R&D Salary Survey

August 10, 2005

A snapshot of how much paint R&D staffers earn and what's on their minds as they spend countless hours in the lab.

Welcome to the first Coatings World R&D Salary Survey. We polled a portion of our readers-research and development personnel involved in paint and coatings formulation-to determine their attitudes toward their jobs, their education level, their salaries and what their biggest concerns are at work. We believe this survey provides a quick snapshot of the paint and coatings 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 respondents came from coatings formulators, raw material suppliers and academia. All told, 75% of the respondents came from paint and coatings manufacturers, 20% from suppliers to the industry and the remining five percent from "other," which includes academia. Respondents included R&D directors (26%), lab/technical/R&D managers (29%), senior chemists (27%), chemists (13%), technician/lab support (one percent) and other (four percent). Not surprisingly, the vast majority of our respondents were male (89%), with 11% being female.

The median age of our respondents was 48. The oldest respondent was 81; the youngest was just 22. As for experience, the median number of years experience in the industry was 22, and the number of years at their current position was six.

Regarding education, 25% of the respondents have Masters degrees, 48% obtained Bachelors degrees; 16% have Doctorate level education and 11% checked off "other." Most of the respondents were finished with their formal education, as 67% said they were "very unlikely" or "unlikely" to pursue an additional degree.

The majority of respondents (73%) came from the U.S./NAFTA region. Eleven percent came from Europe, 11% from Asia-Pacific, three percent from South/Latin America and one percent came from Middle/East/Africa. One percent did not answer this question.

There was one anomaly in our results: the median compensation for R&D directors was less than that of lab managers when all respondents were included. When results are tabulated with only U.S. respondents, R&D directors' median compensation was higher. Our suspicions are that differences in " job titles" between U.S., Europe and Asia-Pacific may be the reason.

On the following pages are the results of our survey. A special thanks to all who participated. We're looking forward to including more of you in our results next year.


  Median Compensation $40-50K

Median Compensation (U.S.) $45-50K
  Median Compensation $60-70K

Median Compensation (U.S.) $70-75K
  Median Compensation $78-80K

Median Compensation (U.S.) $80-85K
  Median Compensation $60-70K

Median Compensation (U.S.) $85-90K
How satisfied are you that your present compensation reflects your level of responsibility?
Industry/job concerns
What is the most frustrating aspect of your job?
Job Security
How secure do you feel in your present job?
How likely are you to leave your company in the next two years?
How many trade shows/technical symposiums/educational courses do you plan on attending this year?
How does this compare to 2001?

Comparing Compensation by Gender and Type of Company*

Median compensation- female: $35-40K
Median compensation-male: $40-45K

At the chemist level for suppliers to the paint industry, 20% of respondents made between $30-35K; 20% between $45-50K; 20% between $50-55K; and 40% did not respond. For paint manufacturers, four percent of chemists reported that they made between $20-25K; 16% between 20-35K; 28% between $35-40K; 12% between $40-45K; eight percent between 45-50K; four percent between $50-55K; 16% between $55-60K and eight percent between $60-65K. Four percent did not answer.

Median compensation-female: $50-60K
Median compensation-male: $70-80K

At supplier companies, six percent of respondents reported compensation of $20-30K; 14% between $40-60K; 13% between $60-70K; 20% between $70-80K; 20% between $80-90K; seven percent between $90-100K; seven percent reported compensation of $100K or more. Thirteen percent did not respond. At paint manufacturers, two percent reported compensation of $30-40K; 14% between $40-50K; 18% between$ 50-60K, 23% between $60-70K; 15% between $70-80K; six percent between $80-90K; six percent between $90-100K; and eight percent said their compensation was more than $100K. Eight percent did not respond.

Median compensation female: $60-65K
Median compensation male: $75-80K

At suppliers, 16% of lab managers reported compensation of between $20-60K; 16% between $60-80K; 42% between $80-100K and 16% said their compensation was more than $100K. Ten percent did not respond. At paint manufacturers, 24% said their compensation was between $20-50K; 12% between $50-60K; six percent between $60-70K; 16% between $70-80K; 18% between $80-90K; two percent between $90-100K; and eight percent reported compensation of more than $100K. Fourteen percent did not respond.

There were not enough responses from "female" R&D directors to present accurate representation of compensation differences between men and women in this role.

At supplier companies to the paint industry, 12.5% of R&D directors reported compensation between $60-65K; 25% between $65-70K; 25% between 75-80K; 12.5% between $85-90K and 25% reported compensation of more than $100K. At paint manufacturers, 23% reported that their compensation was between $20-50K; 15% between $50-60K; 15% between $60-70K; $10% between $70-80K; eight percent between $80-90K; six percent between $90-100K; and 15% reported compensation of more than $100K. Eight percent did not respond.

*Responses include all geographic areas.

Related Knowledge Center:

blog comments powered by Disqus
  • The Resins Market

    The Resins Market

    Tim Wright, Editor||April 19, 2012
    Resins suppliers reported modest recovery in 2011 and are optimistic that these improvements will continue into 2012.

  • Auto OEM Coatings

    Auto OEM Coatings

    Tim Wright, Editor||March 19, 2012
    Lower costs, reduced air pollution and better performance are key drivers in automotive coatings and suppliers like BASF continue to offer new technologies and new products for the automotive industry.

  • Surfactants Update

    Surfactants Update

    Kerry Pianoforte, Associate Editor||March 19, 2012
    Surfactants manufacturers focus on environmental issues and developing “greener” technologies.

