Chief Executives

The Future of Chief Executives: Projected Outlook and Trends

CEO growth and decline concept. Chart with a red arrow in decline and a green arrow with growth.

Are you curious about the future prospects of chief executives? How will the job landscape change for these top-level decision-makers? In this article, we’ll explore the projected job outlook for chief executives, along with key trends and factors influencing their employment. Whether you’re considering a career in executive leadership or simply interested in industry trends, this information will provide valuable insights into the future of chief executives.

Projected Employment Growth for Chief Executives

When it comes to the future of chief executives, employment projections indicate a decline in opportunities. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Employment Projections program, the employment of chief executives is projected to decrease by 7 percent from 2021 to 2031. This decline is in contrast to the overall growth in employment across all occupations, which is projected to be 5 percent during the same period.

Let’s take a closer look at the employment change percentages for various management occupations:

  • Management Occupations: 8%
  • General and Operations Managers: 7%
  • Top Executives: 6%
  • Total, All Occupations: 5%
  • Chief Executives: -7%

Factors Influencing Chief Executive Employment

The projected decline in chief executive employment can be attributed to several factors. One significant factor is the advancement of technology, which has led to increased efficiency and streamlined operations. As technology improves, chief executives are now able to perform tasks that were previously carried out by multiple individuals.

This efficiency has resulted in a decreased demand for additional chief executive positions, thereby contributing to the decline in employment opportunities for this occupation.

Furthermore, changing organizational structures have also had an impact on the number of new jobs available for chief executives. Many companies have shifted towards leaner structures with fewer layers of management, which translates to a reduced need for multiple chief executive positions. As a result, fewer new opportunities are expected to arise in the future.

Employment Projections and Industry Breakdown

Let’s dive into the projected employment figures for top executives, including chief executives and general and operations managers.

Top Executives:

  • Employment, 2021: 3,402,300
  • Projected Employment, 2031: 3,591,500
  • Change, 2021-31: 6%
  • Numeric Change: 189,200

Chief Executives (SOC Code 11-1011):

  • Employment, 2021: 283,900
  • Projected Employment, 2031: 263,300
  • Change, 2021-31: -7%
  • Numeric Change: -20,600

General and Operations Managers (SOC Code 11-1021):

  • Employment, 2021: 3,118,400
  • Projected Employment, 2031: 3,328,200
  • Change, 2021-31: 7%
  • Numeric Change: 209,800

These figures reflect the anticipated employment trends for each occupation over the projected period.

Key Takeaways

Here are the key takeaways regarding the projected job outlook for chief executives:

Declining Employment: Chief executive positions are expected to decline by 7 percent from 2021 to 2031, as technology advancements and changing organizational structures impact the demand for these roles.

Efficiency through Technology: Technology improvements have enabled chief executives to perform tasks that were previously carried out by multiple individuals, leading to a reduced need for multiple chief executive positions.

Lean Organizational Structures: Many companies are adopting leaner organizational structures, resulting in a decreased demand for chief executive roles as companies streamline their management hierarchies.

Growth in Other Management Occupations: General and operations managers, as well as management occupations as a whole, are projected to experience growth, indicating opportunities in these areas of executive leadership.


The job outlook for chief executives presents a challenging landscape in the coming years. With a projected decline of 7 percent in employment opportunities, chief executives must adapt to the evolving demands of the industry. The advancement of office technology and the adoption of leaner organizational structures have contributed to this decline, as tasks previously performed by multiple chief executives can now be efficiently handled by technology and streamlined management hierarchies.

While the employment prospects for chief executives may be on the decline, it’s important to note that opportunities still exist in other management occupations, such as general and operations managers. As organizations increasingly rely on these professionals to ensure smooth functioning, there is a projected growth of 7 percent in this occupation.

Aspiring chief executives and those currently in executive leadership positions must remain agile and adaptable. Embracing technological advancements and honing their skills in areas where demand is growing can help them navigate this changing landscape. Additionally, cultivating strong leadership abilities, strategic thinking, and a deep understanding of the industry will be crucial for success.

Although the outlook may appear challenging, it also presents an opportunity for chief executives to redefine their roles and make a lasting impact on their organizations. By staying informed about industry trends, leveraging their expertise, and embracing innovation, chief executives can position themselves for success in this evolving landscape.

In summary, while the employment prospects for chief executives may be declining, the future of executive leadership is still full of possibilities. By adapting to change, embracing technology, and cultivating essential skills, chief executives can thrive in an ever-evolving business world.


U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics,

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