Research & Development (R&D) Director Salary (United States)

Compensation for Research & Development (R&D) Directors in the United States is generous, with average pay surpassing six figures annually ($136,533). Total cash income, which bottoms out near $78,699 and peaks near $164,209, incorporates potential for more than $31K from bonuses and close to $15,025 from profit sharing in exceptional cases. Career length is the biggest factor affecting pay for this group, followed by the particular city. Most workers in this position report high levels of job satisfaction. Figures cited in this summary are based on replies to PayScale's salary questionnaire.
Research & Development (R&D) Director Salary (?
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.
$78,699 - $164,209
MEDIAN: $126,756
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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.
$78,699 - $164,209  
$1,948 - $30,586  
Profit Sharing
$2,068 - $15,025  
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).
$81,039 - $184,873  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 3 Sep 2014 | Individuals Reporting: 718
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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

Research & Development (R&D) Directors report using a pretty varied skill set on the job. Most notably, facility with Clinical Research, Intellectual Property (IP), and People Management are correlated to pay that is significantly above average, leading to increases of 39 percent, 9 percent, and 7 percent, respectively. For most people, competency in Product Development indicates knowledge of 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 Research & Development (R&D) Directors, experience seems to be a major factor in determining pay. Starting salaries hover around $100K but quickly overtake six figures to $117K after five to 10 years. After 10 to 20 years, compensation comes in at $142K. A 20-year tenure heralds decreased salary growth, and Research & Development (R&D) Directors who have made it this far report earning around $151K per year. Research & Development (R&D) Directors with 10 to 20 years of experience are most common in the field, followed by those with more than 20 years and one to 10 years. Workers who have been working for one to 10 years are hardest to find.

Pay Difference By Location

San Jose
up arrow 22%
San Diego
up arrow 11%
San Francisco
up arrow 11%
up arrow 6%
Menlo Park
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National Average
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Los Angeles
up arrow 2%
up arrow 9%
up arrow 12%
Larger circles over a city indicate a job is popular in that location.
Research & Development (R&D) Directors in San Jose, San Diego, and San Francisco—all located in California—not only make more than the national average for those in this profession but represent the highest-paid cities in the country for Research & Development (R&D) Directors. Atlanta is home to the smallest salaries in the field, lagging the national average by 12 percent. Employers also pay below the national average in Seattle (-9 percent) and Los Angeles (-2 percent).

Related Job Salaries

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

up arrow 10%
National Average
up arrow 14%
up arrow 30%

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

Clinical Research
up arrow 39%
Intellectual Property (IP)
up arrow 9%
People Management
up arrow 7%
Research Analysis
up arrow 4%
Product Development
up arrow 2%
National Average
Project Management
up arrow 3%

Job Satisfaction

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Extremely satisfied
Rated 5 out of 5 based on 179 votes.


female alumni
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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: 79%
vision benefits Vision: 63% employee benefits None: 8%
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