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State of Service Design
in Mexico 2020
An initiative by SDMX

The State of Service Design in Mexico is an annual study that aims to understand the situation of service design in the country to capture how it’s growing.

2020 is the third year the study takes place, with the same focus in terms of topics as in prior years: the profile of service designers, where they work, their attitudes around income and their perception of the most important skills for their profession. This year, we included additional questions to understand the impact of the pandemic on the work service designers do. The questionnaire was open to everyone who considers themselves a service designer and lives in Mexico. Participants ranged from students or recent graduates to professionals with over ten years experience.

This year’s results show some overall in the practice of service design in Mexico, with presence in more industries and locations across the country, though the latter might be internal mobility caused by the pandemic. We start to see a healthy growth dynamic in which service designers are starting to have more and more experience and are likely to address many of the challenges and opportunities found in this study.

For Service Design Mexico 2020 has been a year of transitions with many challenges but also new opportunities. We had Frontstage 2020 in a remote format, the SD Summer Series and we launched the Design Fundamentals Online Course for those looking for an introduction to Service Design, with much more to come in 2021.

Learn more about the results of the study and download the report for more insights!

— Nora Tejeda, December 2020
Type of
Service Designer

Service Designers in Mexico are mainly working in large corporations. However, compared to 2019, the number of service designers in startups has increased. This is a positive indicator of the development of the discipline.

37% Corporation
21% Startup
16% Agency
16% Freelance Consultant
6% Student
2% Teacher
2% Other
How long have
they considered
themselves SD

The incorporation of professionals into service design remains at a healthy level, highlighting the growth of their participation in design and innovation teams. In spite of this, in 2020 there are fewer new designers being incorporated into the discipline; it is uncertain to conclude if this has a direct relation with the 2020 COVID19 pandemic.

23% Under 1 year
33% 1-2 years
18% 3-4 years
12% 5-6 years
5% 7-8 years
5% 9-10 years
4% More than 10 years
23% Under 1 year
33% 1-2 years
18% 3-4 years
12% 5-6 years
5% 7-8 years
5% 9-10 years
4% More than 10 years
How they acquired their experience

Service designers often learn and gain experience in a variety of ways, mainly through work and professional education. Of the designers who reported building their experience in their work, 83% of them did so in combination with other activities, mainly studies in areas related to service design and professional training.

A minority of participants formed their expertise through a degree in Service Design, this is natural because these educational offerings are exclusively found in foreign academic institutions.

38% Working
38% Professional Education
33% Self-taught
32% Formal education related to Service Design
13% Formal education in Service Design

Service design is usually considered a discipline with a fairly balanced participation of men and women, as the results of the study show. On occasion there’s even a perception of more participation of women in service design.

53% Women
47% Men

The concentration of professionals is higher in the age range between 35 and 34 years. Respondents under 24 years increased their participation, half of them are students and the other half are professionals in corporations or startups.

There were no respondents under eighteen years of age or above fifty.

7% Between 18 and 24 years old
62% Between 25 and 34 years old
27% Between 35 and 44 years old
4% Between 45 and 54 years old

The highest level of education attainment of service designers remains constant compared to 2019. It is interesting to note that among service designers who reported having University, Master's or Doctorate studies, 54% of them did not indicate having formal studies in service design or related disciplines. This is consistent with the diverse and multidisciplinary nature of service design.

2% High School
57% College/University
37% Master's Degree
3% PhD
1% Certification

Most service designers are located in the metropolitan areas of the country. Despite this, it is interesting to see how in 2020 the proportion of service designers in Mexico City fell 6% from 62% to 56%. On the other hand, Jalisco went from having 5% of service designers to having 12%. It is difficult to know if this is due to the pandemic or to a greater number of opportunities for service designers outside Mexico City.

56% Mexico City
12% Jalisco
9% Nuevo León
7% Estado de México
3% Oaxaca
3% Querétaro
2% Puebla
1% Yucatán
1% Hidalgo
1% Tamaulipas
1% Quintana Roo
1% Guanajuato
1% San Luis Potosí
1% Nayarit
1% Sinaloa

Agencies and consultants have the largest number of service designers in comparison with any other specific industry; this represents the availability of specialized talent and may be indicative of a greater demand from the market for projects associated with service design. This represents a change from 2019, where the financial sector led the survey.

