Median Salary: $97,136.00
Change in Salary (2008–2014): +11%
Total Employees: 27,600
Change in Employees (2008–2014): -16%
This is corner-office country—the vice-presidents, executive directors, and C-suite executives who occupy the top levels of private-sector management in fields like finance, telecom, engineering and high-tech.
How to Qualify: A post-secondary degree is a minimum here, with further training necessary in fields that require a specialized designation, such as accounting. While there’s no substitute for experience and working your way up the ranks, you might want to get an MBA to add some extra oomph to the resumé. Since this job title crosses many fields, your mileage may vary based on specific requirements for any given industry.
Money: Though the median salary for this group is around $97,000, there is significant headroom depending on the size of the company you work for. The bigger the company, the larger the paycheque you can command—and that doesn’t count other compensation such as stock or performance bonuses, common at the higher end of the leadership ladder.
Opportunity: Experienced, road-tested senior managers are highly sought-after—once they’ve achieved enough to make the jump. Be prepared to devote a significant number of years to attaining this level of leadership. Managers with specialized skills, such as finance or human resources, can enjoy a clear career path; generalists can often apply their skills across a range of industries, so lateral jumps are possible.