Chief Executives
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Speciality
Overview
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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. Plan, direct, or coordinate operational activities at the highest level of management with the help of subordinate executives and staff managers.
Titles for this career often contain these words
DirectorManagerSustainabilityOfficerCommissionerExecutiveChiefPresidentSuperintendentCorporateAdministratorSupervisorProgramCityViceStatePublisherBusinessEnvironmentalFinancialCountyCoordinatorPublicServicesCouncilDevelopmentSchoolsHealthInsuranceInstitutionEnergySecretarySafetyChancellorNursingRevenuePlannerAgencyDepartmentStoreDeputyDistrictCustomsEmploymentResearchAnalystResponsibilityDivisionForeignServiceGovernorTaxLaborLiquorMusicPolicyWorksReportsAeronauticsCommissionAgriculturalAlcoholDrugAbuseAssistanceArtsHumanitiesBakeryBankBookBrokerageOfficeCDOCEOCFOGreenCGOCOOOnVitalLeaderEVPAidFireUserLawMayorTopVPCSR
Education
About 71% of chief executives and legislators have at least a bachelor's degree.
Education attained by chief executives and legislators
None
High School
Some College
Associate's/Cert.
Bachelor's Degree
Master's Degree
Professional Degree
Doctorate
Context: workers with bachelor's degrees
More chief executives and legislators have bachelor's degrees than 80% of other careeers.
Employment
Workforce size
Chief executives, with 263,200 workers, form a larger workforce than 81% of careers.
Predicted employment growth
Over the next decade, jobs for chief executives are expected to shrink by 6%, and should have about 16,800 job openings a year.
Safety from automation
Chief executives are less likely to be automated than 86% of other careers.
Salaries
Context: Median Salary
How do salaries for chief executives compare to other jobs' salaries?
Distribution: What salary can you expect?
See what most chief executives earn.
$184K$0$50K$100K$150K$200K$250K
Note: The salaries for chief executives have been top-coded by the BLS; in 2019, all annual salaries larger than $208,000 are recorded as $208,000.
Gender
Women account for 25% of chief executives and legislators -- that's a smaller percentage than 61% of other jobs.
Gender of chief executives and legislators
Men
Women
Context: Salary inequity
For each career, we compared the median (middle) men's salary to the median women's salary. For chief executives and legislators, the median men's salary was 14% more the median woman's salary.
Race/Origin
About 12% of chief executives and legislators are minority, and 14% are foreign-born.
Race/origin of chief executives and legislators
White
Black
Pacific Islander
Hispanic
Asian
American Indian
Multiracial
Other
Context: Foreign-born workers (14%)
Where are the most jobs?
We ranked the number of jobs in Chief Executives per thousand workers in each state, DC, and Puerto Rico. Blue indicates low density, with lighter shades moving to yellow indicating higher numbers working in this profession.
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Benefits
How do benefits for this career compare to other jobs?
Context: Employer offers health insurance
Context: Employer offers a pension plan
Context: workers are union members
Worker concerns
Some jobs are more stressful than others, and some are just plain dangerous. The following list gives the percentages of chief executives who report hazardous or difficult situations typically occurring at least once a week.
  • Time Pressure (68%)
  • Frequency of Conflict Situations (55%)
  • Responsible for Others' Health and Safety (40%)
  • Consequence of Error (35%)
SOURCES:
Salary and diversity
What do chief executives and legislators earn?
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) provides company-reported job titles and corresonding salaries at the specialty level (chief executives). This data excludes self-employed workers.
Distribution: Salaries for chief executives (BLS Salary Data)
$184K$0$50K$100K$150K$200K$250K
Context: Median salaries across careers (BLS Salary Data)
$184K$0$50K$100K$150K$200K$250K
Note: The salaries for chief executives have been top-coded by the BLS; in 2019, all annual salaries larger than $208,000 are recorded as $208,000.
The American Community Survey (ACS) asks individuals to report their occupation and salary, and as such includes self-employed workers. This view of salaries is only available for all chief executives and legislators.
Distribution: Salaries for chief executives and legislators (ACS Salary Data)
$97K$0$50K$100K$150K$200K$250K
Context: Median salaries across careers (ACS Salary Data)
$97K$0$50K$100K$150K$200K$250K
Chief executives and legislators: Inflation-adjusted salary trend
This job's median $101KAll jobs' median $45K$107K$44K070809101112131415161718$0$50K$100K$150K$200K
A look at employers and corresponding salaries
The donut shares the break-down of workers by employer type, giving us a picture of what employers most typically hire chief executives.
Employers of Chief executives and legislators (ACS)
Private for-profit (59.1%)
Private not-for-profit (8.5%)
Local government (2.8%)
State government (1.8%)
Federal government (1.3%)
Self-employed incorporated (22.7%)
Self-employed not incorporated (3.6%)
Working without pay (0.2%)
Distribution: Salaries of chief executives and legislators by type of employer (ACS data)
Following are the salary distributions by employer type calculated by aggregating individual household survey responses. These salaries were reported for the larger career group of chief executives and legislators, which combines the 2 specialties for this career.
$97K$107K$108K$54K$92K$97K$75K$97K$38K$0$50,000$100,000$150,000$200,000Working without paySelf-employed not incorporatedSelf-employed incorporatedFederal governmentState governmentLocal governmentPrivate not-for-profitPrivate for-profitAll
Note: The salaries for chief executives have been top-coded by the BLS; in 2019, all annual salaries larger than $208,000 are recorded as $208,000.
Distribution: Salaries of chief executives by type of employer (BLS data)
Following are the salary distributions by employer type as reported by BLS based on large employer-focused surveys. We note that smaller employer categories are not included by BLS. Remember that the BLS salaries are for the specialty chief executives, and may differ signficantly from the ACS salary estimates which combine several career specialties.
$184K$0$50,000$100,000$150,000$200,000$250,000All
Note: The salaries for chief executives have been top-coded by the BLS; in 2019, all annual salaries larger than $208,000 are recorded as $208,000.

