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2011 R&D Salary Survey



Straight from the bench, R&D staffers dish about their jobs, salaries and major concerns at work.



By Christine Esposito, Associate Editor



Published May 6, 2011
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2011 R&D Salary Survey

Welcome to the second annual Happi R&D Salary Survey. We polled a portion of our readers—research and development personnel involved in product formulation—to determine their attitudes toward their jobs, their level of education, their salaries and what their biggest concerns are at work.


This survey provides our industry with a quick snapshot of the household and personal products industry from the men and women in the trenches—those who provide the marketplace with key research that drives new technologies and delivers new products.


Our survey was conducted online in April 2011, and nearly 850 people took part. A special thanks to all who participated— including the winner of our Apple iPad giveaway, Lynn Cargill of Energizer Personal Care.


We’re looking forward to including more of you in our 2012 R&D Salary Survey.

Who You Are

Our respondents came from manufacturers of personal care/beauty products, household products and industrial and institutional cleaning products (I&I) as well as the suppliers that provide them with raw materials they need to craft their wares. By category, 71.5% of the respondents came from finished goods manufacturers, 19.8% in the “supplier” category and 8.8% labeled their companies as “other” which included lab service provider, consultancies, etc. Of those surveyed, 72.2% work in the personal care/beauty sector, 19.7% in household products and 8.2% in I&I



Respondents included R&D directors (15.5%), lab/technical/R&D managers (23.9%), senior chemists (21.5%), chemists/formulators (21.0%), technician/lab support (4.3%) and other (13.9%), which included titles such as quality and development director, consumer affairs staff and regulatory specialists. By gender, the group was once again rather evenly split— 49% of respondents were men and 51% women.



The median age of our respondents was 42. The oldest respondents were a pair of octogenarians. (These kindred spirits, both 83 years young, are serving as chemists/formulators; one in Latin America and the other in U.S. We love that you are still working, and more so, using the Internet!) The median years experience in the industry was 15.


Regarding education, 27.2% of the respondents have Master’s degrees, 48.0% obtained Bachelor’s degrees; 14.3% have Doctorate level education, 6.2% had earned their high school diploma and 4.3% checked “other.”


The majority of respondents (66.2%) came from the U.S., 13.8% came from Asia-Pacific, 9.9% came from Europe, 2.9% from Latin/South America, 2.8% from Canada, 1.6% from Mexico and 1.2% from Middle East/Africa. “Other” was the response of 1.6%.

 

What’s in Your Wallet?


Here is a look at the median salary levels for U.S.-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 U.S. dollars.

 

Median Annual Base Salary in the U.S. (data from our 2010 survey)

Lab Technician—$43,000 ($46,000)

Chemist/Formulator—$58,000 ($55,000)

Senior Chemist—$83,000 ($86,250)

R&D Manager—$101,000 ($89,500)

R&D Director—$110,000 ($125,000)

 

Employment Status Looking Up?


Fewer respondents reported being sacked than last year. While 4.4% of our respondents in our 2010 poll said they had been laid off in the past year, only 2.5% reported receiving a pink slip over the last 12 months. Some 7.5% of respondents said they had changed companies in the past year.


Our polled showed that 10% had to lay off staff in the past year, down considerably from the 20.1% in our 2010.


In terms of raises, 58.7% said they received a raise for 2010 while 41.3% said they did not see a bump in their salaries—compared to 52.6% who reported a salary increase in the prior year’s poll. The vast majority of respondents—more than 95.2%—had not taken a cut in base salary in the past year, up from 90% last year. And there was more good news in the compensation category: just 13% said their company had stopped matching 401(k) contributions or cut other retirement-related benefits, down from 16% last year.


What’s On Your Mind Most: Politics or Paychecks?


When asked what is the most frustrating aspect of your job, respondents’ answers varied, with several categories pulling in similar percentage. This year, the leading two categories were internal politics (17.2%), followed closely by inadequate compensation (17.1%), which had been the lead category in last year’s poll.

By gender, the top job concerns cited by females were lack of advancement, followed by inadequate compensation and internal politics. For men, the top concern cited was inadequate project funding, followed by regulatory issues/process and internal politics.


According to our poll, 40% of respondents said that their department had its budget cut in the last 12 months, down from the 44.8% last year. Is this a small sign that innovation and new product development will be on the rise?


Those issues aside, when asked how likely you are to leave your current company in the next two years, 35.1% said that was “very unlikely” and just 13.3% said “very likely.” (Responses were based on a sliding scale of 1-5 with 1 being “very unlikely” and 5 being “very likely”). In terms of job security, when asked how secure your feel in your present position, the vast majority (65.1%) said they feel “secure” to “very secure.” Just 5.2% said they felt “very insecure.” (Responses were based on a sliding scale of 1-5 with 1 being “very insecure” and 5 being “very secure.”)

 

Some 57.5%% of respondents felt that it was “very unlikely” that their company would be acquired in the next 12 months. Only 4.7% felt it was “very likely” that their company would be involved in a merger or acquisition. (Responses were based on a sliding scale of 1-5 with 1 being “very unlikely” and 5 being “very likely,”)

 

The Compensation Situation


While the information above casts a wide net, here is a way to gauge your current compensation—and concerns—with that of your peers. In most instances 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.

