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Research & Development (R&D) Director Salary

Average pay for Research & Development Directors in the United States is more than reasonable, with annual salaries pushing past the six-figure mark ($137K). Cash earnings for Research & Development Directors — including $30K in bonuses and $15K in profit sharing proceeds near the top of the pay scale — generally stretch from $82K to $185K depending on individual performance. Career duration and the particular city each impact pay for this group, with the former having the largest influence. Job satisfaction for Research & Development Directors is high. Medical benefits are awarded to almost all, and a fair number earn dental coverage. There are far more male Research & Development Directors survey respondents than women, making up 80 percent. The information for this snapshot was generated by responses to the PayScale salary survey.
$79,946 - $164,549
MEDIAN: $127,380

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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.
$79,946 - $164,549  
$1,023 - $30,441  
Profit Sharing
$2,545 - $15,146  
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).
$82,270 - $185,145  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 11 Dec 2014 | Individuals Reporting: 688
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

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

Research & Development Directors report using a wide range of professional skills. 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 24 percent, 8 percent, and 4 percent, respectively. Skills that seem to negatively impact pay include Project Management. Most people who know 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 is an important factor influencing the compensation of Research & Development Directors. Folks with fewer than five years of experience earn around $99K on average, but respondents who have racked up five to 10 years benefit from a six-figure median of $119K. People with 10 to 20 years of experience make an average of about $144K in this role. 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 $154K on average.

Related Job Salaries

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

National Average

up arrow 13%

up arrow 28%

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

Clinical Research
up arrow 24%

Intellectual Property (IP)
up arrow 8%

People Management
up arrow 4%

Product Development
up arrow 1%

National Average

Research Analysis
up arrow 2%

Project Management
up arrow 3%

Job Satisfaction

Extremely satisfied
Rated 5 out of 5
based on 164 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: 91% dental benefits Dental: 79%
vision benefits Vision: 64% employee benefits None: 7%