Features

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.

Welcome to the third annual R&D salary survey conducted by Coatings World. We were quite pleased with the industry's response in 2002 and 2003, and this year, we had even more respondents. More of the industry's chemists are voicing their opinions and providing data to our survey.

For this report, we polled a portion of our readers-research and development personnel involved in the formulations of paint and coatings from both the manufacturer and supplier sides of the business-to determine their attitudes toward their jobs, their salaries and what their biggest challenges are at work. This "snapshot" presents a quick state of the industry report from the men and women who are the heart of the industry. Chemists are the ones who drive the formulations further, improve the technology and meet regulatory requirements. Their role is absolutely critical.

Our respondents come from all sectors of the industry. All told, 64% came from paint manufacturers and 23.9% came from suppliers to the industry. The remainder came from "other" which includes academia.

So who are you? Collectively speaking, you are (still) a 40-something male who attends between one and three trade shows a year and is concerned with office politics.

It's no surprise that the vast majority (82%) of our respondents were male. Women represented 18% of our respondents (up from 13% in 2003). And while we can't say that this means more women are working on the R&D side of this traditionally male industry or if more women decided to participate this year, we can tell you that females working in the formulation sector are younger. Our female respondents' median age was 37, a half-decade younger than the median age for males in our survey, which was 42. Interestingly, the median age of our participants was younger than the industry experience reported by our eldest respondent-a 70-year old senior chemist at a paint manufacturer with 49 years under his belt.

SHOW ME THE MONEY
On the following pages you will find median compensation for five basic job functions in R&D: lab/support technician (page 30), chemist (page 32), senior chemist (page 33), R&D/lab manager (page 34) and R&D director (page 35). When looking over the data, you may ask how can some R&D directors make less than $30,000 per year while others pull in more than $100,000? In many cases, differences in job titles around the world and currency fluctuations factor in to our results. For this reason, we include median salary levels for different regions to help you better gauge your own compensation.

   
Location Type of Company

In addition, this year we have additional data (provided by PayScale, Inc.) regarding compensation for other job functions in the paint business. With this information-found online only at www.coatingsworld.com-you can compare your compensation to your colleagues over in sales.

 
Job Function

HOW'S YOUR LAB?
Also new this year is data on how our respondents feel about the facilities in which they do their work.

Most consider their workspace standard. Only a small portion of our respondents consider their labs to be "state-of-the-art," and even less (thankfully) consider their workspace outdated or unsafe. Still, many of you think your lab needs improvement. If you are a statistic, thank you for participating. If not, be sure to get involved next year. Also, if there is something specific you want us to poll our readers on, let us know. We look forward to hearing from more of you next year and publishing the results in our November 2005 issue.

Technician/Lab Support
    Median compensation (worldwide)
$40-50K

Median compensation (U.S.)
$40-50K

Median compensation (Europe)
$30-40K
Worldwide U.S.

Median compensation for both men and women in the technician/lab support position was equal at $40-50K. The median compensation for this post at paint manufacturers and raw materials suppliers was also $40-50K.

Chemist
  Median compensation (worldwide)
$40-50K

Median compensation (U.S.)
$50-60K

Median compensation (Europe)
$40-50K
Worldwide
  Median compensation (Male)
$40-50K

Median compensation (Female)
$40-50K
U.S.

The median compensation for the chemist post at paint manufacturers was $40-50K; the same position at raw materials suppliers was $50-60K.

Senior Chemist
   
Worldwide U.S.
  Median compensation
(worldwide)
$70-80K

Median compensation
(U.S.)
$70-80K

Median compensation
(Europe)
$60-70K

Median compensation
(Male)
$70-80K

Median compensation
(Female)
$50-60K
Europe

The median compensation for the senior chemist post at paint manufacturers was $60-70K; the same position at raw materials suppliers was $80-90K.

Lab/Technical/R&D Manager
   
Worldwide Europe
  Median compensation
(worldwide)
$60-70K

Median compensation
(U.S.)
$70-80K

Median compensation
(Europe)
$40-50K

Median compensation
(Male)
$60-70K

Median compensation
(Female)
$50-60K
U.S.

The median compensation for the lab manager post was $50-60K post at paint manufacturers was $60-70K; the same position at raw materials suppliers was $70-80K.

R&D Director
   
Worldwide Europe
  Median compensation
(worldwide)
$70-80K

Median compensation
(U.S.)
$90-100K

Median compensation
(Europe)
$60-70K
U.S.

The median compensation for the R&D director post was $60-70K post at paint manufacturers was $60-70K; the same position at raw materials suppliers was $70-80K.

What's in their wallets?

Ever wonder what Barb in the CEO's office pulls in, or Howard in the plant? Here is a quick look at salaries of other positions in the paint industry, according to PayScale, Inc. The numbers show U.S. national median base salaries�in the "paint, varnish, lacquer, pigments, inks (manufacturing/sales/distribution)" industry, according to PayScale. The sales representative post relates to "wholesale and manufacturing, but not technical and scientific products."

National Median Base Salary
(Paint, Varnish, Lacquer, Pigments, Inks (Manufacturing/Sales/Distribution)" industry)

Plant Manager, Manufacturing: $80,200
Administrative Assistant: $35,682
Sales Representative $55,075, including bonus.

Information about PayScale's services and compensation research can be found at www.payscale.com.

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