CEOs are one of the happiest careers in the United States.

At CareerExplorer, we conduct an ongoing survey with millions of people and ask them how satisfied they are with their careers. As it turns out, CEOs rate their career happiness 4.0 out of 5 stars which puts them in the top 9% of careers.

To put this into perspective, we compared how happy CEOs are to similar careers in the industry. Take a look at the results below:

Salaries and satisfaction ratings in similar careers

Career Satisfaction Avg Salary
CEO
4.0
$88k
Entrepreneur
4.0
$43k
Chief executive
3.9
$180k
COO
3.7
$79k

So what does it mean to be happy in your career? Let’s break it down into different dimensions:

Are CEOs happy with their salary?

CEOs rated their satisfaction with their salaries 3.8/5. The majority of CEOs are quite happy with their salaries, with very few having complaints about their income level.

We asked CEOs how fairly compensated they are for their work.
Their response was:

3.8 out of 5 stars

749 CEOs

5 Star
40%

40% of CEOs rated their compensation 5 stars

4 Star
23%

23% of CEOs rated their compensation 4 stars

3 Star
19%

19% of CEOs rated their compensation 3 stars

2 Star
9%

9% of CEOs rated their compensation 2 stars

1 Star
9%

9% of CEOs rated their compensation 1 stars

Do CEOs find their jobs meaningful?

On average, CEOs rate the meaningfulness of their work a 4.0/5. Unlike many careers, CEOs have little difficulty finding meaning in their work, and it likely constitutes one of the main reasons people become CEOs.

We asked CEOs how meaningful they found their work.
Their response was:

4.0 out of 5 stars

761 CEOs

5 Star
46%

46% of CEOs rated how meaningful they found their career 5 stars

4 Star
25%

25% of CEOs rated how meaningful they found their career 4 stars

3 Star
15%

15% of CEOs rated how meaningful they found their career 3 stars

2 Star
8%

8% of CEOs rated how meaningful they found their career 2 stars

1 Star
5%

5% of CEOs rated how meaningful they found their career 1 stars

How well are people’s personalities suited to everyday tasks as CEOs?

CEOs rated their personality fit with their work an average of 4.3/5. The majority of CEOs find their personalities quite well suited to their work, with relatively few having complaints about their fit.

We asked CEOs how well their personalities fit into their careers.
Their response was:

4.3 out of 5 stars

835 CEOs

5 Star
53%

53% of CEOs rated their career fit 5 stars

4 Star
29%

29% of CEOs rated their career fit 4 stars

3 Star
11%

11% of CEOs rated their career fit 3 stars

2 Star
4%

4% of CEOs rated their career fit 2 stars

1 Star
2%

2% of CEOs rated their career fit 1 stars

How enjoyable is a CEO’s work environment?

As a whole, CEOs rated their enjoyment of their work environment 4.2/5. A solid majority of CEOs enjoy their work environment, probably contributing to overall higher satisfaction with working as a CEO.

We asked CEOs how much they enjoyed their work environment.
Their response was:

4.2 out of 5 stars

826 CEOs

5 Star
49%

49% of CEOs rated their work environment 5 stars

4 Star
30%

30% of CEOs rated their work environment 4 stars

3 Star
13%

13% of CEOs rated their work environment 3 stars

2 Star
5%

5% of CEOs rated their work environment 2 stars

1 Star
2%

2% of CEOs rated their work environment 1 stars

Are CEOs making the best use of their abilities?

Former CEOs on CareerExplorer have rated their skills utilization 4.2/5. Most CEOs surveyed find that they manage to use their abilities to their fullest as a CEO, which helps contribute to higher career satisfaction in the long term.

We asked CEOs how well their abilities were used in their careers.
Their response was:

4.2 out of 5 stars

831 CEOs

5 Star
51%

51% of CEOs rated their how well their skills were utilized in their career 5 stars

4 Star
25%

25% of CEOs rated their how well their skills were utilized in their career 4 stars

3 Star
15%

15% of CEOs rated their how well their skills were utilized in their career 3 stars

2 Star
6%

6% of CEOs rated their how well their skills were utilized in their career 2 stars

1 Star
3%

3% of CEOs rated their how well their skills were utilized in their career 1 stars