What is the Average Global C-Suite Executive Salary?

Releasing the results of their 2012 Executive Compensation Survey, BlueSteps, the executive career management service of the Association of Executive Search Consultants (AESC), announced today that even though turnover in the C-suite is increasingly rapid, 65.4% of global executives, from a survey of 731 executives worldwide, believe long-term incentives do in fact motivate them to higher levels of performance.
Many executives point to an increasing lack of long-term incentives as a direct contributing factor to the high turnover rate in senior-level management positions. Just under one-third (31.3%) of global executives receive stock options as part of a long-term incentives package, while 40.3% of global executives receive no long-term incentives as part of their employment package.

2012 Executive Compensation Report - Are Executives Satisfied with Compensation?
Considering executive mobility in the scope of compensation, more than half of global executives surveyed (54.3%) would be willing to make a career move for a better role/increased responsibility even if it entailed a pay cut.
The survey also revealed that, while there has been much media scrutiny of skyrocketing CEO salaries at large, public companies, when looking at executive pay on a global scale, the numbers present a very different picture. Based on base salaries of 186 executives in C-suite positions at public, private, and non-profit organizations worldwide, the annual global average C-suite base salary was $278,800 USD. When factoring in bonuses, the largest percentage of global C-suite executives earn annual bonuses less than $50K USD.
While more than half of executives did experience an increase in total compensation in the last fiscal year, many executives reported concerns about salary stagnation, or even overall decreases compared to recent years. One executive reported “I am again in the market after four years, and notice that salaries have declined significantly. My perception is in a range from 20-40% for the same positions that I was looking at before.”
Commenting on the report, Peter Felix, President of the AESC said: “Executive compensation at the highest levels is frequently a topic of media and public concern. However, what is often overlooked is that many senior executives earn in a more moderate income range, and compensation in these categories has not increased significantly in recent years. In some cases the reverse is true. This report sheds greater light on trends in executive compensation around the world which we hope will be both informative and enlightening.”
A complete copy of the BlueSteps 2012 Executive Compensation Report is available to BlueSteps members, AESC members and the press. Contact Joe Chappell at jchappell@aesc.org. BlueSteps members may download the report here after logging in >>
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About the author

This article was written by Joe Chappell, Managing Director, Global Marketing at the Association of Executive Search Consultants (AESC).

About the Association of Executive Search and Leadership Consultants

Since 1959, the AESC has set the standard for quality and ethics in executive search and leadership consulting worldwide. Because AESC members must commit and adhere to the AESC's industry and government recognized Code of Ethics and Professional Practice Guidelines, clients can be assured that AESC members are able to serve as trusted advisors for their most important engagements. As the voice for executive search and leadership consulting worldwide, today the AESC is comprised of more than 350 member firms, representing 8,000 executive search professionals in 75 countries. To learn more about the AESC and its membership, visit www.aesc.org.


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I am doing some research and would like to estimate the % of C Suite executives in the average large Enterprise company. Do you have stats like this?

BlueSteps's picture

Hi Debra, unfortunately we do not collect any data around this.

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