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The International Association of Lighting Designers (IALD) recently issued its 2012 Compensation & Workforce Study. This is the fourth edition of the survey, which was first released in 2006, and it provides association members with up-to-date information about what trends affect them as design professionals.

The survey was conducted from mid-January through mid-April of this year and sent via email to a qualified sample of U.S.-based IALD members—a total of 420 individuals. (Qualified member categories included Professional, Associate, Design, and Fellow.) The survey yielded 182 responses.

According to the IALD, the survey is sent only to U.S.-based members because it is the only population sample size large enough from which to extrapolate statistically meaningful data. In the future, the organization wants to conduct similar surveys for its constituents in other areas such as Europe, South America, Asia, and Australia.

The results of the survey are divided into eight sections: Respondent Demographics; Company Profile; Revenue Sources and Market Sectors; Economic Trends; RFP and Proposal Trends; Current Positions/Employment Situation; Compensation; and Benefits. Each iteration of the IALD's survey has retained a core set of questions for comparison's sake, and this year new questions were added to examine specific issues such as the economy's impact on the number of requests for proposals that lighting design firms are receiving and sending.

One of the most interesting developments over the past six years is the change in base-salary levels. Firm principals and junior-level staff have seen a decrease in pay, while senior- and mid-level designers have seen an increase.

The data collected in the four IALD Compensation & Workforce Studies is a valuable resource and offers one of the most accurate and current portraits of the lighting design community. The report is available for purchase through the IALD (iald.org).