Chat with us, powered by LiveChat

2024 Executive Salary Guide

Table of Contents

In the search for top executives, offering a competitive compensation package can set your offer apart and help you fill critical roles more quickly. At the same time, staying up-to-date on the latest compensation and talent acquisition trends isn't always easy—especially when you consider that these figures can change drastically from just one quarter to the next.

Fortunately, we've put together a useful guide with the latest salary guidelines for executive roles by state, industry, and job title. By referring to this salary report, you can put together a competitive salary and benefits package as part of your next executive search process.

How Much Does a Corporate Executive Make?

According to GlassDoor, the average salary for a Corporate Executive in the United States is $213,042 per year.

Of course, this is just a salary estimation based on current compensation data. The actual salary for a corporate executive can vary wildly, with a likely range of anywhere from $187,000 to $333,000 per year. Many factors can affect a candidate's salary, including:

  • Competencies - Corporate executives with special skills and competencies beyond what is considered "typical" for the job description may have higher earnings potential.
  • Qualifications/certifications - Corporate executive candidates with additional qualifications or certifications may earn higher salaries than those without these designations. Many corporate executives, for example, pursue formal certifications as Project Management Professionals (PMPs) or even graduate certificates in management-related fields to gain relevant skills and increase earning potential.
  • Amount of experience - A corporate executive may be offered a higher base salary if they have many years of experience working in the field/industry or if they have a lot of experience in management/leadership. In some cases, formal education in the form of a bachelor's degree or advanced degree may also be considered valuable experience that could qualify a candidate for higher earnings.
  • Job location - Compensation may also be affected by the location of the job, especially since the cost of living can vary drastically from one major city to the next. Corporate executive salaries in cities with high costs of living (such as San Diego or Los Angeles) will tend to be higher than salaries in areas with a lower cost of living.
  • Company organizational structure - The organizational structure of the company can also affect corporate executive salary, with salaries typically ranging higher in the for-profit sector than the nonprofit sector.
  • Additional earnings/benefits - Many companies offer opportunities for additional earnings as part of their compensation packages. In addition to base pay, for example, executives may be offered annual bonuses based on company performance, profit sharing, and even short- or long-term incentive pay. Other benefits (such as executive wellness programs and even use of company cars) may also be included in a corporate executive compensation package and may not be reflected in general salary data.

As you can see, there's a lot that goes into calculating a competitive salary/compensation package for a corporate executive role. Along with the figures already covered, the following compensation data with specific averages by state and job title can provide some additional guidance as you move forward.

Average Total Executive Compensation Package Value

Nationwide, the average total cash compensation for a corporate executive in the United States is $249,000 per year (GlassDoor).

An executive compensation package includes much more than just base pay. Instead, total executive pay includes other types of compensation and incentives that may be offered during the executive salary negotiation process.

For a job that requires a candidate to relocate to another city or state, for example, a compensation package may include additional funds for travel and moving expenses. Meanwhile, if the job requires relocation and the cost of living is higher in the candidate's new city, then a cost of living adjustment will often be added to the initial offer to offset higher everyday expenses.

Many businesses also offer other types of compensation that go beyond base pay for corporate executives, including stock options, equity in the company, and even performance-based bonuses. Additional benefits in the form of premium healthcare benefits, memberships to exclusive clubs, special retirement benefits, or other perks may also be included with a corporate executive compensation package as a means of sweetening the proverbial deal.

With so many factors influencing executive compensation packages, it's important for your human resources team and hiring managers to stay on top of the latest executive compensation trends. 

Average Chief Executive Compensation by State & Territory

Below, you'll find chief executive compensation averages for CEOs in every state and territory in America as reported by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (unless otherwise stated). Along with average salary data, a ranking number has been issued with #1 being the highest average salary and #50 the lowest average salary. 

