Becoming an Executive Manager: Job Description & Salary

About this article
An executive manager can earn an average annual salary of $178,000, but is it worth all the education and training requirements? Get the truth about job duties and career prospects to see if becoming an executive manager is right for you.
View available schools

Pros and Cons of an Executive Manager Career

An executive manager may be synonymous with chief executive officers (CEOs), presidents or vice presidents, general and operation managers or other top executives. Read the following pros and cons to determine if this career is right for you.

Pros of Becoming an Executive Manager
One of the highest positions at a company*
Potential high earnings (Average of $180,000 in May 2014)*
Leadership and entrepreneur opportunities**
May find work in many industries*

Cons of Becoming an Executive Manager
Very competitive job market*
May be stressful because of responsibilities**
Graduate education is often required**

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **O*Net

Essential Career Information

An executive manager is the guiding figure at a company. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), executive managers outline the objectives for all types of businesses (www.bls.gov). If the executive works for a corporation, they may be a member of the board of directors. Whatever their status is, an executive manager helps structure, establish and monitor goals for a company.

Job Duties

According to O*Net Online, most executive managers or chief executives must analyze and plan the financial duties of a company (www.onetonline.org). An executive manager must have a good understanding of the business and finance, in addition to knowing general economic trends that may put the company at an advantage or a disadvantage in the marketplace. The executive manager also provides the final say in contract negotiations, such as acquisitions or capital investments. These individuals must also delegate responsibilities to specific individuals and departments. Executive managers make personnel decisions, including hiring, promoting and appointing department heads.

Salary Information and Career Outlook

In May 2014, the BLS found that the annual average salary for chief executives was around $180,000. The BLS reports that employment opportunities for executive managers were expected to increase just five percent from 2012-2022, due to factors like companies merging and keen competition for available spots. Besides companies and enterprises, other industries that were top employers for these professionals included state and local governments, as well as school systems.

Career Requirements

Executive managers typically hold a bachelor degree or a master degree in business administration or a closely-related major. Business administration programs are well-rounded and typically include coursework from various areas of business, such as accounting, marketing and economics. The BLS states that many executive managers for large corporations typically hold a Master of Business Administration. Besides academic investments, work experience, including experience as a low-level manager, is often required.

Skills

Executive managers must be confident and capable decision-makers as they will make important decisions concerning costs, budgets and investments for the company. They also need to be good critical thinkers so they can outline and enforce solutions to complex problems facing the company. Since they interact with many departments and employees, good communication skills are vital.

What do Employers Look for?

Employers desire executive managers with at least a bachelor's degree and several years of experience in a management position. Individuals who can maintain good relationships with employees and demonstrate financial insight in a particular field may have an advantage. Some recent job postings listed in May 2012 include:

  • An Arkansas healthcare company needs a chief executive to help with the company's community role. The chief executive must maintain ties with communities, as well as facilitate proper operations within the company.
  • A Wisconsin nonprofit company needs an executive who has experience with volunteer opportunities and community work. The executive needs to have a great insight in finances and also excellent human resources skills to help with hires, training and volunteers.
  • A New York habilitation and vocational training company needs an executive who can facilitate operations and services at the company. The executive needs to make sure that the company is compliant with federal and state laws in relation to the clients they aid. The executive should have leadership experience and a background in the behavioral sciences.

How to Make Your Skills Stand Out

The BLS states that competition for executive management positions is high. To make yourself stand out, you may participation in board meetings or available training programs. This will provide you with opportunities to gain leadership experience and develop managerial skills. The BLS recommends that you enhance your knowledge of the global marketplace, since most major corporations are trying to enter international markets to increase profits.

Alternative Career Paths

Financial Managers

If you are interested in the financial investments of a company, but do not want to direct every administrative operation, you may be interested in a career as a financial manager. According to the BLS, a financial manager reviews the financial health of a company and advises the company on investments, costs, market trends and legal requirements in finances. While many of these professionals work for financial institutions, they can find employment with other industries. The BLS indicates that there will be a nine percent growth rate for financial managers from 2010-2020 and that their median annual salary was $107,000 in May 2011.

Administrative Service Managers

If you like helping with daily office activities, but want to narrow your scope from an executive manager, you may be interested in an administrative service manager position. An administrative service manager is the head supervisor over all administrative and clerical duties in a company. They manage the people and capital used at the company, making sure time and money are used adequately. Administrative service managers will recommend to top executives how to better allocate resources and enhance the working experience for all workers. According to the BLS, administrative service managers will see a 15% growth in employment from 2010-2020. In May 2011, the BLS indicated that the median annual salary for an administrative service manager was $80,000.

