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Become A Business Unit Leader

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Working As A Business Unit Leader

  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • Getting Information
  • Coordinating the Work and Activities of Others
  • Guiding, Directing, and Motivating Subordinates
  • Deal with People

  • Make Decisions

  • Stressful

  • $109,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Business Unit Leader Do

Top executives devise strategies and policies to ensure that an organization meets its goals. They plan, direct, and coordinate operational activities of companies and organizations.

Duties

Top executives typically do the following:

  • Establish and carry out departmental or organizational goals, policies, and procedures
  • Direct and oversee an organization’s financial and budgetary activities
  • Manage general activities related to making products and providing services
  • Consult with other executives, staff, and board members about general operations
  • Negotiate or approve contracts and agreements
  • Appoint department heads and managers
  • Analyze financial statements, sales reports, and other performance indicators
  • Identify places to cut costs and to improve performance, policies, and programs

The responsibilities of top executives largely depend on an organization’s size. For example, an owner or manager of a small organization, such as an independent retail store, often is responsible for purchasing, hiring, training, quality control, and day-to-day supervisory duties. In large organizations, however, top executives typically focus more on formulating policies and strategic planning, while general and operations managers direct day-to-day operations.

The following are examples of types of top executives working in the private sector:

Chief executive officers (CEOs), who are also known by titles such as executive director, managing director, or president, provide overall direction for companies and organizations. CEOs manage company operations, formulate and implement policies, and ensure goals are met. They collaborate with and direct the work of other top executives and typically report to a board of directors.

Chief operating officers (COOs) oversee other executives who direct the activities of various departments, such as human resources and sales. They also carry out the organization’s guidelines on a day-to-day basis.

General and operations managers oversee operations that are too diverse and general to be classified into one area of management or administration. Responsibilities may include formulating policies, managing daily operations, and planning the use of materials and human resources. They make staff schedules, assign work, and ensure that projects are completed. In some organizations, the tasks of chief executive officers may overlap with those of general and operations managers.

The following are examples of types of top executives working in the public sector:

Mayors, along with governors, city managers, and county administrators, are chief executive officers of governments. They typically oversee budgets, programs, and the use of resources. Mayors and governors must be elected to office, whereas managers and administrators are typically appointed. 

Most educational systems, regardless of whether they are public or private school systems, also employ executive officers. The following are examples of top executives working in the elementary, secondary, and postsecondary educational school systems:

School superintendents and college or university presidents are chief executive officers of school districts and postsecondary schools. They manage issues such as student achievement, budgets and resources, general operations, and relations with government agencies and other stakeholders.

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How To Become A Business Unit Leader

Although education and training requirements vary widely by position and industry, many top executives have at least a bachelor’s degree and a considerable amount of work experience. 

Education

Many top executives have a bachelor’s or master’s degree in business administration or in an area related to their field of work. Top executives in the public sector often have a degree in business administration, public administration, law, or the liberal arts. Top executives of large corporations often have a master’s degree in business administration (MBA).

College presidents and school superintendents are typically required to have a master’s degree, although a doctorate is often preferred.

Although many mayors, governors, or other public sector executives have at least a bachelor’s degree, these positions typically do not have any specific education requirements.

Work Experience in a Related Occupation

Many top executives advance within their own firm, moving up from lower level managerial or supervisory positions. However, other companies may prefer to hire qualified candidates from outside their organization. Top executives who are promoted from lower level positions may be able to substitute experience for education to move up in the company. For example, in industries such as retail trade or transportation, workers without a college degree may work their way up to higher levels within the company to become executives or general managers.

Chief executives typically need extensive managerial experience. Executives are also expected to have experience in the organization’s area of specialty. Most general and operations managers hired from outside an organization need lower level supervisory or management experience in a related field.

Some general managers advance to higher level managerial or executive positions. Company training programs, executive development programs, and certification can often benefit managers or executives hoping to advance.

Important Qualities

Communication skills. Top executives must be able to communicate clearly and persuasively. They must effectively discuss issues and negotiate with others, direct subordinates, and explain their policies and decisions to those within and outside the organization.

Decisionmaking skills. Top executives need decisionmaking skills when setting policies and managing an organization. They must assess different options and choose the best course of action, often daily.

Leadership skills. Top executives must be able to lead an organization successfully by coordinating policies, people, and resources.

Management skills. Top executives must shape and direct the operations of an organization. For example, they must manage business plans, employees, and budgets.

Problem-solving skills. Top executives need to identify and resolve issues within an organization. They must be able to recognize shortcomings and effectively carry out solutions.

Time-management skills. Top executives do many tasks at the same time, typically under their own direction, to ensure that their work gets done and that they meet their goals.

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Business Unit Leader Career Paths

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Average Length of Employment
Plant Manager 5.8 years
Business Director 3.3 years
Business Leader 3.0 years
Top Careers Before Business Unit Leader
Manager 6.3%
Supervisor 4.3%
Top Careers After Business Unit Leader
Consultant 4.9%
Manager 4.7%
Director 3.7%

Do you work as a Business Unit Leader?

Average Yearly Salary
$109,000
View Detailed Salary Report
$72,000
Min 10%
$109,000
Median 50%
$109,000
Median 50%
$109,000
Median 50%
$109,000
Median 50%
$109,000
Median 50%
$109,000
Median 50%
$109,000
Median 50%
$166,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
Google
Highest Paying City
Mountain View, CA
Highest Paying State
Texas
Avg Experience Level
3.6 years
How much does a Business Unit Leader make at top companies?
The national average salary for a Business Unit Leader in the United States is $109,637 per year or $53 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $72,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $166,000.

