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Chief executive or managing director

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Summary of occupation

​Chief executives and managing directors provide overall leadership and direction for an organisation. They are responsible for making major decisions and managing the operations, policies and strategies of the company.

Chief executives and managing directors usually report to a board of directors or equivalent body of governance. They must establish and maintain positive relationships with various internal and external stakeholders. They delegate responsibilities and monitor the performance of staff and of the organisation.

ANZSCO description: Determines, formulates and reviews the general policy program and the overall direction of an organisation within the framework established by a board of directors or similar governing body.
Alternative names: Chief executive officer (CEO)
Job prospects: Limited
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Knowledge, skills and attributes

A chief executive or managing director needs:

  • excellent communication skills
  • complex problem solving and critical thinking skills
  • a sophisticated understanding of people management and delegating techniques
  • to trust their own judgement and have strong decision making abilities
  • knowledge of leadership principles
  • to have a high level of integrity and comprehension of ethical practice.
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Working conditions

​Chief executives and managing directors are usually based in an office and develop strategies, policies and programs for their organisation.

They spend considerable time networking and have a strong focus on managing relationships. Chief executives and managing directors may spend a lot of time in meetings with various stakeholders, and travelling to represent their organisation at official events.

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Salary details

The amount that a chief executive or managing director can earn varies greatly, depending on the organisation they work for and their level of experience.

As a chief executive or managing director develops their skills, their earning potential may increase significantly, depending on factors such as the industry in which they work, the size and profitability of the organisation and individually negotiated salary package deals.

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Tools and technologies

​Chief executives and managing directors will perform many of their tasks on a computer. A large part of their work is managing relationships, so they typically spend considerable time on the phone or using email. They may use business software, and need to be familiar with word-processing programs.

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Education and training/entrance requirements

To become a chief executive or managing director you usually need to gain extensive experience in your chosen industry, and in management.

You may improve your employment prospects if you complete a formal qualification in management or leadership. Relevant courses are widely offered at TAFE colleges and other registered training organisations throughout Western Australia.  Browse the Jobs and Skills WA and My Skills websites to find a training provider near you.

Most universities in Western Australia offer relevant courses. Contact the universities you are interested in for more information.

Related courses

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Apprenticeships and traineeships

As an apprentice or trainee, you enter into a formal training contract with an employer. You spend most of your time working and learning practical skills on the job and you spend some time undertaking structured training with a registered training provider of your choice. They will assess your skills and when you are competent in all areas, you will be awarded a nationally recognised qualification.

If you are still at school you can access an apprenticeship through your school. You generally start your school based apprenticeship by attending school three days a week, spending one day at a registered training organisation and one day at work. Talk to your school's VET Co-ordinator to start your training now through VET in Schools. If you get a full-time apprenticeship you can apply to leave school before reaching the school leaving age.

If you are no longer at school you can apply for an apprenticeship or traineeship and get paid while you learn and work.

Related apprenticeships

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Recognition of prior learning

If you think you already have some of the skills or competencies, obtained either through non-formal or informal learning, you may be able to gain credit through recognition of prior learning.

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