We only include salary data when the survey error is less than 20%, so you may see only partial information for some categories.

Salary growth for chief executives and legislators

Is this a job that rewards experience, or is this job most likely a part of a career ladder? The higher a job's experience quotient, the more experience is rewarded with pay increases. Jobs in the green range have the best rewards with experience.

Take a minute to look at how much you might expect your salary to increase with each five years' experience, as well as how the numbers working at each age change. Does this seem to be a job for the young or the old, or could it be a career offering steady salary growth for many years?

Salary distribution
$104K$102K$102K$102K$82K$102K$93K$36K$61K$0$50K$100K$150K$200K20-2425-2930-3435-3940-4445-4950-5455-5960-64
Number employed
050K100K150K200K20-2425-2930-3435-3940-4445-4950-5455-5960-64

We only include salary data when the survey error is less than 20%, so you may see only partial information for some categories.

Chief executives and legislators and gender

With 25% women, this occupation has a lower percentage of women than 61% of careers.

Context: Women in the workforce
25%0%20%40%60%80%100%
Gender of Chief executives and legislators
Men (75%)
Women (25%)
Distribution: Salaries by gender

The median salary for all full-time male workers in the US exceeds the full-time median salary for women by 19%. The situation is a little better for chief executives and legislators, with the median salary for men 14% higher than the median salary for women.

$89K$101K$0$50K$100K$150K$200KWomenMen
Context: Salary Inequity

The chart below shows the salary inequity, the percentage by which the median men's salary is higher than the median women's salary for all but about 20 jobs in which women typically earn more than men.

14%0%20%40%60%80%100%

We only include salary data when the survey error is less than 20%, so you may see only partial information for some categories.

Race and origin of chief executives and legislators

Here we check out the diversity of origin in this career. There is a smaller percentage of minority chief executives and legislators than for 88% of other careers. The percentage of foreign-born workers in this career is near the middle of all careers.

