Welcome to HAPPI’s fourth annual R&D Salary Survey—in which we poll research and development personnel to determine their attitudes toward their jobs, salaries and what the biggest concerns are at work. Our survey was conducted online in May and June 2013, and more than 800 people took part.
A special thanks to all of our participants, and congratulations the winners of our Apple iPad giveaway and a free registration to Happi’s 2ndAnnual Anti-Aging Conference & Tabletop Exhibition, which will be held Oct. 29 & 30, 2013 in New Brunswick, NJ.
This is You…at Work
Our respondents came from manufacturers of personal care/beauty products, household products and industrial and institutional cleaning products (I&I) as well as suppliers that offer raw materials and other service providers, such as testing firms.
By category, 69.1% of the respondents came from finished goods manufacturers, 19.1% were in the “supplier” category and 11.7% labeled their companies as “other” which included lab service provider, consultants, etc.
Of those surveyed, 73.7% work in the personal care/beauty sector, 17% in household products and 9.3% in I&I.
Respondents included R&D directors (14.8%), lab/technical/R&D managers (26.7%), senior chemists (18.8%), chemists/formulators (19%), technician/lab support (5.2%) and other (15.6%), which included titles such as quality and development director, consumer affairs staff and regulatory specialists.
By gender, 48.2% of respondents were men and 51.8% were women.
The median age of our respondents was 43, with the oldest respondent 85 years young with 11 respondents in their 70s. The median years of experience was 15, according to our data. A respondent’s median years in his/her current position was 5.5.
Regarding education, 28.7% of the respondents have Master’s degrees, 48.1% obtained Bachelor’s degrees; 15.5% have Doctorate level education, 3.7% had earned their high school diploma and 4% checked “other.”
The majority of respondents (69.7%) came from the US, 12.1% came from Asia-Pacific, 8.8 % came from Europe, 2.4% from Latin/South America, 3.5% from Canada, 1.2% from Mexico and 1.4% from Middle East/Africa. “Other” was the response of 0.9%.
Dollars and Cents
Here is a look at the median salary levels for US-based respondents based on the position they hold. More detailed breakdowns—including compensation levels for other geographic regions, gender comparisons and salary differences at supplier vs. finished goods firms— are listed under the specific job title sections. All responses are in US dollars.
Median Annual Base Salary in the US(base salary data from 2012 survey)
Lab Technician—$48,250 ($46,000)
Senior Chemist—$88,000 ($85,000)
Lab/Technical/R&D Manager—$98,000 ($100,000)
R&D Director—$120,000 ($128,000)
Fewer respondents reported being fired (3%) in the past year compared to 3.5% in the 2012 pool.
Our polled showed that 11.5% nearly had to lay off staff in the past year, up from 10% in 2012 but still far below the 20.1% reported in our 2010.
The same percentage of respondents this year (12%) said they had changed companies in the past year.
In terms of raises, 67.3% said they received a raise for 2012 (up from 63.1% the prior year). The vast majority of respondents—more than 93.3%—had not taken a cut in base salary in the past year. Some 12.9% said their company had stopped matching 401(k) contributions or cut other retirement-related benefits, (13.5% in 2012).
What’s On Your Mind Most: Politics or Paychecks—Not This Year!
When asked what is the most frustrating aspect of your job, respondents’ answers varied. But interestingly, the top concern this year as reported by our 800-plus respondents was regulatory issues/processes. Other top concerns included lack of advancement, inadequate project funding, and lack of advancement. See the chart for full details.
When it comes to how R&D staff feel about the compensation, 26.9% said they were “somewhat dissatisfied” when asked how satisfied they were that their present compensation reflected their level of responsibility. 26.7% reported being “satisfied” and 10.6% said “very satisfied.” 12.2% answered “very dissatisfied.” 23.9% said they were “somewhat satisfied.”
Those issues aside, when asked how likely you are to leave your current company in the next two years, 32% said they were “not sure” and 22.6% said “unlikely.” 17.3% recorded responses of “likely.” 22.6% said it was very unlikely that they would leave in the next two years, while 7.6% said they were definitely leaving.
In terms of job security, when asked how secure you feel in your present position, 59.8% said they feel “secure” while another 23.1% said “very secure.” Just over 13% percent selected “insecure” and 3% said they felt “very insecure.”
