What Does a Company Vice President Do?

Learn About the Salary, Required Skills, & More

Image shows a woman standing in professional attire holding several folders. Text reads: "A day in the life of a company vice president: Sign important legal documents for the company. Contribute to the sales and profitability of the business. Lead, guide, and communicate with the other executive leaders, directors, and managers. Formulate and implement strategic planning. Median annual salary: $189,000 ($91.15/hour)"

Image by Chloe Giroux © The Balance 2019

The vice president (VP) of an organization is generally the second or third in command, depending upon whether the president and the chief executive officer (CEO) have separate titles and roles. In many organizations, the titles of president and CEO are held by the same person. The VP is second in command in this case.

A vice president's role starts with the fundamental job responsibilities of a manager. These are the basic oversight responsibilities of anyone in an organization that functions as a manager and has staff members reporting to them. 

Vice President Duties & Responsibilities

The vice president has specific responsibilities depending on the needs of his or her organization.

  • Lead significant units, departments, or operations of a total organization, such as VP of worldwide manufacturing in an automotive company or VP of operational risk management in an insurance organization.
  • Sign documents and make commitments for the company for which the company is legally liable.
  • Participate on the president- or CEO-led team that creates the organization's overall vision, mission, values, beliefs, and strategic goals.
  • Lead, guide, direct, and evaluate the work of other executive leaders, including assistant vice presidents, senior directors, and managers.
  • Formulate and implement the strategic plan that guides the direction of a team's business or its area of functional responsibility, such as developing a strategic marketing plan.
  • Contribute to the sales and profitability requirements of the business as determined by the strategic plans.
  • Evaluate the success of the organization. Does the organization achieve the overall success that was budgeted for, planned for, and aimed to accomplish? If not, why not? If not, the VP addresses how to get the organization back on track.
  • Maintain awareness of both the external and internal competitive landscape, opportunities for expansion, customers, markets, and new industry developments and standards. Be aware of any opportunities the organization can leverage and pursue for its advantage.

The differential for the role of VP is that the top boss can assign other new, unforeseen responsibilities that will ultimately help the organization achieve success.

There might be multiple VPs. The senior VP is often given the title of executive VP and other VPs might report to this individual or to the president or CEO. In any case, the person designated senior VP is second in command to the president.

Vice President Salary

A VP is also recognized as an officer of the company. This designation brings additional pay, authority, responsibility, and accountability to the role. Salaries for all chief executives overall can range from approximately $68,000 to $208,000, depending on additional compensation and benefits.

  • Median Annual Salary: $189,600 ($91.15/hour)
  • Top 10% Annual Salary: More than $208,000 ($100.00/hour)
  • Bottom 10% Annual Salary: Less than $68,360 ($32,86/hour)

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

Education, Training & Certification

Those looking for a career as a vice president should ideally have both a college degree and some significant experience.

  • Education: You should have a bachelor's degree or master's degree in business administration or in the field of the company's business.
  • Experience: You'll need as many as five years to a decade or more in a managerial or supervisory role, depending on the employer. Public relations and public affairs firms tend to require less in the way of experience.
  • Certification: Certification in the field of the firm can help you stand out from other candidates, such as a CPA license for applying to an accounting firm.

Vice President Skills & Competencies

You should possess several essential qualities to succeed at becoming vice president of an organization.

  • Communication skills: This career involves a great deal of writing, speaking, and other communication skills. Superior editing skills are a plus as well, so every report you issue is clear and flawless.
  • Innovation: You'll need the insight and creativity to form campaign strategies that work.
  • Public speaking skills: You'll often find yourself speaking in front of groups, even if the group is comprised of your own staff.
  • Interpersonal skills: These skills are required to manage and guide staff and teams.

Job Outlook

The outlook for job growth for all chief executives overall is expected to be about 8% from 2016 through 2026, which is about average for all occupations. These executives play a crucial role in any enterprise or organization.

Work Environment

A VP can be responsible for several departments within an organization, so this can be a diversified job. You might be tied to one desk, but find that you're dealing with a director of sales in the morning and a director of marketing later in the day.

Work Schedule

Vice presidents are full-time, exempt employees. They're not subject to federal minimum wage or overtime regulations.

Comparing Similar Jobs

Some similar jobs and their median annual pay include: 

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