As of 2013, most senior vice presidents of major corporations earn a salary between $150,000 and $250,000 depending on the industry, organization and division within the organization that each executive leads. Senior vice presidents usually report directly to their president or chief executive officer. Many work their way up through the ranks of their organization to eventually get the job.
Almost the Top
The senior vice president position is found mostly in large organizations operating multiple brands or operating internationally. Where multiple VPs are needed, the senior VP may be their boss. Along with base salaries, many senior VPs earn bonuses, profit sharing and stock options that significantly increase their total compensations. For example, in 2012, the average salary for a senior vice president in the accounting industry was $183,014, according to a 2012 salary survey by the Institute of Management Accountants. The average total compensation for those same executives was $244,023.
The Big Money
Some senior vice presidents make extreme money. For example, Twitter’s senior VP made $10.3 million in 2012, according to initial public offering documents. However, just under $10.1 million of that was in stock options. Twitter’s senior VP’s salary was actually $145,513 plus a $100,000 bonus, putting him into the range of salaries for other senior vice presidents of major companies.
The Little Extras
Many senior VPs get cash for a number of living expenses and luxury items such as company cars or gym memberships. For example, as of 2011, in the U.S., 86 percent of large companies earning $1 billion or more employed a vice president or senior vice president of sustainability whose job is to reduce the organization's environmental impact, according to a salary survey by GreenBiz Group. In 2011, these executives were paid an average of $218,409. Many also got stock options and education reimbursements, according to the survey. Additionally, aligned with their environmentally friendly positions, some of them received subsidies for an electric or hybrid car. Some even got a free bicycle.
The Greener Grasses
What you’re vice president of, and the industry you work in, makes a difference in how much money you make. For example, salaries in 2013 for vice presidents and senior vice presidents of information technology ranged from $127,750 to $186,500, according to a salary survey by Robert Half Technology. In 2013, marketing was a particularly lucrative discipline for VPs and senior VPs who earned an average of $252,654 in total compensation, according to a survey by Quirk’s Marketing Research Media, which received input from VPs in 26 industry categories. The entertainment industry paid on the high end, with some compensation packages reaching $398,800, according to the survey. The consumer goods and health care industries were not far behind, with some VPs and senior VPs earning $328,000 and $309,533 respectively.
- GreenBiz Group: Greenbiz Salary Survey 2011
- Quirk’s Marketing Research Media: Vice President Salary: Corporate Side of Market Research
- Institute of Management Accountants: IMA 2012 Salary Survey: Leaning Into the Wind
- Securities and Exchange Commission: Form S-1: Registration Statement: Twitter, Inc.
- Robert Half Technology: Salary Guide for Technology Professionals 2013
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