Race/origin of chief executives and legislators
White (88% )
Asian (6% )
Black (4% )
Multiracial (2% )
Other (1% )
American Indian (0% )
Hispanic (0% )
Pacific Islander (0% )
Context: Representation of minorities in the workforce
12%0%20%40%60%80%100%
Context: Representation of foreign-born workers
14%0%20%40%60%80%100%
Distribution: Salaries for chief executives and legislators by race/origin

For some careers, there is a pay disparity depending on race or origin, though this is not prevalent. We calculate standard errors for all of our calculations, and when the error is high we do not show results. Therefore, for some jobs will have omitted race/origin categories.

$67K$70K$81K$87K$96K$100K$101K$0$50K$100K$150K$200KOtherAmerican IndianBlackMultiracialAsianWhiteHispanic
Distribution: Salaries for chief executives and legislators by nativity
$92K$98K$0$50K$100K$150K$200KAll foreign-bornAll native citizens

We only include salary data when the survey error is less than 20%, so you may see only partial information for some categories.

Chief executives and legislators and Part-time/Full-time employment

We've found that somes jobs hava a huge number of part-time workers, and that typically most who are working part-time are doing so because they cannot find full-time work or the job they have cannot provide full-time hours. With 5% part-time workers, this occupation has a lower percentage of part-time workers than 77% of careers.

Context: Part-time workers in the workforce
5%0%20%40%60%80%100%
Why workers are part-time
Full-Time is less than 35 hours a week
Retired/Social Security limit on earnings
Could not find full-time work
Seasonal work
Slack work/business conditions
School/training
Health/medical limitations
Child care problems
Other family/personal obligations
Other reasons
Distribution: Salaries by part-time/full-time status

The salary distributions for full-time and part-time chief executives and legislators is shown following.

$27K$97K$0$50K$100K$150K$200KPart-time workersFull-time workers
Pathways to this career
Education attained by chief executives

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), chief executives typically hold a bachelor's degree.

Sometimes the typical education identified by the BLS differs a bit from the reality of the how much education current workers actually have. The donut shows the education level held by people currently working as chief executives and legislators as reported in responses to the American Community Survey.

Details: Education and training recommended for chief executives

Many top executives have a bachelor’s or master’s degree in business administration or in an area related to their field of work. Top executives in the public sector often have a degree in business administration, public administration, law, or the liberal arts. Top executives of large corporations often have a master’s degree in business administration (MBA).

College presidents and school superintendents are typically required to have a master’s degree, although a doctorate is often preferred.

Although many mayors, governors, or other public sector executives have at least a bachelor’s degree, these positions typically do not have any specific education requirements.

Details: Licensing and certification recommended for chief executives

Some top executive positions may require the applicant to have a license or certification relevant to their area of management. For example, some employers may require their chief executive officer to be a certified public accountant (CPA).

Education attained by chief executives and legislators
None
High School
Some College
Associate's/Cert.
Bachelor's Degree
Master's Degree
Professional Degree
Doctorate
Distribution: Salary by education level

What level of education is truly needed for chief executives and legislators? Below we see the distribution of chief executives and legislators salaries based on the education attained. You may have noticed in the dashboard and elsewhere that BLS top-codes salaries. ACS also engages in a form of top-coding, but by looking at the broader field of chief executives and legislators and using the ACS, we are able to see some of the higher salaries and can give a better idea of the range of salaries for this field.

$62K$73K$82K$82K$103K$111K$116K$121K$0$50K$100K$150K$200KNone (1%)High School (8%)Some College (14%)Associate's/Cert. (5%)Bachelor's Degree (41%)Master's Degree (23%)Professional Degree (4%)Doctorate (3%)

We only include salary data when the survey error is less than 20%, so you may see only partial information for some categories.

College majors held by chief executives and legislators

This table shows the college majors held by people working as chief executives and legislators.

