While the executive manager in some companies is a very visible person, appearing in company advertisements and media appearances, other executive managers work quietly behind the scenes. Whatever their style, executive managers have similar responsibilities for the operation of their organization. While being an executive manager can be a rewarding experience, both financially and personally, the unwritten part of the executive job description often requires long hours, including evenings and weekends, and balancing family and personal obligations with work needs.
An executive manager defines the vision and goals of his department, or the entire company or organization. He does this by implementing policies and procedures, and by establishing budgets. Executive managers also oversee personnel decisions, such as hiring and firing, and also compensation. Managing contracts and negotiations, as well as analyzing data to make the best business decisions are key elements of the executive manager's responsibilities.
Types of Executive Managers
The Chief Executive Officer, or CEO, is probably the most familiar type of executive manager, but there are others as well. In the private sector, there are Chief Operating Officers, or COOs, and Chief Financial Officers, or CFOs; in the public sector, a city mayor or even the police or fire chief are executive managers. In eduction, the school principal or superintendent are examples in public schools, while the dean is an executive manager working in a college or university setting.
In a non-profit organization, the top person in charge is usually called the executive director. The director job description is essentially the same as for an executive manager, with specific skills and experience required depending on the nature of the non-profit.
Qualifications and Skills
An executive manager must be able to make decisions, sometimes quickly, based on available information. She must also be someone that the organization sees as a leader, or a person that they can easily follow. Good communications skills are key, both oral and written, as she should be able to convey complex thoughts and processes clearly and concisely. To meet the set goals, a good executive manager is also able to build a diverse team with different talents and personalities.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median pay for a top executive as of 2017 was $183,270 per year. The large variance in salary is due to the differences in responsibilities depending on the industry, as well as the differences between public and private sector employment. Benefits are also a large part of compensation with many executive management positions, and include club memberships, company vehicles and even the use of company airplanes in some cases.
Job Outlook and Advancement Opportunities
The BLS notes that the total number of top executives employed in the United States will grow by 8 percent through 2026, which is about the average for all occupations.
Opportunities for advancement often happen by moving from an executive management position in one company to the same type of position in a larger or more prestigious company. Competition for these jobs is strong because of the high salaries and level of prestige, but candidates with proven leadership and management skills, as well as solid experience, face the best prospects of advancement either with current employers or new companies.
Minimum Education Requirements
Education requirements vary for executive managers, depending on the field and type of company. At the minimum, a bachelor's degree is required for most positions, although an advanced degree gives an applicant an advantage over competing applicants. Some health care and educational executive managers must have a doctoral degree to be considered for positions. Additional, specialized training in related fields may also be required.