers.
Despite the increase in design work performed overseas, most design jobs, particularly jobs not related to high-technology product design, will still remain in the U.S. Design is essential to a firm's success, and firms will want to retain control over the design process.
Job prospects. Competition for jobs will be keen because many talented individuals are attracted to the design field. The best job opportunities will be in specialized design firms which are used by manufacturers to design products or parts of products. Increasingly, manufacturers have been outsourcing design work to these design services firms to cut costs and to find the most qualified design talent, creating more opportunities in these firms.