• Lab Technician

Median Annual Base Salary (U.S.): $41,100

Median Annual Base Salary (U.S.) for female: $40,000

Median Annual Base Salary (U.S.) at finished goods company: $40,000

Median Annual Base Salary (U.S.) at supplier: $47,100


According to our poll, 42.8% of lab technicians did not receive a raise this year.


When asked what their biggest concerns were in the office, 25% of lab technicians/support staffers in our survey said internal politics in their department topped the list, with lack of advancement following at 21%.The other responses included inadequate compensation, 18%; inadequate project funding/resources, 14%; pressure from marketing department 11%; regulatory issues/processes, 8%; and merger and acquisition/layoff fears, 3%.

 

•Chemist/Formulator

Median Annual Base Salary (U.S.): $58,000

Median Annual Base Salary (U.S.) female: $56,000

Median Annual Base Salary (U.S.) at finished goods company: $58,000

Median Annual Base Salary (U.S.) at finished goods company-beauty/personal care: $56,000

Median Annual Base Salary (U.S.) at finished goods company-household: $70,000

Median Annual Base Salary (U.S.) at finished goods-company I&I: $60,000

Median Annual Base Salary (U.S.) at supplier: $58,000

Median Annual Base Salary Asia-Pacific: $16,000

Median Annual Base Salary Europe: $35,000

Median Annual Base Salary Latin America: $31,000

Median Annual Base Salary Canada: $48,000

Median Annual Base Salary: Mexico: $38,000

 

In our poll, 37.5% 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, with 21% of respondents naming it as the primary issue. Inadequate compensation and internal politics followed at 20% and 18%, respectively. Pressure from the marketing department was 14%, regulatory issues/processes, 12%, inadequate project funding, 11% and merger & acquisition/layoff fears, 4%.

 

•Senior Chemist

Median Annual Base Salary (U.S.): $83,000

Median Annual Base Salary (U.S) female: $79,700

Median Annual Base Salary (U.S.) at finished goods: $80,000

Median Annual Base Salary (U.S.) at finished goods company-personal care/beauty: $75,500

Median Annual Base Salary (U.S.) at finished goods company-household: $100,000

Median Annual Base Salary (U.S.) at finished goods company-I&I: $73,000

Median Annual Base Salary (U.S.) at supplier: $87,000

Median Annual Base Salary Europe: $72,000

Median Annual Base Salary Latin America: $39,500

Median Annual Base Salary Canada: $63,000


Of the senior chemists who took part in our poll, 43% did not receive a raise.


For senior chemists, the top job concern cited was inadequate compensation (20%), followed by internal politics and lack of advancement, both pulling in 17% each. Inadequate project funding was 15%, pressure from the marketing department was 13% and regulatory issues was 12%. Merger & acquisition/layoff fears tallied 5%. Wall Street/shareholder expectations was cited by 1% of our senior chemists as their biggest concern.

 

•Lab/Technical/R&D Manager

Median Annual Base Salary (U.S.): $101,000

Median Annual Base Salary (U.S.) female: $94,000

Median Annual Base Salary (U.S.) at finished goods company $100,500

Median Annual Base Salary (U.S.) at finished goods company-personal care/beauty $106,000

Median Annual Base Salary (U.S.) at finished goods company-household: $120,000

Median Annual Base Salary (U.S.) at finished goods company-I&I: $80,000

Median Annual Base Salary (U.S.) at supplier: $100,000

Median Annual Base Salary Asia Pacific: $30,300

Median Annual Base Salary Europe: $67,800

Median Annual Base Salary Latin America: $67,800

Median Annual Base Salary Mexico: $70,000

Median Annual Base Salary Canada: $84,000


Some 33.8% of lab managers in our poll did not receive a raise.


For lab managers, internal politics ranked as the top concern with 20% of the votes. Inadequate project funding (17%) and lack of advancement (16%) were the next most popular responses.Regulatory issues/concerns were cited as the top concern by 15% of the lab manager who took part in the survey, followed by inadequate compensation (14%). Rounding it out were pressure from the marketing department (9%), merger & acquisition/layoff fears (7%) and Wall Street/shareholder expectations (2%).

 

• R&D Director

Median Annual Base Salary (U.S.): $110,000

Median Annual Base Salary (U.S.) female: $100,000

Median Annual Base Salary (U.S.) at finished goods company: $110,000

Median Annual Base Salary (U.S.) at finished goods company-personal care/beauty: $125,000

Median Annual Base Salary (U.S.) at finished goods company-household: $110,000

Median Annual Base Salary (U.S.) at finished goods company-I&I: $100,000

Median Annual Base Salary (U.S.) at supplier: $105,000

Median Annual Base Salary Europe: $35,000

Median Annual Base Salary Canada: $77,500

 

In our poll, 56.7% of R&D directors did not receive a raise as reported in our survey. This was the largest percentage cited all the job categories.

 

The top job concern cited by R&D directors in our 2011 poll was regulatory issues/processes at 25%. Inadequate project funding was 20% with pressure from the marketing department and lack of advancement each tallying 14% of the votes. 11% of our R&D poll takers cited inadequate compensation as their top concern, with 9% naming internal politics as their hot button issue. M&A/layoff fears was cited by 5% of R&D directors and 2% were concerned most by Wall Street/shareholder concerns.



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