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Career profile Chief Executive

Also known as Chief Diversity Officer (CDO), Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Chief Financial Officer (CFO), Chief Nursing Officer, Chief Operating Officer (COO), Executive Director, Executive Vice President (EVP), Operations Vice President

Chief Executive

Also known as Chief Diversity Officer (CDO), Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Chief Financial Officer (CFO)

Interests Profile
  • Enterprising
  • Conventional
  • Social
Pay Range
$62,780 - $208,000+ (annual)
Required Skills
  • Judgment and Decision Making
  • Speaking
  • Critical Thinking
Knowledge Areas
  • Administration and Management
  • Personnel and Human Resources
  • Customer and Personal Service
Core tasks
  • Direct or coordinate an organization's financial or budget activities to fund operations, maximize investments, or increase efficiency.
  • Appoint department heads or managers and assign or delegate responsibilities to them.
  • Direct, plan, or implement policies, objectives, or activities of organizations or businesses to ensure continuing operations, to maximize returns on investments, or to increase productivity.
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What does a Chief Executive do?

Chief Executives determine and formulate policies and provide overall direction of companies or private and public sector organizations within guidelines set up by a board of directors or similar governing body.

In addition, Chief Executives plan, direct, or coordinate operational activities at the highest level of management with the help of subordinate executives and staff managers.

What kind of tasks does a Chief Executive perform regularly?

Chief Executives are often responsible for overseeing or executing some or all of the following tasks:

  • Direct or coordinate an organization's financial or budget activities to fund operations, maximize investments, or increase efficiency.
  • Appoint department heads or managers and assign or delegate responsibilities to them.
  • Direct, plan, or implement policies, objectives, or activities of organizations or businesses to ensure continuing operations, to maximize returns on investments, or to increase productivity.
  • Analyze operations to evaluate performance of a company or its staff in meeting objectives or to determine areas of potential cost reduction, program improvement, or policy change.
  • Confer with board members, organization officials, or staff members to discuss issues, coordinate activities, or resolve problems.
  • Prepare budgets for approval, including those for funding or implementation of programs.
  • Implement corrective action plans to solve organizational or departmental problems.
  • Direct human resources activities, including the approval of human resource plans or activities, the selection of directors or other high-level staff, or establishment or organization of major departments.
  • Negotiate or approve contracts or agreements with suppliers, distributors, federal or state agencies, or other organizational entities.
  • Establish departmental responsibilities and coordinate functions among departments and sites.
  • Preside over, or serve on, boards of directors, management committees, or other governing boards.
  • Coordinate the development or implementation of budgetary control systems, recordkeeping systems, or other administrative control processes.
  • Review reports submitted by staff members to recommend approval or to suggest changes.
  • Deliver speeches, write articles, or present information at meetings or conventions to promote services, exchange ideas, or accomplish objectives.
  • Interpret and explain policies, rules, regulations, or laws to organizations, government or corporate officials, or individuals.
  • Review and analyze legislation, laws, or public policy and recommend changes to promote or support interests of the general population or special groups.
  • Administer programs for selection of sites, construction of buildings, or provision of equipment or supplies.
  • Prepare or present reports concerning activities, expenses, budgets, government statutes or rulings, or other items affecting businesses or program services.
  • Direct or conduct studies or research on issues affecting areas of responsibility.

The above responsibilities are specific to Chief Executives. More generally, Chief Executives are involved in several broader types of activities:

Making Decisions and Solving Problems
Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
Getting Information
Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
Communicating with People Outside the Organization
Communicating with people outside the organization, representing the organization to customers, the public, government, and other external sources. This information can be exchanged in person, in writing, or by telephone or e-mail.
Guiding, Directing, and Motivating Subordinates
Providing guidance and direction to subordinates, including setting performance standards and monitoring performance.

What is a Chief Executive salary?

The median salary for a Chief Executive is $185,950, and the average salary is $197,840. Both the median and average roughly describe the middle of the Chief Executive salary range, but the average is more easily affected by extremely high or low salaries.

Many Chief Executives earn significantly more or less than the average, due to several factors. About 10% of Chief Executives earn less than $62,780 per year, 25% earn less than $114,530, 75% earn more than $208,000, and 90% earn more than $208,000.

Between the years of 2020 and 2030, the number of Chief Executives is expected to change by -5.7%, and there should be roughly 17,500 open positions for Chief Executives every year.

Median annual salary
$185,950
Typical salary range
$62,780 - Over $208,000
Projected growth (2020 - 2030)
-5.7%

What personality traits are common among Chief Executives?

