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Research & Development (R&D) Director Salary

Compensation for Research & Development Directors in the United States is generous, with average pay surpassing six figures annually ($128K). With some bonuses approaching $31K and certain profit sharing proceeds approaching $16K, overall incomes of Research & Development Directors spread between $83K and $187K depending on individual performance. Career duration is the biggest factor affecting pay for this group, followed by geography. Most workers in this position report high levels of job satisfaction. Nearly all report receiving medical coverage from their employers and most collect dental insurance. This report is based on answers to PayScale's salary questionnaire.

$80,939 - $165,058
MEDIAN: $128,426

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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.
$80,939 - $165,058  
$1,028 - $30,782  
Profit Sharing
$2,037 - $15,553  
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).
$83,198 - $186,950  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 2 May 2015 | Individuals Reporting: 700

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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 Directors generally report applying a varied skill set to their work. Most notably, facility with Clinical Research and Intellectual Property (IP) are correlated to pay that is significantly above average, leading to increases of 33 percent and 7 percent, respectively. Skills that pay less than market rate include Biotechnology and Project Management. Those proficient in Product Development are, more often than not, also skilled in 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.

In general, experience and pay appear to be strongly linked; those with more experience usually bring in higher incomes. Inexperienced workers earn around $98K, but people who have been around for five to 10 years pull down a much higher average of $120K. For Research & Development Directors, 10 to 20 years of experience on the job amounts to an average salary of $144K. Research & Development Directors who have stuck around for more than two decades see earnings that are only slightly higher than those of folks who have worked for 10 to 20 years; the more senior group makes around $155K on average.

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 33%

Intellectual Property (IP)
up arrow 7%

Research Analysis
up arrow 3%

People Management
up arrow 1%

Product Development

National Average

Project Management
up arrow 3%

up arrow 9%

Job Satisfaction

Extremely satisfied
Rated 5 out of 5
based on 138 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: 92% dental benefits Dental: 80%
vision benefits Vision: 66% employee benefits None: 7%