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Research & Development (R&D) Director Salary

Wages for Research & Development Directors in the United States are generous, with average pay above six figures ($128K) per year. Final cash compensation to Research & Development Directors varies from around $83K to approximately $187K; choice pay grades include potential for bonuses and profit sharing as high as $31K and $16K, respectively. Career duration and the particular city each impact pay for this group, with the former having the largest influence. Research & Development Directors who took the survey are largely men, dominating at 80 percent. Medical benefits are awarded to almost all, and a fair number earn dental coverage. Most Research & Development Directors report high levels of job satisfaction. The data for this snapshot was collected from individuals who took PayScale's salary survey.

$81,115 - $165,219
MEDIAN: $128,111

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National Salary Data (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross, national 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Pay can vary greatly by location. To view local data, take the PayScale survey.
$81,115 - $165,219  
$1,018 - $30,685  
Profit Sharing
$2,300 - $15,626  
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).
$83,476 - $186,789  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 31 Mar 2015 | Individuals Reporting: 691

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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

  • 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.
  • Drive accountability, consistency, quality, and process standardization across all phases of research and development.
  • Direct the Research and Development (R&D) program, from new product proposal to commercialization.

Research & Development (R&D) Director Job Listings

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

Overall, survey participants reported applying a fair number of skills to their work. Lucky workers who know Clinical Research can expect a significant pay bump, scoring salaries 34 percent above average. Research Analysis and Intellectual Property (IP) are also correlated to pay that is above average, with increases between 8 percent and 34 percent. Skills that pay less than market rate include Project Management. Most people familiar with 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.

Experience is an important factor influencing the compensation of Research & Development Directors. Respondents with less than five years' experience take home $98K on average. In contrast, those who have been around for five to 10 years earn a noticeably higher average of $119K. Research & Development Directors who work for 10 to 20 years in their occupation tend to earn about $144K. Research & Development Directors with more than 20 years of experience report incomes that are only modestly higher; the median for these old hands hovers around $154K.

Related Job Salaries

United States (change)

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

National Average

up arrow 29%

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

Clinical Research
up arrow 34%

Research Analysis
up arrow 8%

Intellectual Property (IP)
up arrow 8%

Product Development

National Average

People Management
up arrow 1%

Project Management
up arrow 4%

Job Satisfaction

Extremely satisfied
Rated 5 out of 5
based on 146 votes.


20 %
80 %

Years of Experience

Less than 1 year
1-4 years
5-9 years
10-19 years
20 years or more

Common Health Benefits

medical benefits Medical: 91% dental benefits Dental: 80%
vision benefits Vision: 65% employee benefits None: 7%