Sr. Research & Development Manager Salary

Senior Research & Development Managers receive generous compensation in the United States — earning an average of $123K per year, their standard salaries shoot well into the six-figure range. In the world of Senior Research & Development Managers, total cash compensation can vary between $83K and $175K. Each package generally includes bonuses and profit sharing proceeds, and in exceptional cases, those amounts can reach heights of $26K and $15K, respectively. Geographic location and career length 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 enjoy medical while a large number get dental coverage. Vision coverage is also available to a fair number. Most Senior Research & Development Managers report high levels of job satisfaction. The numbers in this rundown were provided by PayScale's salary survey participants.

$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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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 5 percent and 9 percent. At the other end of the pay range are skills like 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.

For many Senior Research & Development Managers, more experience generally translates to higher pay. Whereas the median salary for inexperienced employees is approximately $95K, incomes in the five-to-10 year group are significantly higher, averaging to the comfortable six-figure sum of $108K. Senior Research & Development Managers bring in $139K after working for 10 to 20 years. More than 20 years of experience mean a somewhat bigger median paycheck of $151K, but it's not much more than what less experienced people make.

Pay Difference by Location

National Average: $133,757

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

Surpassing the national average by 20 percent, Senior Research & Development Managers in San Jose receive some of the highest pay in the country. Senior Research & Development Managers will also find cushy salaries in Minneapolis (+15 percent). One of the biggest compensable factors for Senior Research & Development Managers is geography, with workers in New York earning a whopping 30 percent below the national average. Employers pay around 8 percent less in Boston and 3 percent less in Atlanta, below-median salaries for those in this field.

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%