CEO Job Description

A CEO’s life is all about indulgent lunches and rounds of golf while other mugs do all the hard work, right? Sadly no.

As the highest ranking executive manager in an organisation, the CEO is responsible for everything from the paper clip budget through to developing strategies for business growth. You have to be in control of everything or risk losing it all. Is it the job for you?

So, what will I actually be doing?

Every type of business you can think of will have a CEO at the helm, and the specific tasks can vary according to the industry. But put simply, a CEO does everything. Even if they aren’t the person who actually does it, they are the person who has told someone to do it, or told someone who tells someone to do it. Think of a business as a triangle; the CEO is sat at the top, controlling everything below.

In addition to high-powered meetings with the board of directorssenior management and other companies, a CEO will look after anything involved in the day-to-day running of the business. Here’s a closer look at the specifics…

  • Controls the direction of the company
  • Decides budgets for all departments
  • Targets and initiates business partnerships with other companies
  • Drives the culture of the business
  • Oversees employment and ensures there are enough staff (and the right people)
  • Manages senior managers
  • Generates new business and gives approval of new projects
  • Responsible for day-to-day decisions
  • Identifies risks and ensures appropriate strategies are in place
  • Ensures the correct practices are being met
  • Attends board meetings and other presentations
  • Drives profitability of the business

The finer details…

It can be tough at the top, as well as lonely. Apart from the board of directors, a CEO is left to their own devices and even if they do ask for feedback, most workers won’t be keen to point out failings in the big boss.

Even with a plush office, a CEO’s life isn’t easy. It’s an extremely tough working environment, with long hours and lots of stress. Even if there is a long lunch to woo clients, or an evening gala to attend, days usually hover around the 12-hour mark.

Promotion is a tad limited – a position onto the board of directors is about it, where the new CEO will answer to them.

Money, money, money

One reward for the intense stress of a CEO is the pay, but even CEOs of equal experience can face wild discrepancies between pay, depending on the organisation they work for. On average, a CEOs salary can range from £46,000 through to £172,838.

But there’s more. In addition to the base salary, CEOs can look forward to bonuses, profit sharing or commission. Once these are added to the mix, the top salary point becomes around the £220,000 mark.

This is just an average. Some sectors such as banking and technology, will have CEOs pulling in far more than that.

See what people are earning in this job

The good points…

  • A CEO is the pinnacle position of a business and the ultimate goal
  • CEOs make a real difference to a company; shaping it and driving the vision
  • Excellent salary and benefits
  • Might involve travel and will certainly involve social engagements
  • Get to meet the movers and shakers in the industry

The bad points…

  • Stress levels are exceptionally high
  • A CEO is only as good as their worst employee
  • Long hours and often a 7-day working week
  • The buck stops with you!

Is there study involved?

Most CEOs are expected to have a bachelor’s or master’s degree. In addition to this, extensive market knowledge is needed, as is a thorough understanding of the company. Awareness of all positions is essential and CEOs often work their way up through the ranks.

Need additional qualifications? Find a course at our Learning Zone

OK, I’m interested… But is it really the job for me?

Gordon Gecko from Wall Street comes to mind when thinking about a CEO, but in most sectors someone more approachable and reasonable is needed.

You will be driving the company culture, so you have to be beyond reproach. A CEO leads by example, so you need to live by the standards you expect in others.

You have to be passionate about the company and the market it sits in. A CEO needs the vision to react and initiate market trends, so you need to live, breathe and dream your business.

Organisation and time management is essential. Sure, there will be staff whose job is to make your life easier, but you have to be aware of what is going on across the entire business. Even a quick catch-up with a department head soon adds up once it’s multiplied by all department heads.

A CEO is the ultimate leader. You have to inspire an entire workforce as well as inspire confidence among the board of directors and possibly shareholders.

And finally there is ambition. You need an extremely high level of ambition to constantly hit and generate new goals. If you start to falter, the whole company will quickly follow suit.

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