Real Business Unit Leader Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Mining Engineering Business Unit Lead Kiewit Corporation Englewood, CO Apr 22, 2013 $300,000
Business Unit Leader, North America Seed Treatment E.I. Dupont de Nemours and Company, Inc. Wilmington, DE Oct 23, 2012 $165,339 -
$201,925
Business Unit Leader-Fmaudit ECI Software Solutions, Inc. D/B/A Fmaudit Fort Worth, TX Jan 15, 2016 $165,000
Business Unit Leader-Fmaudit Ecommerce Industries, Inc. Fort Worth, TX Sep 17, 2014 $165,000
Director, Global Business Unit Leader Cook Incorporated Bloomington, IN Sep 30, 2010 $140,000 -
$205,000
Business Unit Leader Ecommerce Industries, Inc. Jefferson City, MO Sep 17, 2011 $130,000 -
$140,000
Business Unit Lead Next It Corporation Spokane, WA Jan 25, 2016 $120,786
Senior SAP SCM Consultant and Business Unit Lead GOPA It Consultants Inc. San Mateo, CA Dec 30, 2015 $113,200
Business Unit Leader-Wind Cone Drive Operations, Inc. Mequon, WI Sep 21, 2010 $105,000
Principal, Business Unit Operations Ca, Inc. Islandia, NY Nov 23, 2009 $105,000
Principal, Business Unit Operations Ca, Inc. New York, NY Sep 01, 2010 $105,000
Business Unit Leader Chrysler Group LLC Toledo, OH Oct 01, 2011 $100,000 -
$110,000
Business Unit Lead Data Analyst American Bankers Insurance Company of Florida Atlanta, GA Jan 07, 2016 $86,520
Senior Accountant TAX, Business Unit Leader Marsh & McLennan Companies, Inc. Hoboken, NJ Jan 10, 2016 $76,500 -
$120,000
Senior Accountant TAX, Business Unit Leader Marsh & McLennan Co. Hoboken, NJ Aug 29, 2016 $76,500 -
$120,000
Product Supply Business Unit Leader Frito-Lay, Inc. Topeka, KS Aug 28, 2010 $70,096
Product Supply Business Unit Leader Frito-Lay, Inc. Topeka, KS Aug 28, 2009 $70,096
Business Unit Leader Michelin North America, Inc. Spartanburg, SC Jan 25, 2011 $57,000
Business Unit Leader Michelin North America, Inc. Spartanburg, SC Sep 07, 2011 $57,000

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Top Skills for A Business Unit Leader

  1. Safety Culture
  2. Process Improvement
  3. On-Time Delivery
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Led my team to creating a safety culture with zero accident and individual accountabilities.
  • Created and monitored business KPI's to identify process improvement opportunities.
  • Acted as rework reduction champion to support on-time delivery and quality performance and process engineering champion to enhance operational excellence.
  • Provided performance feedback, planning and performance recommendations to all Production Supervisors.
  • Transformed organization from sales to service by integrating the company in a newly developed customer service-centered sales model.

Rank:

Average Salary:

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Top 10 Best States for Business Unit Leaders

  1. New Jersey
  2. Connecticut
  3. Delaware
  4. New York
  5. Massachusetts
  6. Pennsylvania
  7. South Dakota
  8. District of Columbia
  9. North Carolina
  10. California
  • (344 jobs)
  • (155 jobs)
  • (41 jobs)
  • (487 jobs)
  • (365 jobs)
  • (345 jobs)
  • (18 jobs)
  • (51 jobs)
  • (257 jobs)
  • (1,196 jobs)

Business Unit Leader Demographics

Gender

Male

72.8%

Female

18.3%

Unknown

8.9%
Ethnicity

White

65.3%

Hispanic or Latino

12.5%

Black or African American

11.8%

Asian

7.6%

Unknown

2.8%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

47.4%

German

10.5%

Chinese

5.3%

Telugu

5.3%

Czech

5.3%

Japanese

5.3%

French

5.3%

Hindi

5.3%

Russian

5.3%

Tamil

5.3%
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Business Unit Leader Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

19.4%

Purdue University

9.7%

Indiana Wesleyan University

7.1%

Baker College

6.5%

Michigan State University

5.8%

University of Toledo

3.9%

University of Iowa

3.9%

Eastern Illinois University

3.9%

University of Michigan - Ann Arbor

3.9%

University of Illinois at Chicago

3.9%

University of Virginia

3.9%

Clemson University

3.9%

University of Wisconsin - Whitewater

3.2%

Illinois State University

3.2%

Auburn University

3.2%

United States Military Academy

3.2%

Central Michigan University

3.2%

Western Illinois University

3.2%

University of Alabama

2.6%

Ohio University -

2.6%
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Majors

Business

41.6%

Management

9.1%

Finance

4.8%

Mechanical Engineering

4.8%

Marketing

3.6%

Electrical Engineering

3.5%

Industrial Engineering

3.2%

Operations Management

3.2%

Accounting

3.2%

Communication

2.8%

Computer Science

2.5%

Political Science

2.5%

Human Resources Management

2.3%

Industrial Technology

2.2%

Project Management

2.0%

Engineering And Industrial Management

2.0%

Biology

1.8%

Chemical Engineering

1.8%

Supply Chain Management

1.7%

Education

1.5%
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Degrees

Bachelors

46.1%

Masters

32.0%

Other

12.5%

Associate

3.8%

Certificate

2.7%

Doctorate

2.2%

Diploma

0.8%
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Top Business Unit Leader Employers

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Business Unit Leader Videos

AXA Wo_Men@Work Award 2012 - Kathy Fortmann, Business Unit Leader Cargill Belgium

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Impactiva Manufacturing Engineering Services Business Unit Leader

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