27% Agency/Consulting
22% Financial
18% Technology
6% Education
6% Retail
5% Social Innovation
4% Communication
3% Food
3% Construction
2% Health
1% Government
3% Other
Company Size

The proportion of participants who reported working in organizations of more than 100 people, is consistent with the number of designers who identified themselves as Corporate Service Designers. The same happens with those who reported being independent consultants.

10% Independent Consultant
18% 2-10 people
17% 11-50 people
10% 51-100 people
45% more than 100 people
Senioriy of role

42% of the participants are individual contributors, most of them in senior roles. This is a significant change from 2019, where the largest proportion of individual contributors reported being in mid-level roles.

2% Trainee
5% Junior
13% Mid-level
22% Senior
9% Lead
15% Manager
16% Head
14% Director
1% VP
3% Other
Size of teams

of participants have direct reports. These are teams of between two and five people, the same as in 2019. However, this year, there is a higher proportion of teams of more than five people, 40% of the total vs. 30% last year.

10% 1 person
50% 2-5 people
22% 6-10 people
18% 10-50 people
Design maturity of companies

Where 1 is a company with low maturity, which for example considers design as merely a visual attribute, and 10 is one that considers design as part of the corporate strategy.

In 2020, 38% of the participants indicated that they were in a company with a design maturity equal to or greater than eight verus 21% in 2019. These results are not representative of the maturity of companies with respect to design in general in Mexico, but they can indicate that companies that have teams of service designers have greater maturity in relation to design.

5% 1
3% 2
9% 3
7% 4
8% 5
13% 6
16% 7
16% 8
5% 9
18% 10
Net monthly income

In 2020 salaries remain similar to those of the last two years, with no significant changes due to the pandemic (i.e. reduced salaries).

One difference that did arise was a smaller proportion of participants with incomes lower than $20,000, going from 26% to 14%. This may even be indicative of a slight growth in salaries for service designers.

*Salaries are in Mexican Pesos

11% Under $15,000
15% $15,001-$25,000
28% $25,001-$35,000
17% $35,001-$45,000
9% $45,001-$60,000
8% $60,001-$80,000
2% $80,001-$100,000
4% Más de 100,000
4% Doesn't apply
Satisfaction with income

Level of satisfaction with the current wage is practically split in half, with a slight increase in people who indicate feeling that their current salary is fair, from 43% to 47% compared to 2019.

Be sure to download the full report ot learn more about the causes of satisfaction/disatisfaction among service designers.

47% Yes
53% No
How much they think they should be earning

*Salaries are in Mexican Pesos

4% Under $15,000
11% $15,001-$25,000
17% $25,001-$35,000
16% $35,001-$45,000
13% $45,001-$60,000
15% $60,001-$80,000
11% $80,001-$100,000
9% $100,001-$200,000
4% More than 200,000
What motivates
Service Designers
at work

Like in 2019, Mexican service designers are mainly looking for employment in which they can generate a positive impact and have a good work-life balance. These attributes are listed before monetary benefits, such as higher salaries or roles with more responsibilities.

62% Making an impact
47% Work-life balance
34% Solving challenging problems
33% Learning opportunities
24% Positive culure
16% Collaboration with a top team
16% Long-term stability
14% Growth within an organization
10% Salary growth
5% Mentorship
2% Networking
2% Other

Out of the top 3 benefits service designers in Mexico have (vacations, home office and Christmas box), the only one in which the proportion of those who have increased compared to 2019 was home office. In 2020 there was a decrease in the number of service designers who reported having vacation days, 95% versus 79%, and Christmas bonus, 82% versus 66% in 2019.

This may be indicative of the work models of service designers (independent, contractors, etc.) or it may be a phenomenon associated with a change in working conditions due to the pandemic.