Some 34.4% of respondents felt that it was “unlikely” that their company would be acquired in the next 12 months. Only 9.3% felt it was “very likely” that their company would be involved in a merger or acquisition. Together, more than 40.7% said either “not sure” or “unlikely.”
According to our poll, 28.8% respondents said that their department had its budget cut in the past 12 months, compared to 36.4% in 2012, 40% in 2011 and 44.8% in 2010.
The Numbers Game
While the information above casts a wide net, here is a way to gauge your current compensation—and concerns—with that of your peers. Unless noted, the salary figures are for US. When applicable, we have included compensation levels for specific geographic regions as well as by gender, supplier vs. finished goods manufacturer and by industry (beauty/personal care vs. household products vs. I&I)—when survey data supported these responses. There are also results of leading job concerns/issues based on job function. Further, we have included data from our 2012 survey to use as a point of comparison. All data is in US dollars.
• Lab Technician (data from 2012 survey)
Median Annual Base Salary: $48,250 ($46,000)
Median Annual Base Salary for female: $47,500 ($45,000)
Median Annual Base Salary at finished goods company: $49,000 ($42,500)
Median Annual Base Salary at supplier: $52,150 ($52,000)
Median Annual Base Salary at “other” (lab service provider, consultant, etc.): $40,000 ($40,500)
According to our poll, 43% of lab technicians did receive a raise this year.
When asked what their biggest concerns were in the office, lack of advancement topped the list.
Median Annual Base Salary: $60,000 ($58,000)
Median Annual Base Salary female: $58,500 ($54,000)
Median Annual Base Salary at finished goods company: $60,000 ($55,500)
Median Annual Base Salary at finished goods company-beauty/personal care: $58,000 ($55,000)
Median Annual Base Salary at finished goods company-household: $65,500 ($62,300)
Median Annual Base Salary at finished goods-company I&I: $59,120 ($60,000)
Median Annual Base Salary at supplier: $59,500 ($56,100)
Median Annual Base Salary at “other” (lab service provider, consultant, etc.): $60,000 ($60,000)
In our poll, 28% of the chemists in our survey said they did not receive a raise.
For chemists/formulators, lack of advancement was the most cited job concern. Other top responses included inadequate compensation.
Median Annual Base Salary: $88,000 ($85,000)
Median Annual Base Salary female: $85,000 ($80,000)
Median Annual Base Salary at finished goods: $89,500 ($80,000)
Median Annual Base Salary at finished goods company-personal care/beauty: $89,100 ($85,000)
Median Annual Base Salary at finished goods company-household: $102,000 ($101,000)
Median Annual Base Salary at finished goods company-I&I: $87,000 ($80,000)
Median Annual Base Salary at supplier: $85,000 ($90,000)
Of the senior chemists who took part in our poll, 84% did receive a raise.
For senior chemists, the top job concerns were lack of advancement and inadequate project funding.
Median Annual Base Salary: $98,000 ($100,000)
Median Annual Base Salary female: $97,750 ($100,000)
Median Annual Base Salary at finished goods company $97,500 ($98,900)
Median Annual Base Salary at finished goods company-personal care/beauty $96,250 ($100,000)
Median Annual Base Salary at finished goods company-household: $115,000($93,000)
Median Annual Base Salary at finished goods company-I&I: $86,000 ($69,000)
Median Annual Base Salary at supplier: $102,800 ($101,000)
In our poll, 70% of lab managers said they did receive a raise in the past year.
For lab managers, the top job concern was inadequate project funding/resources.
• R&D Director
Median Annual Base Salary $120,000 ($128,000)
Median Annual Base Salary female: 85,500 ($140,000)
Median Annual Base Salary at finished goods company: $102,500 ($130,000)
Median Annual Base Salary at finished goods company-personal care/beauty: $105,000 ($131,000)
Median Annual Base Salary at finished goods company-household: $85,000 ($150,000)
Median Annual Base Salary at finished goods company-I&I: $101,500 ($105,000)
Median Annual Base Salary at supplier: $137,500 ($135,000)
Median Annual Base Salary at “other” (lab service provider, consultant, etc.): $117,500 ($97,500)
In our poll, 61% of R&D directors did receive a raise as reported in our survey.
The top job concern cited by R&D directors in this year’s poll was regulatory issues/process.
Check in Next Year Too
We’re looking forward to including more of you in our 2014 R&D Salary Survey—and if there’s something you’d like for us to query your peers about, shout it out to us by email (firstname.lastname@example.org), at the comment section at the end of this article online, or on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.