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Top Executives Job Description, Career as a Top Executives, Salary, Employment

Definition and Nature of the Work, Education and Training Requirements, Getting the Job

Education and Training: College

Salary: Median— $85,230 per year

Employment Outlook: Good

The main aim of top executives is to formulate policies and devise strategies that are in line with the specified goals and objectives of their organization. Top executives can have a range of varying titles such as chief executive officer (CEO), president, chief operating officer (COO), administrator, or others. However, the primary responsibility of top executives is to direct operations successfully, and formulate policies that are advantageous to the goals of their organizations.

The magnitude and nature of responsibilities shouldered by top executives depends upon the size of the organization. In publicly traded companies, top executives are accountable for implementation of policies on a daily basis and maintaining accuracy in their financial reports. They also report the progress of the company to its board of directors who then determine the success or failure of the enterprise.

In many organizations, top executives are assigned responsibility of certain specific areas. For example, a chief financial officer looks after the financial objectives and budget of a company, whereas a chief information officer (CIO) or chief technological officer (CTO) is delegated the management of the overall technological aspects in a corporation. Large organizations often appoint a chief executive officer who is responsible for the overall functioning and viability of the organization.

Education and Training Requirements

Most top executives have a bachelor’s or master’s degree in business administration. Some may even have degrees in more specialized areas. The degree requirement varies from organization to organization. College presidents, for example, have a doctoral degree in their field of expertise while school superintendents have a master’s degree in education administration.

Top executives who have an extensive experience in the related field are generally preferred by employers. Graduate degrees are common among top executives, but some organizations often advance employees without graduate degrees to the level of top executives because of their extensive experience and capabilities.

Another priority requirement for top executives is their high level of analytical and personal skills. Top executives should also possess good leadership qualities, the ability to manage stress, and the ability to make unbiased, independent decisions for the benefit of their organization.

Getting the Job

A person having requisite educational qualification and considerable working experience in the same field is highly sought after for top executive positions. When an opening occurs, some organizations promote experienced managers from lower levels to the rank of top executive. Employment portals and journals often list job openings for top executive positions. To attain such designations, it is usually necessary to have prior experience in managerial positions.

Top executives often engage the services of independent professional recruiters or employment consultants. These professionals can help top executives find job opportunities and negotiate a good salary and benefits package.

Advancement Possibilities and Employment Outlook

Top executives can find career advancement opportunities by participating in company-sponsored training programs. Continuing education is also extremely crucial since a top executive needs to be well acquainted with the latest technologies and trends in the field of management. A master’s of business administration or other advanced degree is becoming the norm. It is also beneficial to attend conferences and seminars on current issues, as this helps build useful contacts that later on provide an advantage in career advancement.

The Institute of Certified Professional Managers offers the Certified Manager credential after completion of training and an exam. This credential, though not mandatory, can be helpful for advancement through the managerial ranks.

Working Conditions

Top executives of organizations often work in spacious office rooms and enjoy the services of numerous support staff. However, their working hours are generally long and grueling. They might even have to work on weekends and late evenings. The job of a top executive requires extensive traveling throughout his organization’s area of operation, which often includes international travel, for monitoring operations and meeting with customers and other executives. One is also likely to face intense pressure to succeed in achieving targets and goals set by the company. Performance of top executives is minutely scrutinized, and underachievers may find their jobs in jeopardy.

Where to Go for More Information

American Management Association
1601 Broadway
New York, NY 10019

National Management Association
2210 Arbor Boulevard
Dayton, Ohio 45439

Earnings and Benefits

Top executives are generally very highly paid. The salaries depend on the size of the organization and managerial responsibility borne by them. The median annual salary of top managers in May 2006 was $85,230. Typical salary of those surveyed ranged from $58,230 to $128,580 annually, although top executives in very large corporations can earn several hundred thousand or even millions of dollars per year. In addition to salary, top executives get total compensation inclusive of performance bonus and stock options. Amenities such as use of executive dining rooms, expense allowances, use of company aircraft and cars, company paid insurance premiums, and physical examinations are also provided to top executives. Some organizations also offer company-paid club memberships to their top executives.

Additional topics

Job Descriptions and Careers, Career and Job Opportunities, Career Search, and Career Choices and ProfilesBusiness