Interests

Career interests describe a person's preferences for different types of working environments and activities. When a person's interest match the demands of an occupation, people are usually more engaged and satisfied in that role.

Compared to most occupations, those who work as a Chief Executive are usually higher in their Enterprising and Conventional interests.

Chief Executives typically have very strong Enterprising interests. Enterprising occupations frequently involve starting up and carrying out projects. These occupations can involve leading people and making many decisions. Sometimes they require risk taking and often deal with business.

Also, Chief Executives typically have strong Conventional interests. Conventional occupations frequently involve following set procedures and routines. These occupations can include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.

Values

People differ in their values, or what is most important to them for building job satisfaction and fulfillment.

Compared to most people, those working as a Chief Executive tend to value Independence, Recognition, and Working Conditions.

Most importantly, Chief Executives very strongly value Independence. Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions.

Second, Chief Executives very strongly value Recognition. Occupations that satisfy this work value offer advancement, potential for leadership, and are often considered prestigious.

Lastly, Chief Executives very strongly value Working Conditions. Occupations that satisfy this work value offer job security and good working conditions.

Psychological Demands

Each occupation brings its own set of psychological demands, which describe the characteristics necessary to perform the job well.

In order to perform their job successfully, people who work as Chief Executives must consistently demonstrate qualities such as leadership, integrity, and initiative.

Below, you'll find a list of qualities typically required of Chief Executives, ranked by importance:

Leadership
Job requires a willingness to lead, take charge, and offer opinions and direction.
Integrity
Job requires being honest and ethical.
Initiative
Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.
Stress Tolerance
Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high-stress situations.
Dependability
Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.

What education and training do Chief Executives need?

Many Chief Executives have earned a graduate degree. For example, they may require a master's degree, and some require a doctoral degree, such as a Ph.D., M.D., or J.D..

Chief Executives may need some on-the-job training, but most candidates will already have the required skills, knowledge, work-related experience, and/or training.

Educational degrees among Chief Executives

  • 1.5% did not complete high school or secondary school
  • 8.3% completed high school or secondary school
  • 14.2% completed some college coursework
  • 5.1% earned a Associate's degree
  • 40.5% earned a Bachelor's degree
  • 23.7% earned a Master's degree
  • 6.7% earned a doctorate or professional degree

Knowledge and expertise required by Chief Executives

Chief Executives may benefit from understanding of specialized subject areas, such as administration and management, personnel and human resources, or customer and personal service knowledge.

The list below shows several areas in which most Chief Executives might want to build proficiency, ranked by importance.

Administration and Management
Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.
Personnel and Human Resources
Knowledge of principles and procedures for personnel recruitment, selection, training, compensation and benefits, labor relations and negotiation, and personnel information systems.
Customer and Personal Service
Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
Law and Government
Knowledge of laws, legal codes, court procedures, precedents, government regulations, executive orders, agency rules, and the democratic political process.
Economics and Accounting
Knowledge of economic and accounting principles and practices, the financial markets, banking, and the analysis and reporting of financial data.

Important Abilities needed by Chief Executives

Chief Executives must develop a particular set of abilities to perform their job well. Abilities are individual capacities that influence a person's information processing, sensory perception, motor coordination, and physical strength or endurance. Individuals may naturally have certain abilities without explicit training, but most abilities can be sharpened somewhat through practice.

For example, Chief Executives need abilities such as oral comprehension, oral expression, and written comprehension in order to perform their job at a high level. The list below shows several important abilities for Chief Executives, ranked by their relative importance.

Oral Comprehension
The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
Oral Expression
The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
Written Comprehension
The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
Speech Clarity
The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
Written Expression
The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.

Critical Skills needed by Chief Executives

Skills are developed capacities that enable people to function effectively in real-world settings. Unlike abilities, skills are typically easier to build through practice and experience. Skills influence effectiveness in areas such as learning, working with others, design, troubleshooting, and more.

Chief Executives frequently use skills like judgment and decision making, speaking, and critical thinking to perform their job effectively. The list below shows several critical skills for Chief Executives, ranked by their relative importance.

Judgment and Decision Making
Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
Speaking
Talking to others to convey information effectively.
Critical Thinking
Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions, or approaches to problems.
Complex Problem Solving
Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
Social Perceptiveness
Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.

What is the source of this information?

The information provided on this page is adapted from data and descriptions published by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration under the CC BY 4.0 license. TraitLab has modified some information for ease of use and reading, and the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment, and Training Administration has not approved, endorsed, or tested these modifications.

If you have any questions or suggestions about this information, please send a message.