The responsibilities of top executives largely depend on an organization’s size. For example, an owner or manager of a small organization, such as an independent retail store, often is responsible for purchasing, hiring, training, quality control, and day-to-day supervisory duties. In large organizations, however, top executives typically focus more on formulating policies and strategic planning, while general and operations managers direct day-to-day operations.
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.
Overall employment of top executives is projected to grow 4 percent from 2019 to 2029, about as fast as the average for all occupations. Projected employment growth varies by occupation. Employment of general and operations managers is projected to grow 6 percent from 2019 to 2029, faster than the average for all occupations. Employment of chief executives is projected to decline 10 percent from 2019 to 2029.
Top executives work in nearly every industry. They work for both small and large businesses, ranging from companies in which they are the only employee to firms with hundreds of thousands of employees. Top executives often work many hours, including evenings and weekends. Travel is common, particularly for chief executives.