General Manager Salary

Salary Overview

General managers have the opportunity to advance to top executive positions. Therefore, they have the potential to be among the highest paid employees in the United States. Salaries range based upon the company, responsibility and experience of the manager. The median annual wages of a general manager is $91,570. The middle 50% of general managers earned between $62,900 and $137,020 in 2008. Individuals in computer related industries, such as systems design may earn as much as $133,140 annually. Technical consulting general managers or other science related industries may earn as much as $130,390. Individuals who manage companies and enterprises may earn as much as $113,690. Building equipment contractors and local government executives earn the least with $91,370 and $82,150, respectively.*

*According to the BLS,

Some chief executives can earn as much as $1 million annually, depending upon the industry, the level of responsibility and the company. Most of their compensations also include stock options, performance bonuses, expense allowances, access to company owned aircrafts, access to company owned cars, and other benefits.

Job Description and Outlook

General managers and top executives are charged with determining strategies for the organization. These individuals often collaborate with other managers within the corporation to establish goals and develop strategies for the organization. They should also learn to develop policies to disseminate to employees. Policies ensure that the goals of the organization will be met. General managers may also be known as chief executive officers, president, vice president, chief operating officer and others, depending upon the size of the organization. General managers may work in numerous locations, such as corporations, nonprofit institutions, and other public sector organizations. In some organizations, general managers may be in contact with the board of directors. They will become involved in selecting the board members, promoting economic development in communities, and encouraging business investments. The general manager or chief executive officer will report to the board of directors who are responsible for the success or failure of the company.

General managers are often responsible for the hiring, training, purchasing, quality control and managing daily operations. Human resources and material use planning are also a part of the responsibility. Budgets, investment funds, capital fundraising strategies, and mergers and acquisitions are all typically managed by a general manager.

Many general managers work long hours, as well as, evenings and weekends. However, their schedules are flexible. These individuals often receive large corner offices and may travel extensively depending upon the company. Travel is necessary to coordinate various sectors and job transfers are common for promotions. General manager positions may become stressful as these individuals are responsible for making certain that the company earns higher more profits and provides optimal service.

Experts do not anticipate that there will be any significant change in the executives that are hired. For the positions available, there will be significant competition. Jobs are expected to change in the health services industry, however. Top executive retention is typically higher than lower level management and their subordinates. Openings occur when executives get promotions, retire, or start their own businesses. Many general managers must learn multiple languages and international business practices to perform their job adequately.*

*According to the BLS,

Most general managers must be analytical, have sound business judgment, possess good leadership skills, and be decisive about their decisions. They must be able to see the relationship between disparate pieces of data and determine relationships.

Training and Education Requirements

Executives will typically obtain a bachelor’s or master’s degree in several different disciplines. Business administration and liberal arts are common degrees that general managers obtain before obtaining a position as a general manager. Individuals working in education may require a doctoral degree as opposed to a master’s or bachelor’s degree.

The best way for promotion is to have the educational credentials and possess the experience. Lower level managers are often promoted to higher level executive businesses when the need arises.


Individuals seeking a certification may receive credentials from the Institute of Certified Professional Managers. After completing the training and passing the exam, the employee will receive the Certified Manager (CM) certificate. This certification can be obtained by general managers in any stage of their career. From entry level manager to senior executives, this certification signifies that they are capable of performing on an executive management level. The designation proves that the manager possesses the skills listed on their resume. The certification may be good for obtaining new positions. However, the certification is not necessary for promotion in the world.

Professional Associations

Individuals involved in professional organizations may increase their network of contacts and peers. These individuals may find individuals who can advance them in their career or find them a better position. Professional networks can also improve the individuals understanding of current business practices. Many general managers join professional organizations based upon their industry of employment. For instance, a general manager in engineering may join the Institute of Electronics and Electrical Engineering (IEEE) Engineering Society, the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE), or the Institution of Chemical Engineers (IChemE). Alternatively, the Society for Advancement Management (SAM) is another professional association that individuals can join.

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