The secret to winning is constant and consistent management.- Tom Landry

If you are interested in pursuing a career in management, then there is much to consider.  That being said, trust your instincts.  If you feel like you have a talent for managing and leadership then you may be ready to make that leap.  

While management positions are slowly on the rise, they are not the most rapidly growing profession in the nation.  According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, management occupations are growing at a rate of 7%. However, the median wage of all management occupations was listed in 2019 as $105,660. This is the highest wage of all of the major occupational groups.    Many of the highest paid professionals are in the C-Suite and C-Suite executives typically work extremely long hours.  

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If you are interested in management then you are likely a natural leader who enjoys taking the reins in a business. The business climate is changing and employees are looking to work for a leader who can change with it.  Maybe you know that about contemporary business practices and you believe that your leadership qualities are going to make a difference in your future employee’s lives as well as the lives of the customers. If you are passionate about building a solid business that harmonizes with employee needs as well as consumer needs, then it may be time to pursue a career in management. 
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Finding the right career is much more than just a “nice perk.”  For most, finding the right career is the difference between feeling “meh” about life and living a life that brings them a sense of purpose.Connecting what you do to purpose and meaning has a significant impact on well being in the long term.  Never lose sight of that when pursuing a career in management. 

Fortunately, management is changing for the better and the requirements for great leadership in local organizations and corporations is changing along with it.  

49 e1593138952447The old trope of a stingy manager who has not time for their employees is gone.  Sure, there are some managers who manage with that style but evidence indicates that getting the best out of employees means inspiring and empowering them.  In many respects the manager is just as much a part of the team as the other members of the staff. Are you prepared to empower your team rather than overpower your team? Do you see management as a tool that helps a company grow rather than the entire backbone of a company?  Then chances are you are you are on the right path for you. 

There are several management occupation positions in the C-Suite and outside of the c-suite that pay exceptionally well.  Many of them have a slightly different emphasis meaning that there’s something for most every business background.  

In this guide, we’ll look at the various lucrative careers in management, how people initiate a career in the field, degrees in the field (including different MBA specializations), and explore applicable content we’ve already created. Before we dive in, let’s take some time to explore your background and current career goals. 

Keep these questions and considerations in mind as you explore this resource:

Whether you are in the middle of a career or just thinking about college,  take some time to consider what you have already accomplished in your life.  It could be something meaningful that you did in high school, during your undergraduate college years or right now in a different career.  Which of these activities and highlights were the most meaningful?  Explore what it was about those moments that were meaningful. Were you making a lot of money and feeling a bit of financial freedom? Were you doing something that you felt passionate about or working with a team of individuals that you thought were particularly inspiring? 

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How many more years can you devote to a formal education?  Do you need to study part-time or full-time and do you have both the time and financial resources to finish what you have started?

Maybe you already have some formal or informal training related to management! Perhaps you were the president of your sorority at college and you have a number of years experience organizing events and fundraisers for your house.  Perhaps you spent the majority of your highschool years as the captain of your soccer team and have experience with leadership. How inspired were you by these related activities? Did it make you excited to do more or do you think you need some more time to consider the best ways they may be a good fit? 

Management is really too narrow of a term as there are many different types of management positions some which focus exclusively on hiring, training and overseeing staff while others (most) require much more as well as an interdisciplinary approach. It is very common for a manager to have a solid background in technology as well as a background in finance. 

Do you have other related areas in your background? Do you have a specific focus in mind (for example non profit, finance, international business)? It’s good to have a focus when pursuing an advanced degree or a new career as this helps to minimize wasted time and maximize time spent pursuing a career that is a good fit for you. 

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Do you need to go back to school or is there another path towards this career that would work better for you? Not every company is looking for someone with an MBA.  Some are looking for years of experience in another field and actually looking for someone who can be different from what a traditional MBA background brings to the table.  Teachers for example, make excellent managers and often have what it takes to lead a company towards success because of their work ethic alone. 

If you want to pursue an MBA it will take between 1 and 4 years to complete.  The timeframe depends on you.  Many people choose to pursue an MBA part-time which means closer to 3 or 4 years to complete. Do you have the time to commit to an MBA? Do you need to complete any prerequisite material before initiating an MBA? Prerequisite material may tack on up to an additional year of education. 

Do you have the necessary people skills to run a business or do you require some further work experiences to acquire those. Remember soft skills such as interpersonal skills, planning, and patience can all be learned on-the-job.  Becoming an effective leader is something that you practice and requires time and experience.  

As you can see soft skills are vital for managers which is why we will devote some attention examining which soft skills are essential for the profession. 

OK, let’s move on to some of the most lucrative management careers and the degrees that get you there:

Many of the top-paying jobs are in the C-Suite.  The C-Suite is all of the “Chief” positions required to make a company function and they include positions such as Chief Executive Officer.  Let’s first take a look at C-Suite positions.

What are the Highest Paying Jobs in Management?

