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Jobs Outlook: Top Executives




Keen competition is expected for top executive positions because the prestige and high pay attract a large number of qualified applicants. Because this is a large occupation, numerous openings will occur each year as executives transfer to other positions, start their own businesses, or retire. However, many executives who leave their jobs transfer to other executive positions, a pattern that tends to limit the number of job openings for new entrants.

Experienced managers whose accomplishments reflect strong leadership qualities and the ability to improve the efficiency or competitive position of an organization will have the best opportunities. In an increasingly global economy, experience in international economics, marketing, information systems, and knowledge of several languages also may be beneficial.

Employment of top executives—including chief executives and general and operations managers—is expected to grow about as fast as average for all occupations through 2014. Because top managers are essential to the success of any organization, their jobs are unlikely to be automated or to be eliminated through corporate restructuring—trends that are expected to adversely affect employment of lower-level managers. Projected employment growth of top executives over the 2004-14 period varies by industry. For example, employment growth is expected to be much faster than average in professional, scientific, and technical services and in administrative and support services. However, employment is projected to decline in some manufacturing industries.