Sr. Research & Development Manager Salary

Compensation for Senior Research & Development Managers in the United States is generous, with average pay surpassing six figures annually ($123K). Overall cash earnings for Senior Research & Development Managers stretch from $83K on the lower end to $175K near the top, and the heftiest packages can encompass around $26K from bonuses and $15K from profit sharing. Geography and career duration each impact pay for this group, with the former having the largest influence. Male Senior Research & Development Managers are far more common among survey respondents than their female counterparts, who typically comprise less than one-third of the field. Almost all report receiving medical coverage from their employers and a large number collect dental insurance. Job satisfaction is high and work is enjoyable for most Senior Research & Development Managers. The data for this snapshot was collected from individuals who took PayScale's salary survey.

$79,717 - $159,266
MEDIAN: $122,581

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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.
$79,717 - $159,266  
$2,447 - $25,761  
Profit Sharing
$3,576 - $15,406  
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).
$83,462 - $175,155  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 12 Jan 2016 | Individuals Reporting: 292
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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 Sr. Research & Development Manager

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Senior Research & Development Managers who transition into an upper level Software Engineering position will not necessarily make much more than they do in their current role. The average Software Engineering makes $138K a year.

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Popular Skills for Sr. Research & Development Manager

Senior Research & Development Managers usually report a few specific skills. Most notably, skills in Software Development, People Management, Product Development, and Project Management are correlated to pay that is above average, with boosts between 5 percent and 9 percent. Skills that are correlated to lower pay, on the other hand, include Research Analysis. It is often found that people who know People Management are also skilled in Product Development.

Pay by Experience Level for Sr. Research & Development Manager

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

Senior Research & Development Managers with a rich background of experience are typically rewarded with larger paychecks. In this occupation, salaries for the relatively untested average out to $95K, but folks in the five-to-10 year range enjoy a much heftier median of $108K. The average pay reported by folks with 10 to 20 years of experience is around $139K. Folks who have racked up more than 20 years in the field report incomes that aren't that much higher than less experienced individuals' earnings; the veterans make just $151K on average.

Pay Difference by Location

National Average: $133,757

Larger city markers indicate a job is popular in that location.

With a pay rate for Senior Research & Development Managers that is 20 percent greater than the national average, San Jose offers a comfortable salary for those in this profession. 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. Below-median salaries also turn up in Boston and Atlanta (8 percent lower and 3 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 Sr. Research & Development Manager Salaries

National Average

up arrow 29%

Skills That Affect Sr. Research & Development Manager Salaries

Software Development
up arrow 9%

Project Management

National Average

Job Satisfaction

Extremely satisfied
Rated 5 out of 5
based on 62 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: 96%
dental benefits
Dental: 89%
medical benefits
Vision: 79%
dental benefits
None: 3%