If you see "**" before the name of a degree/program, that means this field is one that the Department of Education believes is preparatory for this career. However, you can see from this list that those recommendations are far from your only path to this job!

Percentage of Chief executives and legislators with this degree
Salary for all majors
Salary distribution (across jobs). Showing 0-$200,000.
Median
Middle 50%
Middle 80%
Education
Final education level of all people with this major
Bachelor's Degree
Master's Degree
Doctorate/Professional
Gender
Gender of people this bachelor's degree
Men
Women
The link between degrees and careers

With the following sankey diagram, you can follow the top ten bachelor's degrees held by people working as chief executives and legislators, and then, in turn, you can see the 10 occupations that hire the most of each degree's graduates. We hope this provides ideas for similar jobs and similar fields of study.

Specialized ManagersAccountants and AuditorsFinancial ManagersFirst-Line Supervisors of...Wholesale and Manufacturi...Chief executives and legi...Labor Relations Specialis...First-Line Supervisors of...Customer Service Represen...Elementary and Middle Sch...Retail SalespersonsLawyers, and judges, magi...First-Line Supervisors of...Bookkeeping, Accounting, ...Financial and Investment ...Personal Financial Adviso...Securities, Commodities, ...Loan OfficersManagement AnalystsPostsecondary TeachersEducation and childcare a...Paralegals and Legal Assi...Marketing ManagersSales ManagersMarket Research Analysts ...Sales Representatives of ...Specialized Social Worker...Educational, Guidance, an...Specialized PsychologistsRegistered NursesSecretaries and Administr...Mechanical EngineersSpecialized EngineersArchitectural and Enginee...Industrial and Health/Saf...Software DevelopersCivil EngineersAerospace EngineersProject Management Specia...Business Management andAdministrationGeneral BusinessAccountingFinanceEconomicsPolitical Science andGovernmentMarketingPsychologyCommunicationsMechanical EngineeringAll other degreesThis jobTop 10 majorsEach major's top ten jobs
What college major is your best entry?

About 71% of people working as chief executives and legislators have at least a bachelor's degree. Each dot represents a college major leading to these jobs, with the dots to the right representing the majors sending the most of their grads into this career. The dots at the top are the majors who earn the most working in this career.

Darker colors have a larger percentage with graduate degreesOverall median salary0.0%1.0%2.0%3.0%4.0%5.0%6.0%7.0%8.0%9.0%10.0%Percentage with this major$60,000$70,000$80,000$90,000$100,000$110,000$120,000$130,000$140,000$150,000$160,000Median salary with this major
Switching Careers
The most common next careers for chief executives and legislators

What jobs will most chief executives and legislators hold next year?

The data in this chart comes from person interviews for the Census Bureau's Current Population Survey. The survey interviews households eight times over a two-year period, allowing us a glimpse into how people move from job to job. You can see more details from the results of the survey in our last tab in this section, and you can read about our methodology in our source descriptions.

Here we see all of the jobs that at least 1% of chief executives and legislators reported holding in their second year's survey. Is your future job on this list?

Chief executives and legislatorsFirst-Line Supervisors of Retail Sales WorkersFinancial ManagersFirst-Line Supervisors of Non-Retail Sales WorkersManagement AnalystsGeneral and Operations ManagersAccountants and AuditorsMarketing and sales managers
Lateral job transitions for chief executives and legislators

A lateral career transition is a move to a job with similar pay and responsibilities. A move to such a job can offer a change of pace without an increase in stress or a decrease in pay. The following table simply identifies all 7 jobs which were held by at least 1% of survey respondents before working as chief executives and legislators as well as 1% of respondents after working as chief executives and legislators. Select a row to investigate the job's full description and determine if it truly offers an opportunity for a lateral transition.

