Overall employment of top executives is projected to grow 8 percent from 2020 to 2030, about as fast as the average for all occupations. About 247,100 openings for top executives are projected each year, on average, over the decade. Many of those openings are expected to result from the need to replace workers who transfer to different occupations or exit the labor force, such as to retire.
Employment of general and operations managers is projected to grow 9 percent from 2020 to 2030, about as fast as the average for all occupations. Organizations will continue to rely on these workers to help them operate successfully.
Employment of chief executives is projected to decline 6 percent from 2020 to 2030. Improving office technology and changing organizational structures have increased the ability of these workers to perform tasks previously done by multiple chief executives. In addition, economic activity and employment have become increasingly concentrated in large, established companies, which may lead to fewer new jobs for these workers.
Top executives typically need a bachelor's or master's degree in an area related to their field of work, such as business or engineering. Top executives in the public sector may have a degree in business administration, public administration, law, or the liberal arts. Top executives of large corporations may 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. Although many mayors, governors, and other public sector executives have at least a bachelor’s degree, these positions typically do not have any specific education requirements.
Many top executives have a bachelor's or master’s degree in business administration, liberal arts, or a more specialized discipline. The specific type and level of education required often depends on the type of organization for which top executives work. College presidents and school superintendents, for example, typically have a doctoral degree in the field in which they originally taught or in education administration.
Some of this positions in the public sector have a degree in public administration or liberal arts. Others might have a more specific educational background related to their jobs.
Many the positions are filled from within the organization by promoting experienced lower level managers when an opening arises. In industries such as retail trade or transportation, for example, individuals without a college degree may work their way up within the company and become executives or general managers. When hiring this position from outside the organization, those doing the hiring often prefer managers with extensive managerial experience.