Research & Development (R&D) Director Salary

Earnings for Research & Development Directors in the United States come in at around $130K annually on average. With some bonuses approaching $31K and certain profit sharing proceeds approaching $15K, overall incomes of Research & Development Directors spread between $85K and $190K depending on individual performance. Career duration is the biggest factor affecting pay for this group, followed by geography. Nearly all enjoy medical while most get dental coverage. Vision coverage is also available to more than half. Job satisfaction is reported as high by the vast majority of workers. Making up 78 percent of those who took the survey, male Research & Development Directors greatly outnumber their female counterparts. The information for this snapshot was generated by responses to the PayScale salary survey.

$82,413 - $166,974
MEDIAN: $129,680

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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.
$82,413 - $166,974  
$1,019 - $31,454  
Profit Sharing
$1,987 - $15,400  
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).
$84,907 - $190,428  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 20 Sep 2015 | Individuals Reporting: 753
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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

Survey results suggest that Research & Development Directors use a fairly large toolkit of professional skills. Most notably, skills in Intellectual Property, Clinical Research, People Management, and Product Development are correlated to pay that is above average, with boosts between 4 percent and 6 percent. Skills that are correlated to lower pay, on the other hand, include Biotechnology, Technical Analysis, and Project Management. The majority of those who know Product Development also know People Management.

Pay by Experience Level for

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

Experience and income seem to be closely related; in general, the survey respondents who had worked for more years reported higher incomes. Even the relatively untested can score weighty six-figure salaries; survey participants with less than five years' experience report earning a median of $102K per year. People with 10 to 20 years of experience make an average of about $145K in this role. Research & Development Directors who surpass 20 years on the job report pay that isn't as high as one would expect; the median compensation for this crowd sits around $157K.

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Experience Affects Salaries

National Average

up arrow 27%

Skills That Affect Salaries

Intellectual Property (IP)
up arrow 6%

Clinical Research
up arrow 5%

People Management
up arrow 4%

Product Development

National Average

Research Analysis
up arrow 1%

Project Management
up arrow 3%

Technical Analysis
up arrow 7%

up arrow 10%

Job Satisfaction

Extremely satisfied
Rated 5 out of 5
based on 116 votes.


22 %
78 %

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: 92% dental benefits Dental: 80%
vision benefits Vision: 67% employee benefits None: 7%