Sr. Research & Development Manager Salary

Compensation for Senior Research & Development Managers in the United States is generous, with average pay surpassing six figures annually ($121K). Total incomes of Senior Research & Development Managers incorporate potential for, in a few cases, more than $25K from bonuses and close to $15K from profit sharing; these performance components cause packages to range between $82K and $170K. Location is the biggest factor affecting pay for this group, followed by career length. Job satisfaction is reported as high by the vast majority of workers. Medical benefits are awarded to nearly all, and most earn dental coverage. The information for this snapshot was generated by responses to the PayScale salary survey.

$77,594 - $157,009
MEDIAN: $121,437

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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.
$77,594 - $157,009  
$2,071 - $25,157  
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).
$82,256 - $170,408  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 2 Jul 2015 | Individuals Reporting: 277
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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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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 Sr. Research & Development Manager

Senior Research & Development Managers report using a wide range of professional 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 4 percent and 10 percent. At the other end of the pay range are skills like Research Analysis. For most people, competency in People Management indicates knowledge of 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 who reported more years of relevant experience also reported higher earnings. The average beginner in this position makes around $94K, but folks who have been around for five to 10 years see a markedly higher median salary of $114K. On average, Senior Research & Development Managers make $137K following one to two decades on the job. Veterans who have surpassed the 20-year mark may make only slightly more than those who are navigating the mid-career stage; the more senior group reports median earnings of around $144K.

Pay Difference by Location

With a pay rate for Senior Research & Development Managers that is 30 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 (+16 percent). Location significantly influences compensation, with New York Senior Research & Development Managers earning much less — 31 percent less — than the national average. Boston and Atlanta are a couple other places where companies are known to pay below the median — salaries are 8 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.

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Experience Affects Sr. Research & Development Manager Salaries

National Average

up arrow 14%

up arrow 29%

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 10%

Job Satisfaction

Extremely satisfied
Rated 5 out of 5
based on 67 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%