Popular Schools

  • Campus and Online Programs
    1. South University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Leadership (MS)
      • Business Administration (DBA)
      • Business Administration (MBA)
    Bachelor's
      • Business Administration (BBA)
  • Online Programs Available
    2. Georgetown University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Professional Studies in Sports Industry Management
      • Masters of Professional Studies in Technology Management
      • Master of Professional Studies in Real Estate
  • Online Programs Available
    3. George Mason University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Business Administration
      • Master of Business Administration: Business Analytics Specialization
  • Online Programs Available
    4. Argosy University

    Program Options

    Doctorate
      • Business Administration (DBA)
      • Organizational Leadership (EdD)
    Master's
      • Management (MS)
      • Business Administration (MBA)
      • Business Administration (with Concentrations) (MBA)
      • Organizational Leadership (MS)
    Bachelor's
      • Bachelor - Business Administration
    Associate's
      • Business Administration (AS)
  • Online Programs Available
    5. Colorado State University Global

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Project Management
      • MS - Management
      • MS - Organizational Leadership
      • Master of International Management
    Bachelor's
      • BS - Project Management
      • BS - Business Management
      • Undergraduate Specialization - Small Business and Entrepreneurship
      • BS - Organizational Leadership
    Certificate
      • Undergraduate Certificate - Project Management
  • Online Programs Available
    6. American University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Science in Agile Project Management
      • Master of Science in Measurement and Evaluation
  • Online Programs Available
    7. Kaplan University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • MBA: Project Management
      • Master: Management/Project Mgmt
      • M.S. in Management
      • Master : Business Admin
      • MBA: Health Care Management
      • MSM in Leadership
    Bachelor's
      • BSBA in Management
      • BBA: Project Management
      • Bachelor of Business Admin
      • BSBA - Investment
    Associate's
      • Associate: Business Admin.
      • AASBA -Entrepreneurship
      • AASBA in Small Business Management
      • AASBA in Food/Hotel Management
      • Associate: Business Admin. - Office Mgmt
    Certificate
      • Executive Leader Graduate Certificate
  • Online Programs Available
    8. Grand Canyon University

    Program Options

    Doctorate
      • DBA - Management
      • Ed.D. in Organizational Leadership - Organizational Development
    Master's
      • M.B.A. with an Emphasis in Project Management
      • MBA and MS in Leadership (Dual Degree)
      • MBA: Leadership
      • MS in Leadership
      • MBA
      • Master of Science in Business Analytics
    Bachelor's
      • BS in Applied Management
      • Bachelor of Science in Business for Secondary Education
      • BS in Entrepreneurial Studies
      • BS in Business Admin.
      • Bachelor of Science in Applied Business Analytics
  • Online Programs Available
    9. American InterContinental University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Business Admin: Management
      • Master of Business Admin: Operations Management
      • Master of Business Admin: Project Management
    Bachelor's
      • Bachelor of Business Admin: Management
      • Bachelor of Business Administration - Generalist
      • Bachelor of Business Admin: Project Management
      • Bachelor of Business Admin: Operations Management
    Associate's
      • Associate of Arts in Business Administration
  • Online Programs Available
    10. Northcentral University

    Program Options

    Doctorate
      • PhD in Business Admin - Organizational Leadership
      • PhD in Business Admin - Management
      • Doctor of Business Admin - Organizational Leadership
      • Doctor of Business Admin - General Business
      • PhD-TIM - IT Project Management
      • Doctor of Business Admin - Management
    Master's
      • Master of Business Admin - General Business
      • MS - Organizational Leadership: Project Management
      • MBA - Strategic Management
      • MSTIM - IT Project Management
      • MBA - Management
      • MBA - Project Management
    Certificate
      • Education Specialist - Organizational Leadership

Featured Schools

South University

  • Leadership (MS)
  • Business Administration (DBA)
  • Business Administration (BBA)

What is your highest level of education completed?

Georgetown University

  • Master of Professional Studies in Sports Industry Management
  • Masters of Professional Studies in Technology Management
  • Master of Professional Studies in Real Estate

What is your highest level of education completed?

George Mason University

  • Master of Business Administration
  • Master of Business Administration: Business Analytics Specialization

What is your highest level of education?

Argosy University

  • Business Administration (DBA)
  • Management (MS)
  • Bachelor - Business Administration
  • Business Administration (AS)

What is your highest level of education completed?

Colorado State University Global

  • Master of Project Management
  • BS - Project Management
  • Undergraduate Certificate - Project Management

What is your highest level of education?

American University

  • Master of Science in Agile Project Management
  • Master of Science in Measurement and Evaluation

What is your highest level of education?

Kaplan University

  • MBA: Project Management
  • BSBA in Management
  • Associate: Business Admin.
  • Executive Leader Graduate Certificate

Which subject are you interested in?

Grand Canyon University

  • DBA - Management
  • M.B.A. with an Emphasis in Project Management
  • BS in Applied Management

What is your highest level of education?