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.

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