Research & Development (R&D) Director Salary

Generous salaries abound for Research & Development Directors in the United States, with average pay above six figures ($129K) per year. Including potential for bonuses and profit sharing — peaking near $32K and $16K, respectively — total cash payment to Research & Development Directors can bottom out near $84K or peak near $192K depending on individual performance. Career duration is the biggest factor affecting pay for this group, followed by geography. Male Research & Development Directors are far more common among survey respondents than their female counterparts, who typically comprise less than one-third of the field. Nearly all report receiving medical coverage from their employers and most collect dental insurance. The majority of Research & Development Directors claim high levels of job satisfaction. The information for this rundown comes from respondents who completed PayScale's salary questionnaire.

$81,815 - $169,406
MEDIAN: $129,353

Add this chart to your site: 640px    300px

National Salary Data (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Take the PayScale Survey to find out how location influences pay for this job.
$81,815 - $169,406  
$1,483 - $32,190  
Profit Sharing
$2,013 - $15,702  
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).
$83,767 - $191,738  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 12 Jan 2016 | Individuals Reporting: 791
United States (change)

Find Out Exactly What You Should Be Paid

United States (change)

Comp Managers: Start Here »

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:

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

Research & Development Directors report using a pretty varied skill set on the job. Most notably, skills in Intellectual Property, People Management, Product Development, and Clinical Research are correlated to pay that is above average. At the other end of the pay range are skills like Program Management, Biotechnology, and Technical Analysis. The majority of those 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.

For many Research & Development Directors, more experience generally translates to higher pay. Whereas the median salary for inexperienced employees is approximately $98K, incomes in the five-to-10 year group are significantly higher, averaging to the comfortable six-figure sum of $120K. The average pay reported by folks with 10 to 20 years of experience is around $145K. 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 $158K on average.

Research & Development (R&D) Director Advice

What do you wish you knew about your job when you first started out?

Research & Development (R&D) Director in Bethlehem:
"Don't Stop Learning."
Take every opportunity to learn new skills regardless of whether you expect them to be of use in the future. Being complacent in your knowledge and expertise is a great way to fall behind.

Related Job Salaries

United States (change)

Find Out Exactly What You Should Be Paid

United States (change)

Comp Managers: Start Here »

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

National Average

up arrow 30%

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

Intellectual Property (IP)
up arrow 7%

Product Development
up arrow 1%

National Average

Clinical Research
up arrow 1%

Project Management
up arrow 3%

Research Analysis
up arrow 3%

Technical Analysis
up arrow 7%

up arrow 8%

Program Management
up arrow 16%

Job Satisfaction

Extremely satisfied
Rated 5 out of 5
based on 116 votes.


22 %
78 %

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: 82%
medical benefits
Vision: 68%
dental benefits
None: 7%