What Does a Chief Operating Officer Do?

Learn About the Salary, Required Skills, & More


A Chief Operating Officer (COO) is a member of an enterprise's govt team. They deal with the day-to-day administration and operation of a commercial enterprise. With the proper education, revel in, and competencies, an individual can fill this function in quite a few companies, inclusive of a for-profit commercial enterprise, non-income employer, government entity, or school. The COO usually has typical supervisory duty for all of the entity's operations.

A COO may additionally instead be known as Vice President of Operations. As 2nd in command to the CEO, the COO function is tasked with supplying leadership, management, and imaginative and prescient to make sure that the commercial enterprise has powerful humans, operational controls, and administrative and reporting techniques in region. The COO ought to assist efficiently develop the employer and make sure its financial energy and running efficiency.

Chief Operating Officer Duties & Responsibilities

The roles and obligations of the COO range, relying no longer best at the organisation for which they paintings but additionally on how that organization defines the placement. There is not one agreed-upon list of what the process includes, and the position may additionally have exclusive titles relying at the agency.

A COO may be hired to accomplish some or all of the following tasks or objectives:

  • Execute techniques developed by way of the pinnacle management group
  • Lead a particular strategic vital
  • Show the ropes to an inexperienced CEO
  • Complement a CEO’s enjoy or management fashion
  • Provide a accomplice to a CEO who does not work well on my own
  • Groom the organisation’s subsequent CEO or check the character to make certain she or he is right for the process
  • Promote a person they don’t need to lose

Often, companies flip duty for all regions of business operations over to the COO, and this generally includes manufacturing, advertising and sales, and research and improvement. In a few firms, the COO process is to be internally targeted, whilst the CEO is externally focused. In other corporations, the COO's project is centered on a particular commercial enterprise need.

Chief Operating Officer Salary

A chief running officer's revenue varies based at the location of knowledge, degree of revel in, schooling, certifications, and other factors.

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2018

In the USA, approximately 309,000 humans work as leader executives, consisting of COOS, CEOs, and CFOs. They earn a median annual income of $183,270, reports the Bureau of Labor Statistics, but man or woman earnings can range substantially primarily based on the dimensions of the employer and the enterprise, as well as the character’s responsibilities.

Education, Training & Certification

To be taken into consideration for a COO position, one needs a combination of training and sizeable experience.

  • Education: The minimal academic requirement is a bachelor’s degree in business or a related concern, but many businesses prefer to rent someone with an MBA.
  • Experience: A COO commonly wishes to have tremendous experience within the industry or subject wherein the company operates. The character has frequently labored their manner up via the business enterprise ranks for at the least 15 years, with as a minimum 5 of these years spent in a senior control position.

Chief Operating Officer Skills & Competencies

In addition to the educational and revel in requirements, corporations look for COO candidates who additionally have the subsequent gentle abilities:

  • Leadership: A COO must have excellent leadership abilties, commercial enterprise acumen and capacity to effectively manipulate, lead and supervise a multidisciplinary group
  • Strategy: They ought to excel at strategic thinking, be open to new perspectives and better methods to do matters; and be creative, a visionary, and manage innovation properly
  • Completion-orientated: A COO have to be effects-pushed
  • Understands finance: The COO should have a song document of a success financial control
  • Decision-making talents: A a hit COO must have advanced selection-making capabilities
  • Delegation: Must have the potential to delegate effectively
  • Communication: The COO have to possess govt-degree conversation and influencing capabilities with the potential to solve issues, construct consensus amongst companies of diverse internal/external stakeholders, and have demonstrated skill in negotiating and mediating battle

Job Outlook

The BLS predicts there may be approximately an 8% decline in executive jobs between 2016 and 2026. This consists of COO, CFO, and CEO positions. This undesirable job outlook can be attributed to the truth that fewer new firms are predicted to be created at some stage in this era and the stepped forward office era that makes it less complicated for CEOs to manipulate commercial enterprise operations without the want for as many govt positions. This boom rate compares to the projected 7% boom for all occupations.

Work Environment

COOs and different chief executives work in every form of business, from small to big, with few personnel or heaps of employees. Their work regularly entails a excessive diploma of stress due to the fact they undergo the responsibility of making the enterprise a success.

They risk dropping their jobs in a poorly performing enterprise. Chief executives regularly journey to conferences, meetings, and exclusive commercial enterprise units of their business enterprise. They also interact regularly with many different excessive-degree executives.

Work Schedule

Chief executives frequently need to paintings many hours, which includes weekends and late weeknights. According to the BLS, in 2016 about half of of leader executives spent extra than 40 hours in step with week operating.

How to Get the Job


A chief working officer process calls for many years of enjoy in numerous sides of a company's operations. Look for jobs in organizations that allow you to flow around and advantage enjoy in one of a kind departments, or agencies which have a management-schooling tune that helps you advantage extra publicity to all the agency's numerous operations.


If you believe you have the paintings revel in and academic heritage for the position, read COO job descriptions and highlight applicable paintings enjoy that may qualify you. Gearing your resume on this way also can monitor different regions in which you can need to develop your revel in before making use of for COO jobs.


Look at job-seek sources like Indeed.com, Monster.com, and Glassdoor.com for to be had positions. You can also have higher prospects by using gaining COO revel in at smaller businesses before applying to large, greater installed organizations.

Comparing Similar Jobs

People interested in a main operating officer role additionally keep in mind the following profession paths, listed with their median annual salaries:

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2018