Sr. Research & Development Manager Salary

Average pay for a Senior Research & Development Manager in the United States is considerable, rounding six figures at $123K per year. Total cash compensation to Senior Research & Development Managers bottoms out near $83K and approaches $173K on the high end; the biggest paychecks include approximately $26K from bonuses and almost $16K from profit sharing. Location and experience level each impact pay for this group, with the former having the largest influence. Almost all report receiving medical coverage from their employers and a large number collect dental insurance. Work is enjoyable for Senior Research & Development Managers, who typically claim high levels of job satisfaction. The data in this summary comes from the PayScale salary survey.

$78,471 - $157,660
MEDIAN: $122,847

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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.
$78,471 - $157,660  
$2,250 - $26,118  
Profit Sharing
$3,490 - $15,586  
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).
$82,906 - $173,047  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 20 Sep 2015 | Individuals Reporting: 279
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Job Description for Sr. Research & Development Manager

A senior research and development (R&D) manager is a high-level executive who oversees the development of new products or software. The manager must be intimately familiar with the company’s branding and strategy, and then work with R&D staff to improve existing products and introduce new ones that conform to the company’s brand image.


Sr. Research & Development Manager Tasks

  • Negotiate with universities, government, companies, and consultants to obtain research or feasibility information.
  • Formulate research plans including estimates, necessary equipment, and monitoring plans.
  • Assess market and science current states to identify target research areas with unmet needs.
  • Manage budget, expenses, and forecasts for department, including materials analysis.

Common Career Paths for

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For Senior Research & Development Managers, career advancements do not tend to correlate with a rise in salary. On average, lower-level Senior Research & Development Managers earn similar salaries to those in higher-end positions like Software Engineering.

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Popular Skills for

Survey results suggest that Senior Research & Development Managers put a wide range of professional skills to use. Most notably, skills in Software Development, People Management, Product Development, and Project Management are correlated to pay that is above average, with boosts between 4 percent and 9 percent. Skills that are correlated to lower pay, on the other hand, include Research Analysis. Most people skilled in People Management are similarly competent in Product Development.

Pay by Experience Level for

Median of all compensation (including tips, bonus, and overtime) by years of experience.

Experience seems to be a major factor in determining the incomes of Senior Research & Development Managers. Professionals with less than five years' experience earn a median of $94K annually, but folks with five to 10 years under their belts report a weighty six-figure median of $110K. Senior Research & Development Managers claiming one to two decades of experience make an estimated median of $139K. People who have worked for more than 20 years report a median income of $145K, which is barely higher than the median for folks with 10 to 20 years of experience.

Pay Difference by Location

Home to some of the best pay for Senior Research & Development Managers, San Jose offers exceptional salaries, 23 percent above the national average. Senior Research & Development Managers will also find cushy salaries in Minneapolis (+15 percent). Compared to the national average, New York Senior Research & Development Managers have considerably lower salaries, 30 percent below the national average to be exact. Location appears to be a major driving force in pay for those in this profession. Not at the bottom but still paying below the median are employers in Boston and Atlanta (8 percent lower and 2 percent lower, respectively).

Sr. Research & Development Manager Advice

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

Sr. Research & Development Manager in Utica:
"Make It Look Easy!"
Spend time to understand the challenge, don't plan to fix the problems of the world. Take on the challenging path, and you will find that it has unplanned rewards along the way.

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Experience Affects Salaries

National Average

up arrow 30%

Skills That Affect Salaries

Software Development
up arrow 9%

Product Development
up arrow 4%

Project Management

National Average

Research Analysis
up arrow 9%

Job Satisfaction

Extremely satisfied
Rated 5 out of 5
based on 61 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: 96% dental benefits Dental: 88%
vision benefits Vision: 78% employee benefits None: 3%