Average CEO Salary by State

State Avg. CEO Salary Ranking
Alabama $190,680 33
Alaska $188,460 35
Arizona $185,160 38
Arkansas $152,430 44
California $275,040 14
Colorado $245,980 18
Connecticut $275,690 13
Delaware $142,806  (ZipRecruiter) 48
District of Columbia $306,130 7
Florida $256,980 17
Georgia $222,320 25
Guam $119,810 54
Hawaii $298,640 9
Idaho $157,240 42
Illinois $268,560 15
Indiana $244,010 19
Iowa $186,320 37
Kansas $176,070 39
Kentucky $206,610 31
Louisiana $220,440 26
Maine $137,330 50
Maryland $268,140 16
Massachusetts $155,827  (ZipRecruiter) 43
Michigan $312,710 6
Minnesota $216,370 28
Mississippi $158,720 41
Missouri $190,270 34
Montana $130,961  (ZipRecruiter) 52
Nebraska $232,210 23
Nevada $226,630 24
New Hampshire $187,060 36
New Jersey $414,350  (ZipRecruiter) 1
New Mexico $138,270  (ZipRecruiter) 49
New York $324,370 3
North Carolina $322,120 4
North Dakota $150,970  (ZipRecruiter) 45
Ohio $237,100 22
Oklahoma $146,330 46
Oregon $291,720 11
Pennsylvania $143,025  (ZipRecruiter) 47
Puerto Rico $130,250 53
Rhode Island $279,920 12
South Carolina $238,230 21
South Dakota $334,240 2
Tennessee $216,700 27
Texas $314,060 5
Utah $195,920 32
Vermont $207,620 29
Virgin Islands (U.S.) $158,940 40
Virginia $292,600 10
Washington $305,760 8
West Virginia $207,110 30
Wisconsin $240,980 20
Wyoming $137,150  (ZipRecruiter) 51

With even a quick glance at this table, you'll likely notice that some states (such as Hawaii, California, and New York) have a higher average base salary than others. Typically, corporate executives in these states earn more due to the higher cost of living in these locations. On the other hand, states where the cost of living is comparably low (such as Kansas and Oklahoma) may reflect lower salaries for corporate executives.

Average Salary Ranges by Job Title

The specific job title and position can also affect the average salary for a corporate executive, with common jobs in this realm ranging from senior management to chief executive officer (CEO). In the table below, you'll find average salary data for common executive and C-suite job titles, along with their respective rankings (where #1 is the highest salary in the list) according to metrics from

Average Salary by Top-Earning Job Title

Job Title Avg. Salary Ranking
Chief Executive Officer (CEO) $163,843 1
Chief Operating Officer (COO) $147,581 2
Chief Financial Officer (CFO) $147,415 3
Vice President (VP), Operations $139,630 4
Senior Manager $123,525 5
Senior Account Executive $73,721 6

As you begin drafting your executive compensation package, take into consideration the specific job title for which you're hiring—and remember, too, that salaries for these positions can vary based on many factors. For example, while a Vice President of Operations may make an average annual salary of $139,630, the average salary for a VP of Sales is higher at $151,906.

Average Executive Salary by Industry

In addition to executive salaries varying based on job title and location, compensation can also differ from one industry to the next. Below, you'll find a table with average executive salaries by industry, along with rankings for each.

Average Executive Salary by Industry

Industry Avg. Executive Salary Ranking
Financial Services $98,757 1
Healthcare $93,552 2
Technology $93,552 2
Retail/Sales $82,500 3
Real Estate $52,870 4

Keep in mind that salary trends shift quarterly, and this is the most up-to-date industry information as of January 2024. If you're looking to recruit for executive jobs, staying on top of the latest executive compensation trends as they shift and evolve is a must.

The Bottom Line on Corporate Executive Salaries

This salary guide can help you get the ball rolling on pricing out your next executive compensation package. Ultimately, the most important thing to keep in mind is that a competitive compensation package should include not just a great base salary, but additional benefits, incentives, and initiatives to pique your ideal candidate's interest. Likewise, be sure to consider other factors (such as the cost of living in your area and potential relocation costs) as you prepare a job offer.

Remember, too, that recruiting for executive roles often comes with a fair amount of negotiation. With this in mind, you and your team should be prepared to go back and forth with your candidate before a deal is reached. Keeping an open mind and knowing how to approach the negotiation process tactfully will increase your chances of an accepted offer.

Drafting a compelling salary/benefits package for a corporate executive position can be challenging, but your team doesn't have to go through this process alone. At TDS Global Services, our executive recruitment team has been helping companies just like yours with everything from building compensation packages to handling salary negotiations—and just about everything in between. With our decades of knowledge and experience in the complex world of executive recruiting, we know the industry inside and out. Plus, we're always up-to-date on the latest corporate executive compensation trends so we can take the guesswork out of the entire process.

Interested in learning more about our executive recruitment and salary negotiation services? Get in touch with our friendly team with no obligation today. We'd love to get to know your business and its unique needs. You can also schedule a 15-minute Zoom consultation, where we can answer any additional questions you may have and provide more information on what our team can do for your business.

Featured Articles

Get in touch with us

Schedule an intro call