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Sr. Research & Development Manager Salary

Salaries for Senior Research & Development Managers in the United States are generous, with average pay above six figures ($121K) per year. Total cash earnings of Senior Research & Development Managers range from $82K on the low end to $171K on the high end; the final amount can include bonuses and profit sharing proceeds that occasionally exceed $25K and $15K, respectively. Geography and career length each impact pay for this group, with the former having the largest influence. The majority of Senior Research & Development Managers claim high levels of job satisfaction. Medical benefits are awarded to almost all, and a large number earn dental coverage. The numbers in this rundown were provided by PayScale's salary survey participants.

$77,867 - $156,676
MEDIAN: $120,683

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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.
$77,867 - $156,676  
$2,047 - $25,119  
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).
$82,254 - $170,684  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 31 Mar 2015 | Individuals Reporting: 283

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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 go on to become Software Engineering Directors may see somewhat stagnant compensation. On average, a Software Engineering, an upper-level role, pays $136K.

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Popular Skills for Sr. Research & Development Manager

Survey takers who work as Senior Research & Development Managers report a focused set of job skills. Most notably, skills in Software Development, People Management, Product Development, and Project Management are correlated to pay that is above average. Skills that are correlated to lower pay, on the other hand, include Research Analysis. Most people familiar with People Management also know Product Development.

Pay by Experience Level for Sr. Research & Development Manager

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

For Senior Research & Development Managers, experience does not seem to be a major factor in determining 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 $114K. After working for 10 to 20 years, Senior Research & Development Managers make a median salary of $136K. 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

San Jose offers some of the highest pay in the country for Senior Research & Development Managers, 28 percent above the national average. 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.

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 14%

up arrow 26%

Skills That Affect Sr. Research & Development Manager Salaries

Software Development
up arrow 10%

People Management
up arrow 8%

Product Development
up arrow 3%

Project Management

National Average

Research Analysis
up arrow 13%

Job Satisfaction

Extremely satisfied
Rated 5 out of 5
based on 70 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%