The average US salary for apparel and textile designers with computer or CAD skills rose from $50,290 in 1999 to $55,145 this year - a nine per cent increase. Over 130 designers, managers, and technology professionals responded to the 2000 CAD Salary and Job Satisfaction survey, now in it's sixth year. "The industry is still in the process of switching from pens and pencils to computers, and designers with computer skills continue to be in demand," said Alison Hardy, producer of the survey.

The majority of survey respondents (54 per cent) worked in companies whose primary product is apparel. Average salaries in that group jumped 24 per cent, from $46,595 to $57,897. Designers at textile manufacturers or converters saw a rise of 12 per cent for an average salary of $58,285. Designers in automotive textiles are the best paid, with an average salary of $61,000.

Thirty-eight per cent of survey participants have five to ten years of CAD experience, but more than half of them (59.4 per cent) have been in their current job less than three years, evidence of frequent job changing. It's clear that compensation is important to them as they ranked it first among factors contributing to job satisfaction this year, whereas the last two years the nature of the job, and the challenge have been most important. The discrepancy in compensation for those who anticipate changing jobs next year and those who don't is over $10,000. Employers would be wise to consider raising salaries to make up for the gap rather than paying to replace a trained employee.

Designers want more training on how to use their design programs - 40.2 per cent consider more software training to be the resource most important for them to be able to do their jobs. The software that most of them (39 per cent) are using is U4ia from Lectra Systems, with Photoshop from Adobe the second most used software (36 per cent).

Compensation is highest for those who work in New York City ($70,897) and the West Coast ($59,695). The range for all respondents was from $20,000 to $200,000 with the majority (24 per cent) in the $30-39,000 bracket. Designers are overwhelmingly female (87 per cent) and between the ages of 25 and 35 (52.7 per cent). The majority have a Bachelor of Arts degree (70.5 per cent) or an Associate degree (17.1 per cent).

Complete survey results are available for $25.00 from www.fabricad.com. Additional information is available for human resources professionals.

About FabriCAD
FabriCAD is the leading supplier of information about design technology in the textile and apparel industry. Through the newsletter - FabriCAD Update, conferences and consulting, the company provides up-to-date research about the changing world of fashion design. The company can be reached at www.fabricad.com.