Salaries for Research & Development Directors in the United States are generous, with average pay above six figures ($131K) per year. In the world of Research & Development Directors, overall cash allowance can occasionally include more than $37K from bonuses and, in some exceptional cases, $28K from profit sharing, causing incomes to vary widely between $86K and $196K. Location is the biggest factor affecting pay for this group, followed by career duration. Medical benefits are awarded to nearly all, and most earn dental coverage. Making up 75 percent of those who took the survey, male Research & Development Directors greatly outnumber their female counterparts. The majority of workers are highly satisfied with their job. The information for this snapshot was generated by responses to the PayScale salary survey.

$83,097 - $173,894
MEDIAN: $130,523

Add this chart to your site: 640px    300px

National Salary Data (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Take the PayScale Survey to find out how location influences pay for this job.
$83,097 - $173,894  
$2,553 - $36,780  
Profit Sharing
$300.00 - $27,500  
Total Pay (?
XTotal Pay combines base annual salary or hourly wage, bonuses, profit sharing, tips, commissions, overtime pay and other forms of cash earnings, as applicable for this job. It does not include equity (stock) compensation, cash value of retirement benefits, or the value of other non-cash benefits (e.g. healthcare).
$85,852 - $196,342  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 28 Oct 2016 | Individuals Reporting: 431

Find Out Exactly What You Should Be Paid

United States (change)

Comp Managers: Start Here »

Job Description for Research & Development (R&D) Director

Research and development (R&D) directors oversee their company's R&D department(s). As such, they are responsible for ensuring that companies meet their objectives for researching and developing new products or technologies and improve existing products. To accomplish these goals, R&D directors lead their company's research staff. They must ensure that their companies correctly understand and anticipate market demand, planning and developing products to meet consumer needs and remain competitive in the marketplace.


Research & Development (R&D) Director Tasks

  • Direct the Research and Development (R&D) program, from new product proposal to commercialization.
  • Drive accountability, consistency, quality, and process standardization across all phases of research and development.
  • In accordance with company objectives develop and monitor research plans and budgets for R&D projects, ensuring projects are completed on time and within cost objectives.

Research & Development (R&D) Director Job Listings

Search for more jobs:

Popular Skills for Research & Development (R&D) Director

Survey results suggest that Research & Development Directors use a fairly large toolkit of professional skills. Most notably, skills in Technical Analysis, Intellectual Property, People Management, and Product Development are correlated to pay that is above average, with boosts between 5 percent and 8 percent. At the other end of the pay range are skills like Research Analysis, Medical Device, and Program Management. Most people experienced in Product Development also know People Management.

Pay by Experience Level for Research & Development (R&D) Director

Median of all compensation (including tips, bonus, and overtime) by years of experience.

For many Research & Development Directors, experience and pay levels seem to be correlated; more years in the business generally lead to more money. Relatively untried employees who have less than five years' experience make $102K, but folks with five to 10 years under their belts enjoy an appreciably larger median of $125K. Research & Development Directors see a median salary of $149K after reaching one to two decades on the job. More than 20 years of experience mean a somewhat bigger median paycheck of $161K, but it's not much more than what less experienced people make.

Pay Difference by Location

National Average: $141,417

Larger city markers indicate a job is popular in that location.

Home to some of the best pay for Research & Development Directors, Cambridge offers exceptional salaries, 33 percent above the national average. Research & Development Directors can also look forward to large paychecks in cities like San Francisco (+23 percent), San Jose (+12 percent), Chicago (+11 percent), and Boston (+11 percent). Compared to the national average, Atlanta Research & Development Directors have considerably lower salaries, 26 percent below the national average to be exact. Location appears to be a major driving force in pay for those in this profession. Two other places where employers offer below-median salaries are Denver (22 percent less) and New York (7 percent less).

Related Job Salaries

Years in Fields/Career:
United States (change)

Experience Affects Research & Development (R&D) Director Salaries

National Average

Skills That Affect Research & Development (R&D) Director Salaries

Technical Analysis
up arrow 8%

Intellectual Property (IP)
up arrow 5%

Product Development
up arrow 2%

Project Management

National Average

Clinical Research
up arrow 2%

up arrow 6%

Program Management
up arrow 7%

Medical Device
up arrow 9%

Job Satisfaction

Extremely satisfied
Rated 5 out of 5
based on 55 votes.


25 %
75 %

Years of Experience

1-4 years
5-9 years
10-19 years
20 years or more

Common Health Benefits

medical benefits
Medical: 93%
dental benefits
Dental: 85%
medical benefits
Vision: 72%
dental benefits
None: 6%