Research & Development (R&D) Director Salary

Research & Development Directors in the United States can expect to earn a very generous salary, with average salaries (in the ballpark of $129K) surpassing six figures annually. Total cash earnings of Research & Development Directors range from $84K on the low end to $192K on the high end; the final amount can include bonuses and profit sharing proceeds that occasionally exceed $32K and $16K, respectively. Career duration and the particular city each impact pay for this group, with the former having the largest influence. Job satisfaction is high and work is enjoyable for most Research & Development Directors. Medical benefits are awarded to almost all, and a large number earn dental coverage. 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. Participants in PayScale's salary questionnaire provided the particulars of this report.

$81,815 - $169,406
MEDIAN: $129,353

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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
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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 seem to require a number of specific skills. Most notably, skills in Intellectual Property, People Management, Product Development, and Clinical Research are correlated to pay that is above average. Skills that seem to negatively impact pay include Program Management, Biotechnology, and Technical Analysis. Most people skilled in Product Development are similarly competent 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 with a lot of experience tend to enjoy higher earnings. Although inexperienced employees take home approximately $98K, those who have five to 10 years under their belts benefit from a six-figure median of $120K. Research & Development Directors with one to two decades of relevant experience report an average salary of approximately $145K. Research & Development Directors with more than 20 years of experience report incomes that are only modestly higher; the median for these old hands hovers around $158K.

Related Job Salaries

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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%