Employed
How many people have this job?
Salary
Salary distribution for people in this occupation. Range is 0-$200,000.
Median
Middle 50%
Middle 80%
Education
No degree
Associate's/Cert.
Bachelor's Degree
Master's Degree
Doctorate/Professional
Gender
Men
Women
Prior and next careers for chief executives and legislators: full listings

What do people typically do before and after they work as chief executives and legislators? Here are the full lists of all jobs that at least 1% of chief executives and legislators surveyed reported as holding a year earlier or later.

Choose which type of transition to view
Prior jobs
Next jobs
Employed
How many people have this job?
Salary
Salary distribution for people in this occupation. Range is 0-$200,000.
Median
Middle 50%
Middle 80%
Education
No degree
Associate's/Cert.
Bachelor's Degree
Master's Degree
Doctorate/Professional
Gender
Men
Women
Percentage Transitioning
What percentage worked in this job the previous year?
Variation by state
State-by-state employment numbers

Some careers tend to be centered in specific parts of the country. For example, most jobs in fashion are in New York or California. Let's see if your dream job is easy to find in your dream location! We have a few choices for viewing the data that can help you get a full employment picture.

Job density versus job count

Which states hire the most chief executives? We wonder if that's a fair question since states come in all sizes, so instead let's start with the question of which states have the highest density of people working as chief executives. You can choose to view the number of jobs per state if you prefer.

BLS vs ACS data

This map defaults to employment information from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), which provides job totals carefully compiled for accuracy and with a primary focus on how employers describe their workers. The BLS job totals do not count self-employed workers. We've also compiled totals using the Census Bureau's American Community Survey (ACS) which are based on how workers describe themselves. Sometimes ACS results are quite a bit different from the employer-based BLS data.

One important factor in the differences between ACS and BLS data is that the ACS numbers are for all chief executives and legislators, comprised of all specialities listed in the menu bar, and you can choose to view the BLS at the specialty or full career level.

Choose the metric to review
Jobs per 1000 working
Number of jobs
Use this data source
BLS for this specialty
Number of Chief Executives per 1,000 workers (BLS)
Select a state to see local area details
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0.01.02.03.04.0
Salaries by state
Let's get a feel for where chief executives earn the highest salaries. There are several choices for which data we consider and how we view that data, and each can lead to different conclusions, so please read on...
Median salary versus state ratio

We use two methods to compare salaries across states:

  • In-state comparisons: the ratio of median (middle) salaries for chief executives and legislators compared to the median salary for all people working in each state, or
  • Median salary: the unaltered median salaries for chief executives and legislators.

We hope the ratio allows perspective about how salaries may compare to the regional cost-of-living.

BLS vs ACS data

We have two sources for statewide salary information with important distinctions. The BLS data is created by surveying companies, missing individuals who are self-employed or work for smaller companies. The ACS data is compiled from multi-faceted household surveys and may reflect the inconsistencies that people may have in reporting information. The ACS salaries are for all chief executives and legislators, which combines the specialities from which you can choose at the top of the page.

Choose the metric to review
Location-adjusted median salary
Median salary
Use this data source
BLS for this specialty
Location-adjusted median salary for Chief Executives (BLS for this specialty)
The darkest shading corresponds to states in which chief executives earn the highest salary when compared to other jobs in the state. We think this ratio might be a better indicator than the actual salary for your buying power as a state resident.
Select a state to see local area details
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$0$50K$100K$150K$200K$250K
Compare to similar jobs

If this job interests you, then use the tabs and education selector to find other careers that might be a good fit for you.

How should the career similarity be computed?

There are a number of ways to measure the similarity of jobs, here are a few we provide:

  • Interests: Also known as a Holland Code - Are you a thinker? A helper? What fits your personality?
  • Environment: Are there hazards? Will you be comfortable? Will it be stressful?
  • Knowledge: What do you need to know the most about?
  • Physical Abilities: Do you need to especially strong or coordinated?
Choose the similarity measure to compare careers
Interests
Environment
Knowledge
Physical Abilities
Jobs that are similar by Interests with
All education levels
Show most similar careers
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