Top Executives devise strategies and policies to ensure that an organization meets its goals. They plan, direct, and coordinate operational activities of companies and organizations.

The responsibilities of top executives largely depend on an organization’s size. For example, an owner or manager of a small organization, such as an independent retail store, often is responsible for purchasing, hiring, training, quality control, and day-to-day supervisory duties. In large organizations, however, top executives typically focus more on formulating policies and strategic planning, while general and operations managers direct day-to-day operations.

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Top Executives devise strategies and policies to ensure that an organization meets its goals. They plan, direct, and coordinate operational activities of companies and organizations.

The responsibilities of top executives largely depend on an organization’s size. For example, an owner or manager of a small organization, such as an independent retail store, often is responsible for purchasing, hiring, training, quality control, and day-to-day supervisory duties. In large organizations, however, top executives typically focus more on formulating policies and strategic planning, while general and operations managers direct day-to-day operations.

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Job Prospects


Top executives are expected to face very strong competition for jobs. The high pay and prestige associated with these positions attract many qualified applicants.


Those with an advanced degree and extensive managerial experience will have the best job prospects.

Employment projections data for top executives, 2016-26


Occupational Title SOC Code Employment, 2016 Projected Employment, 2026 Change, 2016-26 Employment by Industry
Percent Numeric
Top Executives -- 2,572,000 2,765,100 8 193,100 --

SOURCE: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment Projections program

Employment projections data for top executives, 2016-26


Occupational Title
Top Executives
SOC Code
--
Employment, 2016
2,572,000
Projected Employment, 2026
2,765,100
CHANGE, 2016-26
PERCENT
8
NUMERIC
193,100
EMPLOYMENT BY INDUSTRY
--

SOURCE: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment Projections program

Pay


The median annual wage for chief executives was $183,270 in May 2017. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $68,110, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $208,000.

The median annual wage for general and operations managers was $100,410 in May 2017. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $44,510, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $208,000.

In May 2017, the median annual wages for chief executives in the top industries in which they worked were as follows:


Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services $208,000 or more
Manufacturing $208,000 or more
Healthcare and Social Assistance $160,940
Government $107,130

In addition to salaries, total compensation for corporate executives often includes stock options and other performance bonuses. They also may enjoy benefits, such as access to expense allowances, use of company-owned aircraft and cars, and membership to exclusive clubs. Nonprofit and government executives usually receive fewer of these types of incentives.

Top Executives


Median annual wages, May 2017


Note: All Occupations includes all occupations in the U.S. Economy.
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics

Job Outlook


Overall employment of top executives is projected to grow 8 percent from 2016 to 2026, about as fast as the average for all occupations. Employment growth will vary widely by occupation (see table below) and industry, and is largely dependent on the rate of industry growth.

Top executives are essential for running companies and organizations and their work is central to the success of a company.

Generally, employment growth will be driven by the formation of new organizations and expansion of existing ones, which will require more managers and executives to direct these operations.

Top Executives


Percent change in employment, projected 2016-26


Note: All Occupations includes all occupations in the U.S. Economy.
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics

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Professional Recruiter and Staffing Organizations


  • National Association of Personnel Services
  • Association of Talent Acquisition Professionals
  • American Association of International Healthcare Recruitment
  • National Association of Executive Recruiters
  • National Association for Health Care Recruitment
  • Recruitment Process Outsourcing Association
  • American Staffing Association
  • Top Echelon Recruiting Network

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