Top executives are among the highest paid workers in the United States. However, salary levels vary substantially, depending on executives’ responsibilities and lengths of service and the types, sizes, and locations of the firms, organizations, or government agencies for which they work. For example, a top manager in a large corporation can earn significantly more than the mayor of a small town.
The median annual wage for chief executives was $165,080 in May 2010. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $75,160, and the top 10 percent earned more than $166,400.
The median annual wage for general and operations managers was $94,400 in May 2010. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $47,280, and the top 10 percent earned more than $166,400. Because the responsibilities of general and operations managers vary significantly among industries, earnings also tend to vary considerably.
Median annual wages in the industries employing the largest numbers of general and operations managers were as follows:
|Professional, scientific, and technical services||$129,520|
|Administrative and support and waste management and remediation services||82,550|
In addition to salaries, total compensation for corporate executives often includes stock options and other performance bonuses. Workers also may enjoy benefits, such as access to expense allowances, use of company-owned aircraft and cars, club memberships, and company-paid insurance premiums. Nonprofit and government executives usually receive fewer benefits.
Working long hours, including evenings and weekends, is standard for most executives and general managers. However, some have the ability to set their own schedules.
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-13 Edition