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Salary Benchmarks for Upper Medical Affairs Functions and Medical Science Liaisons

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  • 41 Pages
  • January 2019
  • Region: Global
  • Arx Research
  • ID: 4802014

This report provides U.S.-based upper Medical Affairs functions and Medical Science Liaisons salaries benchmarks. The research results from the input of respondents from 121 U.S.-based companies. The research was designed to investigate compensation standards across the medical affairs function, from Chief Medical Officers to Associate Directors to Medical Science Liaisons levels.

In total, the data are based on 1258 reported salaries across 19 therapeutic areas and six functional levels. Salary data is presented through percentiles, averages, medians and ranges. In addition, the research outlines the current educational background profile of Medical Science Liaisons.

Select key findings:

  • Some Medical Science Liaisons salaries are up to three times more than their counterparts within similar therapeutic area
  • Average Medical Science Liaison entry salary is up 2% from 3 years ago
  • Average MSL salaries are up 6% from 3 years ago
  • Cardiology, Rheumatology and Nephrology Medical Science Liaisons average the highest salaries
  • Upper functions such as managers / senior managers, associate directors, directors, and senior directors experienced up to 11% increased salary

Retention of talent is difficult in a highly competitive industry like life sciences. For the most part, compensation is often the basis for individuals to move from one company to another. Companies’ upper management and human resources departments usually base their compensation structure on internally developed guidelines, available annual budgets, government data or limited information on competing entities.

The study delivers upper Medical Affairs functions and MSL salaries benchmarks that will help medical affairs professionals establish, realign, compare and negotiate salaries for their role.

Table of Contents


Research Methodology

Definitions of Therapeutic Areas

Salary Benchmarks for Upper Management Levels
Salary Benchmarks – Vice Presidents
Salary Benchmarks – Senior Directors
Salary Benchmarks – Directors
Salary Benchmarks – Assistant Directors
Salary Benchmarks – Senior Managers / Managers
Salary Benchmarks – Variations by Management Levels

Salary Benchmarks for Medical Science Liaisons
Current Educational Profile of Surveyed MSLs
Average Base Salaries by Therapeutic Areas
Salaries – All Therapeutic Areas Combined
Low, Range, Top Salaries by Therapeutic Area
Base Salary – Cardiology
Base Salary – Dermatology
Base Salary – Endocrinology
Base Salary – Family Medicine
Base Salary – Gastroenterology
Base Salary – Hematology
Base Salary – Immunology
Base Salary – Infectious Diseases
Base Salary – Musculoskeletal
Base Salary – Nephrology
Base Salary – Neurology
Base Salary – Obstetrics and Gynecology
Base Salary – Oncology
Base Salary – Ophthalmology
Base Salary – Pulmonary Diseases
Base Salary – Rheumatology
Base Salary – Trauma
Base Salary – Urology
Base Salary – Medical Devices
Base Salary – Other / Non-Specific



Analysts use primary and secondary research resources to develop our studies. The quantitative and qualitative data are collected through surveys and interviews conducted with professionals within the area of study. The data presented in our studies are an aggregate of survey and interview input. When possible, the data is presented by country. region or other factor to outline meaningful differences. We protect the identity and privacy of study participants and therefore blind their personal information and the organizations to which they belong - we only present the participation by company size and titles. This enables us to collect unbiased information, provided confidently by participants.