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Sr. Research & Development Manager Salary

Average pay for a Senior Research & Development Manager in the United States is considerable, rounding six figures at $121K per year. Cash earnings for Senior Research & Development Managers — which occasionally include more than $25K from bonuses and more than $15K from profit sharing — stretch from around $82K to approximately $170K. Location is the biggest factor affecting pay for this group, followed by career duration. Nearly all report receiving medical coverage from their employers and most collect dental insurance. Job satisfaction is high and work is enjoyable for most Senior Research & Development Managers. This overview is based on answers to PayScale's salary questionnaire.

$77,660 - $156,401
MEDIAN: $121,045

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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.
$77,660 - $156,401  
$2,067 - $25,176  
Profit Sharing
$3,523 - $14,899  
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).
$82,317 - $170,357  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 2 May 2015 | Individuals Reporting: 278

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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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Many Senior Research & Development Managers move into a Software Engineering role, which does not lead to a big boost in pay. Software Engineering Directors on average bring in a similar salary to Senior Research & Development Managers.

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Popular Skills for Sr. Research & Development Manager

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 10 percent. Skills that seem to negatively impact pay include Research Analysis. Those proficient in People Management are, more often than not, 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 generally obtain higher compensation for more plentiful past experience. Although employees with less than five years' experience earn around $93K on average, the five-to-10 year group has a much higher, six-figure median of $112K. Senior Research & Development Managers claiming one to two decades of experience make an estimated median of $136K. More than 20 years of experience mean a somewhat bigger median paycheck of $145K, but it's not much more than what less experienced people make.

Pay Difference by Location

Home to some of the best pay for Senior Research & Development Managers, San Jose offers exceptional salaries, 30 percent above the national average. Senior Research & Development Managers will also find cushy salaries in Minneapolis (+16 percent). One of the biggest compensable factors for Senior Research & Development Managers is geography, with workers in New York earning a whopping 31 percent below the national average. Employers in Boston and Atlanta also lean toward paying below-median salaries (7 percent lower and 1 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.

Related Job Salaries

United States (change)

Experience Affects Sr. Research & Development Manager Salaries

National Average

up arrow 15%

up arrow 30%

Skills That Affect Sr. Research & Development Manager Salaries

Software Development
up arrow 10%

People Management
up arrow 7%

Product Development
up arrow 4%

Project Management
up arrow 1%

National Average

Research Analysis
up arrow 11%

Job Satisfaction

Extremely satisfied
Rated 5 out of 5
based on 68 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: 77% employee benefits None: 3%