Communication executives report to the senior management of an organization. They typically hold the title of vice president or director of communications. Competition is always keen for these high profile positions. Generally a person in this role has worked their way up in an organization by taking on communication roles with increasing responsibility. Although this job is prestigious and high paying, the hours are long, business travel is frequent, and the pressure to succeed is strong.
Communication executives plan and direct the organization’s overall communication strategy including overseeing employee communications and marketing the company’s image to clients and the general public. They also consult with executive management personnel on communication strategies for the organization. Typically, they lead the company’s communication staff.
Excellent written and verbal communication skills are essential to this role along with experience in various communications media, procedures and concepts. Desired leadership traits are team building, networking and motivational skills. Decision making, analytical and effective problem solving skills are also preferred. Familiarity with web design and content management are necessary in today’s environment, as well as the use of social media as a communications tool.
The minimal educational requirement for a communications executive is a bachelor’s degree in English, communications or public relations. Most corporations prefer completion of a Master’s degree for candidates of this job.
Experience is essential for success at this level of an organization with 15 years of communications management experience required by most corporations. Future executive communications personnel also need a minimum of five years of successful leadership experience managing a team of direct reports.
The salary for executive communicators varies by title, level of education, experience, employer, and job location. Directors in the U.S. earn from $68,000 to $91,000 as of May 2010, according to Salary.com. Vice presidents earn from $105,000 to $192,000.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts employment of top executives will have little or no job growth through 2018. Executives in the growing field of health services and education, however, will find more openings available. The most opportunities will be found by experienced managers who demonstrate strong leadership qualities and proven success at increasing the efficiency of their organizations. Given the global nature of businesses today, executives with international communications management experience or fluency in several languages hold an advantage over their competition.