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In this next section we’ll take a look at some of the highest paying jobs in business. C-Suite professionals are the highest-paid because these professionals are in charge of running the company.  A CEO is only necessary for the biggest corporations and so landing a job in the C-Suite is competitive. These competitive positions require lengthy hours in the office as well as tremendous leadership qualities. Let’s take a look at the top paying jobs in the nation: 

Chief Executive Officer (CEO) 

According to Salary.com the median salary for a CEO is $815,636. This is by no means the starting salary for a CEO and it is important to note that many CEOs make less and some do make even more.  As we mentioned earlier this is the highest-paying group of jobs in the nation. This is also the highest ranking position in a company and as such comes with a number of responsibilities.  The CEO has to manage the overall operations of the company and is beholden to the company’s board, other executives and the customers. In many cases the CEO is actually an appointed position and typically companies appoint a CEO from within.  This person manages the overall operations related to a company’s growth, the company’s culture and more. In a start-up a CEO is likely very hands-on, oftentimes running meetings, mentoring staff, participating in the running of the company, overseeing the marketing, PR and so much more.  “Sleep who needs it?” Is often the mantra touted by several CEOs.   

Soft Skills

  • Leadership
  • Hard Working
  • Mentorship
  • Delegator 

Chief Financial Officer (CFO)

The CFO is the individual responsible for managing a company’s financial decisions. Salary.com lists the CFO’s median salary as $381,634.  The CFO is in charge of cash flow as well as the overall financial plan for the company. To achieve this, the CFO needs to engage with some analytical tools to determine a company’s strengths and weaknesses.  The CFO reports directly to the CEO of a company but in many ways is independent as this CFO will have a lot to say with regards to a company’s investments as well as the structure of the company.  Ultimately this is the person responsible for managing a company’s expenses and has a significant role in the success of a company.  Many people who look to become a chief financial officer are also accountants with a number of years of experience.  This is a great way to segue into a C-Suite position and often those seeking to gain employment as a CFO will also work towards a CMA certification which stands for “Certified Manager Accountant.” 

Soft Skills

  • Communication
  • Team Work
  • Leadership
  • Problem Solving 

Chief Operating Officer (COO) 

Larger companies with a more tailored structure take on a COO also known as a director of operations.  In many cases the CEO takes on these responsibilities.  The COO does a little bit of financial analysis but will often be the person who employs the financial strategies.  Like with others in the C-Suite, the COO does report to a CEO.  In addition to these financial roles, the director of operation ensures that the company is headed in the right direction and will often spearhead campaigns and strategies that move a company into the right position. Additionally, as the COO is also the director of operations in charge of nearly every facet of a business, the COO often delegates tasks to others.  Some of these tasks may be implementing new technology in a company, creating solutions to prevent theft or cyber security attacks, delegating marketing initiatives and more.  Many directors of operation act as mentors to other employees and may conduct performance reviews.  The median salary for a chief operating officer is $438,742. 

Soft Skills 

  • Oral and Written Communication
  • Can Delegate 
  • Leadership 

Chief Marketing Officer (CMO)

According to Salary.com, the chief marketing officer makes a median salary of $241,530. There are many requirements of a CMO but the primary focus is of course marketing.  In a lead position it is not uncommon to have to take on a wide array of marketing-related job duties. The CMO will likely need to determine pricing of products and services, research the market for the best strategies on how to market, oversee advertising for a company, design a plan for a company’s social media page, delegate responsibilities to the public relations department, create and oversee content marketing for the webpage and for all affiliate pages.  Many of these responsibilities will then be delegated out to teams and then it becomes the CMO’s job to oversee individuals on those teams.  

Soft Skills

  • Oral and Written Communication 
  • Organization
  • Leadership
  • Team Player

What are the Highest Paying Jobs in Management Outside of the C-Suite?

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Computer and Information Systems Manager 

Contemporary business would be lost without a computer and information systems manager. The CIS manager plans and directs the company’s computer system needs.  The median salay for a CIS manager is $146, 360 per year with an 11% increase projected between 2018 and 2028. Initially a computer information and systems manager will analyze the needs of an organization and recommend upgrades to computer systems.  The individual will then oversee all system installations. The computer information systems manager is always on the hunt for the latest and most cost-efficient use of technology. In addition to having exceptional technical skills, the CIS manager will need to be great with people as a lot of the job involves negotiating with IT vendors and communicating IT to individuals in the company who may not have a technical background.  

Soft Skills

  • Leadership
  • Oral and Written Communication
  • Teaching

Architectural and Engineering Manager 

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, architectural and engineering managers make a median salary of $144,830. The projected job growth for architectural engineers is 3% between 2018 and 2028. The architectural and engineering manager coordinates these types of activities for an architectural or engineering firm.  The manager is typically an engineer or former architect themselves who creates the plans for a new product or building. The AE manager will then organize the proper staffing, training and equipment to get the job done. This is another interdisciplinary managerial position and is a great one for anyone in the field of architecture or engineering who is looking to advance in their career.  From there the AE manager oversees the project checking for quality control and coordinates with other staff and managers in a company.  This is a very unique position as it requires an engineer with some people skills as well. 

