Business Management

Chief Executive Officer

Chief executive officers direct and control the operations of companies, and formulate strategies and plans to meet business goals.

  • Entry-level education

    Bachelor’s degree

  • Job outlook

    1 2 3 4 5

What does a Chief Executive Officer do?

Chief executive officers direct and control the operations of companies, and formulate strategies and plans to meet business goals.


Work activities

As a chief executive officer, you would:

  • lead an organisation's operations, investments and activities
  • select and employ management staff, and heads of departments
  • evaluate the performance of staff
  • formulate and implement strategic plans
  • devise, implement and update company policies
  • look for areas of potential improvement, cost savings or increased productivity
  • discuss budgets, staffing, profits or issues with board members.

Key skills and interests

To become a chief executive officer, you would need:

  • excellent communications skills
  • a high level of numeracy
  • the ability to work under pressure
  • business acumen
  • an ability to plan and manage time
  • good organisational and time management skills
  • leadership skills
  • problem solving skills
  • good understanding of business and commerce.

Working hours and conditions

Working Hours

Chief executive officers work long hours, including evenings and weekends. Extensive travel is often required.


Chief executives run an entire business and are constantly on call. They work under a high level of pressure.


How to become an Chief Executive Officer?

Entry Level Education

No formal qualifications are required to become a chief executive officer. However, most chief executive officers would have at least a degree in business, management or an area relevant to the industry in which they are working, followed by a postgraduate qualification in business administration or management. To get into degree courses you usually need to gain your senior secondary school certificate or equivalent. Entry to postgraduate courses requires completion of an appropriate bachelor’s degree.

You would generally need at least five years' experience at a senior level to first move into general management, and eventually become a chief executive officer. You would continually develop your skills on the job and do in-house and external training to increase your knowledge and expertise.


Job outlook

  • 1 2 3 4 5

Employment of chief executives is projected to grow about as fast as the average for all occupations.

Employment growth will vary widely by industry and is largely dependent on the rate of industry growth.

Generally, new opportunitites will be guided by the formation of new organisations and existing ones expanding. This will require more managers and executives to head up these operations.

Chief executives are vital for successfully running companies and organisations and their work is directly linked to this success.


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