Research & Development (R&D) Director Salary
Salaries for Research & Development Directors in the United States are generous, with average pay above six figures ($133K) per year. Cash earnings for Research & Development Directors — which occasionally include more than $38K from bonuses and more than $30K from profit sharing — stretch from around $86K to approximately $198K. Location and career length each impact pay for this group, with the former having the largest influence. Most Research & Development Directors survey respondents are men (73 percent). Almost all report receiving medical coverage from their employers and a large number collect dental insurance. Most Research & Development Directors report high levels of job satisfaction. The information for this snapshot was generated by responses to the PayScale salary survey.
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.Read More...
R&D directors perform a number of specific, project-related duties as part of leading research and development efforts. They might lead efforts to develop a new line of products to meet consumer demand. After the development stage, they might assist in organizational planning efforts to scale up the production. Subsequently, they would likely be involved in planning how to modify company infrastructure to enable production of the new product, including acquisition of materials and altering capabilities of manufacturing plants. If necessary, this task extends to planning for a new manufacturing plant to be constructed.
Other tasks include monitoring market trends, devising methods of applying new technologies to their companies’ manufacturing and production, streamlining production and analyzing efficiency, and designing or planning manufacturing equipment necessary for new products.
Companies typically require both an advanced degree in a related engineering or managerial field, as well as experience in research and development. R&D directors typically work full time in an office environment, with periodic fieldwork and overtime required. R&D directors must be technically and scientifically minded, capable communicators, and excellent with organization, strategic planning, and management. They must have an thorough knowledge of relevant regulations and laws pertaining to the field, as well as related technologies and marketing.
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.
Common Career Paths for Research & Development (R&D) Director
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Popular Skills for Research & Development (R&D) Director
Research & Development Directors report using a diverse set of skills on the job. Most notably, skills in Technical Analysis, People Management, Intellectual Property, and Product Development are correlated to pay that is above average, with boosts between 4 percent and 7 percent. Skills that pay less than market rate include Research Analysis, Program Management, and Biotechnology. It is often found that people who know Product Development are 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.
Research & Development Directors who reported more years of relevant experience also reported higher earnings. Workers in their first five years can expect to earn $100K, but people who have been around for five to 10 years earn a noticeably bigger sum of $125K. On average, Research & Development Directors make $151K following one to two decades on the job. Individuals who have achieved more than 20 years of experience don't seem to earn much more than people who have 10 to 20 years under their belts; the more senior group reports an average income of $162K.
Pay Difference by Location
For Research & Development Directors, Cambridge provides a pay rate that is 31 percent greater than the national average. Research & Development Directors will also find cushy salaries in San Francisco (+22 percent), New York (+15 percent), San Diego (+13 percent), and San Jose (+12 percent). Research & Development Directors' salaries are heavily influenced by location — Research & Development Directors in Salt Lake City bring in salaries that are 31 percent lower than the national average. Atlanta and Denver are a couple other places where companies are known to pay below the median — salaries are 29 percent lower and 23 percent lower, respectively.
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