US Mercer SIRS® Career Frameworks: Research and Development

Transparency for the progression of your employees' careers

US Mercer SIRS® Frameworks: Research and Development SKU_279

Please note that this product is no longer being conducted. The Research and Development (R&D) function is the cornerstone of any organization’s ability to deliver innovative products and solutions to the market. In order for this to happen, you must provide clear career development paths and experiences so that you groom the top current and future employees.

Stimulate business and talent transformation with the US Mercer SIRS® Career Frameworks: Research and Development report. Using the SIRS job leveling schemas, provide clarity and transparency around role expectations to deliver a more compelling employee value proposition. Build workforce capacity through proactive and deliberate career management strategies linking critical HR processes such as:

  • Workforce analytics
  • Selection and retention
  • Performance management
  • Succession management
  • Rewards
  • Career management and development
Are you ready to help your employees progress in their careers?
  • Overview
  • Product Details
  • How to Participate
  • 2019 Participation
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The SIRS job leveling schemas (or Level Charts) present a framework for providing meaningful differentiation between job levels reflecting the degree of skill, complexity, and responsibility a job requires. SIRS levels define the “what” — what degree of skill, complexity and responsibility a job requires — by evaluating the job against a set of compensable factors such as knowledge, problem solving, discretion/latitude, impact, and liaison. By establishing competencies specific to the R&D function, the job architecture of the SIRS Technical LevelChart can be developed into a more robust career framework that answers the “how” — how employees can demonstrate proficiency and progression through the levels.

A career framework will provide clarity and transparency around role excellence for your employees and aid in career progression development. This helps deliver a more compelling employee value proposition which can result in higher levels of engagement and contribution as well as:

  • Empower managers to support employees through effective conversations on career development by identifying not just what an employee needs to do, but how to accomplish it.
  • Hone in on specific competencies and proficiency levels that drive performance for individual contributors in this key functional area.
  • Link competencies to market data and pay practices using the SIRS Benchmark Survey market data
  • Review functional population distribution and its effect on career pathways.
  • Anchor other HR processes to the career framework.

Product Details

Product Details

The SIRS Career Frameworks: Research and Development report is provided in PDF format. The report includes context on what a Career Framework is and how its value to an organization clearly defines all core competencies at each proficiency level, links these to SIRS levels, and provides concrete development actions and experiences.

The SIRS Career Frameworks model defines eight core competencies critical for staff in the Research and Development function. Three proficiency levels are defined for each competency: Foundational, Proficient, and Advanced.

The below chart correlates the expected proficiency level by competency for an individual contributor job evaluated at a specific level in the SIRS Technical Category Level Chart (survey benchmark codes beginning with T and U).

SIRS technical chart

Survey Methodology
Although competencies specific to the R&D function vary across industries and levels, certain skills are consistently valued which have emerged in recent years as companies merge, blend technologies and grow on a global scale. Mercer employed a three-step process to develop this framework, concentrating on the role of individual contributors in the R&D function.

Step 1: Industry and Practitioner Insights to Identify Capabilities

  • Identified R&D function subject-matter experts with Mercer and client organizations.
  • Held kick-off meeting with Mercer, HR and technical subject-matter experts.
  • Researched emerging trends and practices within the R&D function.
  • Conducted a critical R&D capabilities survey to support the development of a capabilities straw model.

Step 2: Definition and Validation of Capabilities Content

  • Refined capabilities straw model and built out proficiency levels and developmental tools for each capability through virtual focus groups.
  • Correlated each proficiency level by competency to the SIRS Technical Level Chart.

Step 3: User Experience Testing

  • Through considerable input from client organizations, refined model, including detailed content for three levels of proficiency (foundational, proficient, advanced) and development actions and experiences.

How to Participate


R&D is only the beginning. Mercer SIRS clients have declared a desire to expand this career framework model to additional functional areas, developing competencies unique to their specific needs.

We are looking for organizations to be part of the development of our next functional career framework and competency definition.

You can take part in a functional capabilities survey to:

  • Identify industry and practitioner insights.
  • Be part of a focus group to develop and validate the model.
  • Provide feedback of the results.

Please reach out to us at to be part of this exciting opportunity. 

2019 Participation

2019 Survey Participation is now closed. Survey participation is open to all organizations with matching jobs and is not required to purchase results. To learn more about how you can become a participant, please contact us. As a survey participant, you do receive key benefits:

  • A discount on survey results!
  • An exclusive invitation to survey events - attend results webcasts and meetings where Mercer consultants will review the results and identify market trends and factors. You'll also be able to ask questions directly related to your organization.
  • Ensure your data is included in the market results - easily determine your market position with customized reports that compare your company data to your peers.


Product Participant Non-Participant
2019 US Mercer SIRS® Career Frameworks: Research and Development report USD 2,200 N/A

Please note:

  • Pricing may vary for multi-entity organizations.
  • Individuals or companies using Mercer data for consulting services or commercial purposes are subject to different rates. Please call for more information.
  • Sub TitleTransparency for the progression of your employees' careers
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  • Short DescriptionTransparency for the progression of your employees' careers
  • RegionUS

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