79% Vacation time
74% Home Office
66% Christmas box
60% Holdiay bonus
56% Flexible Schedul
50% Health Insurance
49% Taining
34% Annual bonus
34% Profit sharing
27% Performance bonus
27% Minor medical expenses
27% Savings fund
22% Cafeteria
8% Other
Last change of job

Time distribution since the last job change of respondents has a normal distribution with peaks at the extremes, 17% reported they last switched jobs in the last three months; and 19% did so more than five years ago.

17% Last 3 months
5% 3 to 6 months
13% 6 months to 1 year
19% 1 to 2 years
15% 2 to 3 years
7% 3 to 4 years
5% 4 to 5 years
19% More than 5 years
Interest in job opportunities

59% of the participants indicated that they are looking for new job opportunities, this is an increase of ten points compared to 2019. This change may be indicative of some dissatisfaction among service designers, it is hard to know if it is influenced by the pandemic or other factors like working conditions or growth opportunities.

59% Yes
41% No
Hard skills
Important hard skills
for Service Designers:
Hard skills
Service Designers have:
44% Business Design
39% Sensemaking
39% Service Blueprinting
36% Journey Mapping
30% Value Propositioning
28% Exploratory Research
26% Ecosystem Mapping
25% Workshop facilitation
22% Stakeholdering
20% Agile methodologies
19% Prototyping
18% Design principles
16% Ideation
14% Research Ops
14% Trends/Foresight
13% Evaluative Research
11% Content Strategy
8% Design/Team Ops
6% Desk Research
5% Archetyping
1% Other
32% Business Design
30% Ideation
27% Journey Mapping
26% Sensemaking
20% Design Principles
17% Value Propositioning
13% Exploratory Research
13% Trends/Foresight
12% Workshop facilitation
12% Stakeholdering
12% Agile methodologies
11% Prototyping
10% Service Blueprinting
10% Content Strategy
8% Research Ops
8% Ecosystem Mapping
6% Design/Team Ops
6% Desk Research
5% Archetyping
2% Evaluative Research
0% Other
Soft skills
Important soft skills
for Service Designers:
Soft skills
Service Designers have:
68% Strategic Thinking
49% Empathy
45% Systemic Thinking
44% Collaboration
43% Communication
34% Storytelling
29% Prospective Thinking
27% Leadership
21% Sense of Order/Structure
21% Resilience
19% Facilitation
15% Tactical Thinking
13% Persuasion
12% Ownership
5% Diplomacy
2% Rigour
53% Strategic Thinking
35% Systemic Thinking
34% Empathy
28% Leadership
20% Prospective Thinking
18% Collaboration
15% Communication
13% Facilitation
13% Storytelling
13% Sense of Order/Structure
11% Resilience
9% Diplomacy
8% Ownership
7% Tactical Thinking
6% Persuasion
1% Rigour
Difficulties during
the pandemic

This year we also explored the impact of the pandemic on the professional environment of service designers. Some of the difficulties found through the survey are general to many professions, like uncertainty, workload or priority changes in projects and objectives.

Others, however, particularly impact the design process, such as the challenges of remote collaboration and user research.

43% Handling uncertainty
42% Alignment with team and stakeholders
41% Remote collaboration
37% Workload
32% Shift in priorites
22% Understanding users
18% User testing
17% Impact on my process
12% Deadlines
3% Other
About the Study


The survey was made available through Typeform, and Google Sheets was used for data collection and analysis. Percentages were rounded to the nearest whole number, salary figures are shown in net amounts. The survey was open between the 17th and the 31st of October of 2020, and yielded 144 responses.


Nora Tejeda is a co-founder at Service Design México, an organization dedicated to professional education in Service Design and Frontstage, the first Service Design conference in Mexico. Nora is an engineer by training, and a service designer and strategist by calling. She focuses her time and energy in working to fulfill the promise of technology-based products and services of having a positive impact in people’s lives. She has collaborated with organizations in the financial, telecommunications and edtech industries in Mexico, Brazil, the United Kingdom and Sweden. She holds an MSc. in Innovation in Technology and Human Computer Interaction and Design (HCID).