Get a Salary Report for

- Compare Your Salary
- Evaluate a Job Offer

- Price a New Hire
- Give a Raise

- Benchmark Jobs
- Create a Comp Plan

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

Six-figure salaries are the norm for Research & Development Directors in the United States, with pay typically hovering around $137K per year. Total cash compensation to Research & Development Directors approaches anywhere from $81K on the lower end to $185K on the higher end; in exceptional cases, this can include more than $31K from bonuses and upwards of $15K from profit sharing. Experience level and the particular city each impact pay for this group, with the former having the largest influence. Nearly all report receiving medical coverage from their employers and a fair portion collect dental insurance. The majority of Research & Development Directors claim high levels of job satisfaction. The data for this snapshot was collected from individuals who took PayScale's salary survey.
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
Add this chart to your site: 640px    300px

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
Is Research & Development (R&D) Director your job title? Get a personalized salary report!
Years in Field/Career:
Years in Field/Career:
United States (change)

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

Search for more jobs:
job title / company

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

Overall, survey participants reported applying a fair number of skills to their work. 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. 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 and income seem to be closely related; in general, the survey respondents who had worked for more years reported higher incomes. Salaries for the relatively untried average out to around $95K, but survey participants with five to 10 years of experience earn a significantly higher median of $117K. Research & Development Directors see a median salary of $143K after reaching one to two decades on the job. People who have worked for more than 20 years report a median income of $151K, which is barely higher than the median for folks with 10 to 20 years of experience. Research & Development 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.

Pay Difference By Location

San Jose
up arrow 22%
San Diego
up arrow 11%
San Francisco
up arrow 11%
up arrow 6%
Menlo Park
up arrow 3%
National Average
up arrow 1%
up arrow 1%
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 Directors can earn above-average salaries when they head west to California. Specifically, San Jose, San Diego, and San Francisco represent the three top-paying cities for Research & Development Directors in the United States. Atlanta is home to the smallest salaries in the field, lagging the national average by 12 percent. Two other places where employers offer below-median salaries are Seattle (9 percent less) and Los Angeles (2 percent less).

Related Job Salaries

Find Out Exactly What You Should Be Paid
Job Title:
Years in Field/Career:
United States (change)
- OR -

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

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


female alumni
male alumni

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%