  • Pigments Market Update

    Pigments Market Update

    Kerry Pianoforte, Associate Editor||January 24, 2012
    Although still not back to pre-recession levels, the pigments market has continued to recover. Pigment companies are reporting a decrease in supply issues and an increase in demand for certain market segments, such as automotive coatings.

  • Growing Paint Additives Market

    Growing Paint Additives Market

    Tim Wright, Editor||January 24, 2012
    Environmental pressures and the growing shift toward water-based paint systems are fueling demand for paint and coating additives, providing tremendous growth potential for additives suppliers.

  • The Adhesives and Sealants Market

    The Adhesives and Sealants Market

    Kerry Pianoforte, Associate Editor||November 10, 2011
    The adhesives and sealants market continues to be affected by the recession and raw material issues.

  • The Auto Refinish Market

    The Auto Refinish Market

    Kerry Pianoforte, Associate Editor||October 12, 2011
    The auto refinish market faces a slow down in demand in North America and Western Europe, but emerging markets offer growth opportunities.

  • The Asia-Pacific Paint and Coatings Market

    The Asia-Pacific Paint and Coatings Market

    Scott Detiveaux, Allen Tsaur||August 15, 2011
    The Asia-Pacific region is an important and growing part of the global coatings marketplace. Unlike other regions of the world, the Asia-Pacific region has continued to grow, even in the face of the global recession.

  • In the Air With AkzoNobel Aerospace Coatings

    In the Air With AkzoNobel Aerospace Coatings

    A.S. Richardson||August 15, 2011
    Punching above its weight the aerospace coatings market is relatively small in terms of volume, but attracts a great deal of attention.

  • 2011 State of the Industry Review

    2011 State of the Industry Review

    July 13, 2011
    Executives reflect on the past year in coatings and look ahead to what the future might bring.

  • Resins Market Report

    Resins Market Report

    Kerry Pianoforte||April 4, 2011
    Although 2010 continued to present difficulties for suppliers to the coatings industry, there were some indications of recovery. Resins suppliers interviewed by Coatings World reported some positive news.

  • On the spot with RED SPOT

    On the spot with RED SPOT

    Tim Wright||March 10, 2011
    A conversation about the latest market and technology trends in automotive coatings with the folks at Red Spot Paint and Varnish Co., Inc. Contributors include Janice Gould, Marketing Manager, Jeff Scheu, VP of Product Development/R&D and David White, VP of Sales and Marketing.

  • Toward a Clean Energy Future

    Toward a Clean Energy Future

    Tim Wright||March 10, 2011
    Coatings World caught up with former DuPont head Chad Holliday and discussed issues ranging from corporate environmental responsibility, sustainability, climate change and the American Energy Innovation Council.

  • The Surfactants Market

    The Surfactants Market

    Kerry Pianoforte||March 10, 2011
    Coatings World recently spoke with a number of surfactant suppliers to the coatings industry regarding the state of the market. Among the topics discussed were raw material costs, “green” chemistry and opportunities for growth.

  • Focus on China: Guangdong Carpoly

    Focus on China: Guangdong Carpoly

    Tim Wright||March 10, 2011
    Among the world’s top 40 paint producers, Guangdong Carpoly has ambitious growth plans for the future.

  • Kansai Paint Expands in Middle East

    Kansai Paint Expands in Middle East

    Tim Wright||November 1, 2010
    As part of its expansion plans in the Middle East region, Japan’s leading coatings manufacturer recently inaugurated a new plant in Iran.

  • Improving the Odds of Success With Your Acquisition

    Improving the Odds of Success With Your Acquisition

    Dan Watson||March 16, 2010
    In recent years, acquisitions have become a way of life for most companies. However, it was not always that way. The first of a three-part series exploring the acquisition process.

  • Biocides, Fungicides and Algaecides Update

    Biocides, Fungicides and Algaecides Update

    Kerry Pianoforte||December 2, 2009
    The economic downturn continues to impact the biocides market, but biocide manufacturers are cautiously optimistic.

  • AkzoNobel Widens its Powder Coatings Reach

    Tim Wright||December 2, 2009
    On the heels of AkzoNobel's recently announced plans to acquire Dow Chemical's powder coatings business, Coatings World spoke with Rob Molenaar, managing director of AkzoNobel Powder Coatings, about the transaction as well as the state of the global powder coatings market.

  • 8th Annual Salary Survey

    8th Annual Salary Survey

    November 2, 2009
    Welcome to the Eighth Annual Coatings World Salary Survey! This year’s results are derived from more than 500 respondents from our readership about employment attitudes, responsibilities, education and salaries.

  • Marketing Matters

    Bonnie Morrow||October 1, 2009
    Because most coatings manufacturers have a broad, complex business model that embraces multiple customer targets, the selling and marketing of coatings requires a vigilant and precise understanding of customers and their needs.

  • Stimulus Spending: Where

  • Stimulus Spending: Where

    Stimulus Spending: Where's the Opportunity for Paints & Coatings? Part 1

    Patrick Jones, Lynda Gordon||June 1, 2009
    With consumers holding their breath while they wait for the next economic shoe to drop and businesses cutting costs and jobs to offset lost revenues due to the worldwide economic downturn, the U.S. government has taken bold action to jolt the economy through massive spending in several key areas.

  • Wood Coatings Market

    Wood Coatings Market

    Kerry Pianoforte||February 2, 2009
    Tough economic conditions and a trend toward using composite materials in place of wood, mean another challenging year for wood coating manufacturers.

  • R&D Salary Survey

    August 11, 2005
    Our third annual look at what paint R&D staffers earn and what's really on their minds as they spend countless hours in the lab.