No matter the sector or industry, there is an ongoing need for talented Chief Operating Officer candidates in the United States. At any given time it is estimated that between 1,000 and 1,500 Chief Operating Officers are needed at small- and mid-size Inc. 5000 and large Fortune 500 companies.
What does a Chief Operating Officer do?
While it varies by industry, a Chief Operating Officer, sometimes referred to as the Chief Operations Officer, in its most general sense manages the day-to-day operations of an organization, instructing, mentoring or holding managers and employees accountable for performance and quality. The Chief Operating Officer, or COO, demonstrates strong management, leadership and communications skills, yet typically works behind the scenes and is not as public-facing as a company’s Chief Executive Officer or Chief Financial Officer, who often present to fellow business leaders or institutional investors. The Chief Operating Officer ensures that company benchmarks and deadlines are met and that teams are properly staffed, often working closely with human resource departments to fulfill regulatory compliance.
How do you become a Chief Operating Officer?
Since the COO is a senior-level position, promotion to Chief Operating Officer usually comes after years rising through the ranks within an organization, or through career progression in similar roles at like companies with approximately 15 years of relevant experience. COOs have intimate knowledge of sector- or industry-specific processes and/or regulatory procedures to guarantee specific outcomes. COOs may also have preexisting relationships with Board members or the CEO of the company, so a premium is placed on networking. CEOs want and need a COO they can count on to deliver specific, tangible results. If an outside COO is brought in by an executive recruiter, the recruiter will often have an industry specialty and corresponding relationships. Finally, Chief Operating Officers attain college degrees, minimum Bachelor’s degree, but likely an advanced degree and/or extra certifications.
Which industries or sectors need Chief Operating Officers?
The short answer is that all industries need high quality Chief Operating Officers in every sector: Manufacturing, Banking and Finance, Insurance, Medical and Bioscience, Technology and Information Technology, Agriculture and Mining, Logistics and Supply Chain Management, Higher Education, Hospitality, Media and Entertainment, Retail and Wholesale, the public sector/government, and more.
How much does a Chief Operating Officer earn?
Within any industry, and the availability of stock performance bonuses and profit-sharing, compensation varies among Chief Operating Officers. Compensation data collectors Salary reports that the average pay for COOs is about $477,700 annually, with the broadest range falling between $371,500 and $620,000. But of course there are plenty of other well-known examples where pay is much higher, such as when Ray Lane turned around the fortunes of software maker Oracle. In 1999, Lane earned $3.25 million in salary and bonus and 1.125 million shares of Oracle stock, which are now worth many times their initial value.
So, do you have what it takes to follow the COO, or Chief Operating Officer, road? Of course you do. Sign up for Forbes.jobs and talk with a recruiter, both are your fastest route to the COO Suite.
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