Chief Executives

Chief executives have the overall responsibility for the operation of the company or organization. A company's objectives and policies are established by the chief executive officer (CEO) in collaboration with other top executives. Chief executives create programs to reach the objectives they set. In large companies a chief executive meets often with subordinate executives to make sure that operations are performed in accordance to the set policies.

A CEO also facilitates business outside of the company. They oversee the budget and make sure that the company's resources are effectively used. A CEO is also involved in meetings with board and staff members in order to decide the level of support given to proposed programs. The chief executive officer reports to the board of directors.

Chief executives employed by the government encourage business investment, nominate citizens to boards and promote economic development for their community. Typically, they rely on skilled personnel to make sure the company operates effectively. However, in small companies chief executive officers usually perform a lot of the important tasks themselves.


  • Support administration and operations of the Board by offering advice and information
  • Oversee design, promotion, marketing, delivery and the quality of products, services and programs
  • Manage the human resources of the company or organization
  • Recommend an annual budget for the Board's approval and manage the companies resources within the budget guidelines
  • Direct fundraising, planning and implementation
  • Ensure the company's objectives, products and services are presented in positive images to relevant stakeholders

Job Characteristics

A chief executive officer should have excellent communication, interpersonal, leadership and organizational skills. They should have an analytical mind and need to effectively work under the pressure to succeed.

Chief executive officers usually have spacious offices and a support staff. Most chief executive officers work more than a forty hour week. Chief executives typically have flexible schedules. Substantial travel is typically part of the occupation. They travel to international, national, regional and local offices in order to review operations and meet with staff, customers and other executives. They also attend meetings and conferences sponsored by associations.

Employment Outlook

The growth rate for top executives, including chief executives, is expected to grow 2% between 2006 and 2016. Since they are essential to the success of a company, their jobs are unlikely to be outsourced to other countries. Employment of top executives is not as connected to business growth when compared to most other occupations.

The growth of top executive jobs is projected to be faster than average in professional, scientific and technical services and employment is forecasted to decline for top executives in some manufacturing industries. Those with extensive managerial experience, notable accomplishments, and the proven ability to improve the efficiency and the competitive position of a company have the best employment opportunities.

Executives of large companies may earn hundreds of thousands to over a million dollars annually. Total compensation typically includes salary, performance bonuses and stock options.

Education, Certification, and Licensing

The education requirements for CEO's varies widely and depends a lot on the type of organization. Many chief executive officers have a bachelor's or a graduate degree in business administration, liberal arts or specialized areas. Top executive jobs are sometimes filled from within the company. Extensive management experience is often required.

Advancing a career can be accelerated by participating in company training programs. Learning the newest management techniques from training programs sponsored by industry and trade associations is also useful for career advancement. Some CEO's become members of the board of directors of one or more companies. They sometimes become the director of their own company.


Major Employers

The leading areas of employment are median to large corporations, nonprofit institutions and public sector organizations.

Schools for Chief Executives are listed in the Browse Schools Section.

Chief Executives Skills

Below are the skills needed to be chief executives according to their importance on the scale of 1 to 5 (1 being lowest and 5 being highest) and competency level on a scale of 1 to 7 (1 being lowest and 7 being highest).

Skill NameImportanceCompetence
Judgment and Decision Making4.55.75
Complex Problem Solving4.385
Critical Thinking4.384.75
Social Perceptiveness4.254.25

Chief Executives Abilities

Below are the abilities needed to be chief executives according to their importance on the scale of 1 to 5 (1 being lowest and 5 being highest) and competency level on a scale of 1 to 7 (1 being lowest and 7 being highest).

Ability NameImportanceCompetence
Oral Comprehension4.54.88
Oral Expression4.385
Written Comprehension4.254.62
Speech Recognition4.124.62
Written Expression4.124.62

Chief Executives Knowledge

Below are the knowledge areas needed to be chief executives according to their importance on the scale of 1 to 5 (1 being lowest and 5 being highest) and competency level on a scale of 1 to 7 (1 being lowest and 7 being highest).

Knowledge AreaImportanceCompetence
Administration and Management4.756.23
Personnel and Human Resources4.15.02
Customer and Personal Service4.095.55
English Language4.074.56
Law and Government3.924

Chief Executives Work activities

Below are the work activities involved in being chief executives according to their importance on the scale of 1 to 5 (1 being lowest and 5 being highest) and competency level on a scale of 1 to 7 (1 being lowest and 5 being highest).

Work ActivityImportanceCompetence
Making Decisions and Solving Problems4.746.18
Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates4.735.96
Getting Information4.725.35
Communicating with Persons Outside Organization4.615.87
Guiding, Directing, and Motivating Subordinates4.575.89

Chief Executives Work styles

Below are the work styles involved in being chief executives according to their importance on the scale of 1 to 5 (1 being lowest and 5 being highest).

Work StyleImportance
Stress Tolerance4.75

Metro Areas Sorted by Total Employment for
Chief Executives

Listed below are the 10 largest metro areas based on the total number of people employed in Chief Executives jobs , as of 2017

Metro AreaTotal EmploymentAnnual Mean Salary
Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim10,620 $236,730
Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale5,530 $193,650
San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward5,000 $238,360
Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell4,910 $225,460
Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue3,510 $214,170
Sacramento--Roseville--Arden-Arcade2,760 $162,150
San Diego-Carlsbad2,610 $229,860
Nashville-Davidson--Murfreesboro--Franklin2,410 $143,940
Salt Lake City2,230 $183,430
San Juan-Carolina-Caguas2,140 $120,670

Compare Total Employment & Salaries for Chief Executives

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Total employment and salary for professions similar to chief executives

Source : 2016 Occupational Employment Statistics and 2016-26 Employment Projections, Bureau of Labor Statistics, BLS.gov; O*NET® 22.1 Database, O*NET OnLine, National Center for O*NET Development, Employment & Training Administration, U.S. Department of Labor, onetonline.org

Most Popular Industries for
Chief Executives

These industries represent at least 1% of the total number of people employed in this occupation.

IndustryTotal EmploymentPercentAnnual Median Salary
Professional And Technical Services30,08010%N/A
Business Management22,3207%N/A
Office Services And Staffing14,4304%$157,700
Durable Goods Wholesale11,1203%N/A
Banking And Credit9,5803%N/A
Construction Trades9,5503%$142,850
Medical Office8,1602%$146,070
Non-durable Goods Wholesale6,4402%N/A
Metal Products5,6501%$154,160
Social Service4,8601%$95,370
Auto And Auto Parts Dealers4,5001%N/A
Electronics And Computer4,3101%N/A
Securities And Investment3,8501%N/A
Nursing And Residential Care3,5501%$105,830
Real Estate3,3801%N/A
Traditional Publishing3,1301%N/A
Civil Engineering3,0601%$157,780
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We have some additional detailed pages at the state level for Chief Executives.

Numbers in parentheses are counts of relevant campus-based schools in the state; online schools may also be available.

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