Soft Skills 

  • Interpersonal Skills
  • Oral and Written Communication
  • Leadership
  • Attention to Details 

Advertising, Promotions, and Marketing Managers 

The advertising promotions and marketing manager is similar to the chief marketing officer but just one rung below. This individual is in charge of all marketing materials including advertising and other promotions that create interest in a company’s products. The AMP works with others in the C-Suite to determine the budget and create the marketing plan. Then the marketer creates all of the promotional materials or activities that generate interest among potential buyers.  In addition to creating a buzz around a product or service through a range of avenues, the marketing manager works closely with the public relations teams, sales staff and product development staff.  This person requires a wide range of soft skills for success. Take a look:  

Soft Skills

  • Oral and Written Communication
  • Detail Oriented
  • Interpersonal Skills 
  • Leadership
  • Visionary
  • Hard Working 

Other Management positions that are high-paying: 

  • Sales Manager
  • Financial Manager
  • Human Resources Manager 
  • Compensation and Benefits Manager 

What Degrees Lead To Lucrative Careers in Management?

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As you can see there are a number of opportunities for you to make a very good salary in the field of management.  The degree, courses, and skills you learn in school make a significant difference. Here are some of your options:

MBA

If you want to land that job in the C-Suite or get your foot in the door with any major Fortune 500 company, then a Masters in Business Administration (MBA) is a great option. An MBA is a broad program that shows you the ropes of how to run a business.  You’ll learn about effective management, business analytics, economics, marketing, and more.  If you happen to get into an MBA in a top business school in the US you’ll also have the benefit of what is known as “the network.” All of the top schools have one of these which just means you’ll have access to an entire community of professionals across the nation who are some of the best in the profession.  Having this level of mentorship and direction is priceless. 

Finance

Finance is an interesting topic.  In many ways having keen financial sense is really all you need to develop into a fantastic manager.  Managers manage assets be they people or money and having the ability to control those assets is the key to a healthy and thriving business.  Accounting is an essential component to any business be that a small business or a Fortune 500 company.  In a finance degree you will learn about budgeting, financial planning as well as the legal aspects of a business’s finances. You’ll learn about the most efficient ways to run a business. 

Marketing 

In addition to finance marketing is essential to a company as marketing is what drives a company’s growth. Marketing is a versatile skill set that includes some media as well as social media. The marketer is responsible for creating content that draws interest.  A marketing degree covers business finances, business ethics and law, campaign management, and statistics.  Marketing is an in-demand high-paying job that is literally everywhere. 

Here’s a resource list from DegreeQuery to help set you up for success in a marketing career. 

How Can We Help You Find a Management Degree?

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Here at Degree Query, we’ve created a variety of content to help you research and determine your career path.  We’ve answered common questions, provided in-depth guides about careers, ranked degrees on many metrics, ranked occupations, and much more. Here’s some of the work we’ve done that applies to working and studying in management and adjacent fields:

Management Degree Rankings

Management Guides

Common Questions About Management

This is just part of the work we’ve created that discusses management and related fields. We invite you to explore our homepage and search functions to further explore relevant content. 

Facts Facts About Lucrative Management Careers

Before we go, let’s take a look at some employment numbers from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics on management occupations:

Sales Manager: In 2019 the median pay for these roles was $126,640 annually or $60.89 per hour.

There were 405,700 of these roles in 2018. This was expected to grow by 5% between 2018-28, creating 20,600 new jobs in the field.

The typical entry-level education was a Bachelor’s Degree. Higher pay correlated to location and years of experience. 

Financial Manager: In 2019 the median annual pay for these positions was $129,890 or $62.45 per hour.

There were 653,600 of these jobs in 2018. This was expected to jump by 16% between 2018-28, creating 104,700 openings.

The typical entry-level education was a bachelor’s degree.

 Human Resources Manager: In 2019 the median pay for these workers was $116,720 annually, or $56.11 per hour.

There were 152,100 of these jobs in 2018. This was predicted to climb by 7% between 2018-28, creating 10,800 new roles in the field.

Compensation and Benefits Manager: In 2019 the median annual pay for these positions was $122,270, or $58.78 per hour.

There were 16,400 of these jobs in 2018. This was expected to grow by 3% between 2018-28, with 500 new roles created. Entry-level education required is a bachelor’s degree.

As you can see, management careers are the highest paying in the industry and many only require a bachelor’s degree for entry. These careers are not as in high demand as some others but they are all on par with the national average.   

We hope you’ve found what you were looking for in this guide or in the others recommended here. This is an excellent career option for any individual who is motivated to succeed. 

All the best with your future career in management!