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The Difference Between Executive Pay and Non-Executive Pay

All organizations have executives or managers at the top of the company ladder, directing activities and ensuring that the company's goals and objectives are met. The difference between executive pay and non-executive pay depends largely on the type of organization in question, as well as the worker’s job title.

Executive vs Non-Executive

The main difference between an executive and a non-executive is that executives work within the guidelines set by a board of directors or some type of governing body. Other managers may be responsible for many of the same administrative duties as executives, but may manage only a department or region, or they may work for smaller companies which don't have a governing body or board.


According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the average pay for chief executives in the United States was $173,350 as of May 2010. These executives direct activities “at the highest level of management” and typically oversee subordinate executives and staff managers. General and operations managers also directed daily operations, but were not classified as “executives,” and earned a mean salary of $113,100 a year.


Pay was generally higher in all industries for executives in comparison with non-executives, according to the Bureau. As of 2010, chief executives working for the management of companies and enterprises earned an average salary of $204,650 a year, while general managers earned an average of $137,450. Local governments offered an average of $106,620 for chief executives and $91,270 for general managers. The highest paying industry for chief executives was the monetary authorities-central bank sector with a salary average of $237,590 annually, while general managers earned the highest wages in financial investment activities at an average of $176,800 a year.


The employment rate for chief executives and general managers is predicted to “experience little to no change” between 2008 and 2018 by the BLS. Because both executives and non-executives may be found in so many industries, however, that may not be the case for all workers. Industries experiencing growth, such as the healthcare industry, will also have an increase in the employment rate of both executive and non-executive managers.


Kara Page has been a freelance writer and editor since 2007. She maintains several blogs on travel, music, food and more. She is also a contributing writer for Suite101 and has articles published on eHow and Answerbag. Page holds a Bachelor of Music Education degree from the University of North Texas.