Although VP sounds very grand, there are an awful lot of levels left above it in the US. Similarly in the UK really, where an AD can become a Research Director, well before he/she is considered a real Director as in helping to run the company, and after that can go on to be a Senior Director, SVP and/or Group or Divisional Director before going on to the exalted status of EVP in the US or MD in the UK, or any of the C-suite roles in larger companies (CEO, COO, CFO, CRO [Research], CIO [Information - generally client side] and others).
The above may help to explain why few companies nowadays use the job title Senior Associate Director - there are plenty of punchier titles to choose. But yes it may also have something to do with the acronym.
Once someone has a significant say in the direction of the company, they're very likely to be coded on MrWeb as a 'Director or above'. Note that Directors in the US are more akin to ADs in the UK, and can sit just below VPs in the ranks, so we call the top division 'SVP and above' for US candidates.
Salaries for top level researchers are *much* better than they were twenty years ago - £60k was pretty good in those days, and £100k was almost unheard of, at least in *advertised* salaries. Nowadays we're looking at £60k as a borderline well-paid AD or RD / low-paid Director, and £70-80k as more standard for 'Directors'. Jobs paying £100k plus crop up on a fairly regular basis. Some progress at least!
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