CEOJob Description, Salary, Career Path, and Trends
A CEO is the highest-ranking executive of a company and oversees all aspects of the company’s operations. A successful CEO must create trust and inspire confidence within the company and other business partners.
CEOs are primarily responsible for making high-level decisions regarding policy, strategy, and operations of a company. They work alongside senior stakeholders, chief financial officer, and chief information officer to create and implement operational policies and a strategic plan.
Becoming a CEO comes with great responsibility. CEOs are expected to build good partnerships with other organizations and help identify any problems or potential opportunities for the company. They help determine values and a mission for their company and create short and long-term plans to accomplish company goals.
Sample job description
[Your Company Name] is searching for a go-getter CEO who is organized and has X amount of experience. In order for us to maintain our position as one of the top companies in our industry, we must have strong, innovative leadership. We’re searching for a seasoned CEO to take us to the next level. You should be an analytical and solution-oriented leader. You should be gifted with the ability to evaluate and analyze complex information. Of course, you should also have a natural desire to help lead the company to new heights.
Typical duties and responsibilities
A minimum of ten years of management experience is required
Community involvement, public speaking, and public policy experience are strongly preferred
A demonstration of strong business acumen
A type of leadership that empowers and enables
A solid collaborator and innovator with a knack for finding alternative solutions
A focused and calculated leader that has a desire to bring our company to new heights
An individual who can balance multiple tasks and play multiple roles effectively
Education and experience
Master’s in Business Management (preferred)
Executive leadership: 5 years (required)
Executive leadership: 10 years (preferred)
Required skills and qualifications
Financial and political acumen
The ability to link strategy and operational goals to company priorities and fiscal realities
An agile but structured leader that can remain nimble without sacrificing a plan’s framework
Inspirational leadership skills
A commitment to create a culture that never stops driving for improvement
Passion and dedication to the company’s mission
Master’s in a relevant business degree
Demonstrated effective executive leadership: 10 years
Experience maintaining and managing budgets
Experience with public speaking and community outreach
Experience in understanding and prioritizing company goals
Experience creating a culture of positive change with passion and commitment
Average salary and compensation
The average base salary for a CEO is $777,500 per year in the United States. While only base salaries are reflected here, commissions and bonuses may greatly increase total compensation. Additionally, salaries will vary based on experience, company size, industry, and geographic market.
Los Angeles, California
Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota
New York City, New York
Typical work environment
The CEO is expected to work in an office as part of a team. They often consult with executive leadership to effectively manage the company and maintain an accurate assessment of factors both inside and out. Expect to be switching roles between collaborative, delegatory, analytical, and promotional roles. Although technically an office job, they should expect significant travel and the occasional work from home.
CEOs usually keep regular office hours. They will occasionally need to work late or over weekends to meet deadlines. They should expect to be in meetings for a significant amount of their day.
As the CEO, your standard hours are Monday through Friday, 9 to 5, and on-call.
As a CEO, there’s always room to give yourself an advantage and distinguish yourself from the pack:
Full Certified Manager Certification. This is the first step of the 3 tiered system to become certified. Managers seeking to step up into senior executive management and eventually CEO need to foster the drive and ambition necessary to continue moving up. Managers with 3+ years of experience who graduate will obtain the CertM to continue their path upwards.
Provisional Certified CEO Certification. For senior executives and newer CEOs attempting to take their careers to the next level, this certification allows for the training and certification necessary to help. Senior executives with 3+ years of senior management experience and CEOs with less than 5 years of experience can obtain this on their journey.
Full Certified CEO Certification. Since a “one size fits all” approach doesn’t quite work for such a position, there are separate tiers of designation designed to fit a more tailored description that better fits your circumstances. CCEO comes with the right to be called a “certified CEO” and can be achieved after 5+ years of CEO experience. Those who wish to pursue further training and education and stand out from the competition may seek a CCEO certification.
Certified Public Accountant. Another, less directly related, certification that many employers require is a CPA. This is a commitment to both serving the public interest, and operating in a code of professional conduct that lends integrity and competence to their decision making.
The most fundamental aspect of becoming a CEO is establishing your ability to manage and lead. After all, if you’re guiding an entire company with dozens, hundreds, or even thousands of people, you’ve got to be able to properly manage, delegate, and oversee all the moving parts of the company effectively. Aside from proving yourself capable of leadership, you must understand the company, both externally and internally, and the market that company is in.
If the best manager doesn’t understand the product or service they provide, they’re going to struggle to provide solutions to the problems they’ll eventually face. Finally, being structured and analytical is a vital component of a competent CEO. Having any combination of experience in finance and multiple years in leadership positions will make you a stand-out choice.
US, Bureau of Labor Statistics’ job outlook
SOC Code: 11-1011
Projected Employment in 2030
Projected 2020-2030 Percentage Shift
Projected 2020-2030 Numeric Shift
Although companies are constantly coming and going, there is, at most, a single CEO for each of them. Many businesses have closed down or dissolved over the last few years, and with them, many CEOs have lost their jobs. Some companies are also foregoing the CEO position altogether.
Sample interview questions
What interests you about being a CEO?
What do you know about our target audience?
What measures do you take to stay updated on industry news?
Would you consider yourself good with time management and can you provide an example?
How quickly can you learn to use a new tool?
How do you divide and prioritize your responsibilities amongst management?
How many people have you managed at once?
Can you provide an example of finding alternative solutions to a problem at work?
Describe a time you were faced with multiple problems. How did you prioritize your workload?
Have you had prior experience speaking to the public on behalf of a company?
How much experience do you have in budgeting and forecasting?
What role did you play in developing your company in your previous position?
Describe a time you had a less than cooperative employee, how did you manage them?
How do you handle high pressure at work?
Would you consider yourself someone that motivates and inspires, can you provide an example?
Describe your greatest success and failure as a manager. What did you learn from both?
We match top professionals with great employers across the country. Your next career move or star employee is just around the corner. Review our career content and advice, browse our latest job openings, or email us your resume. We look forward to connecting with you soon!