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Chief Operating Officer

Oversee the day-to-day operations of a business and report directly to the CEO.

What's it like to be a Chief Operating Officer?

A Chief Operating Officer (COO) is usually the second highest-ranking executive in a company, and reports directly to the Chief Executive Officer (CEO). Although the role of the COO will differ from organisation to organisation, their main responsibility is to oversee the end to end operations of a business.

Tasks and duties

  • Planning and managing a company’s day-to-day operations.
  • Reviewing and updating Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs).
  • Maintaining operational quality controls and managing risks.
  • Assessing business strategies and their operational impact.
  • Devising methods for meeting company benchmarks and goals.
  • Reporting on Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) such as turnaround times and accuracy.
  • Reducing company operating costs and improving processes.
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The role of Chief Operating Officer is multi-dimensional. They need to have a solid understanding of business and finance, as well as strong people leadership and risk management skills.

What can I earn as a Chief Operating Officer?

All
NSW
VIC
WA
QLD
TAS
SA
NT
ACT
The most common salary for a Chief Operating Officer is greater than $200k
Source: SEEK job ads

How to become a Chief Operating Officer

SEEK Learning
There is no single pathway to becoming a Chief Operating Officer. COOs typically have a solid educational background with wide and varied leadership experience in business and a proven track record of successful team building.
  1. Complete a bachelor degree in business or economics or in the industry you plan to enter.
  2. Pursue a Master of Business Administration (MBA) or similar post-graduate qualification.
  3. Gain extensive work experience in a leadership capacity across a range of businesses or work your way up through a company. In small and medium companies, you may become a COO with 10 years of experience, where as in larger companies it can take a lot longer.
  4. Demonstrate your success at a senior management and executive level of leading and managing a business or a business unit within a large organisation.

Explore qualifications

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NSW
VIC
WA
QLD
TAS
SA
NT
ACT
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How do Chief Operating Officers rate their role?

Latest reviews from 15 Chief Operating Officers surveyed on SEEK

Work-life balance
3.4
Job satisfaction
4.4
Career progression opportunities
3.5
Job security
3.4
Pay / Salary
3.5
Variety of work
4.3

Latest reviews

All
Positive
Negative
Nov 2018
Reviewer's Qualification
Bachelor of Science
Experience
1 – 4 years
Organisation size
Medium (20-199 employees)
Specialisation
Operations
The good things
I enjoy working with the people within a business to grow and scale the business, and every day presents a different challenge as the need of the organisation continue to evolve over time.
The challenges
The role typically requires a lot of investment in time, so lots of hard work and long hours, sometimes on the weekend. There are also a lot of stakeholders to manage and please - the key is not to tr...
Oct 2018
Reviewer's Qualification
Master of Business Administration (Technology Management)
Experience
1 – 4 years
Organisation size
Medium (20-199 employees)
Specialisation
CEO
The good things
Firstly I'm now in a CEO role and will answer as such as as the answer is similar... firstly the COO role is a stepping stone to CEO so the question is somewhat redundant; however in the interest of h...
The challenges
The challenges are balancing the family sport and work as the demand on you will be marked especially in a large organisation operating in multiple time zones and one just has to set boundaries.... I ...
Oct 2018
Reviewer's Qualification
Master of Business Administration
Experience
1 – 4 years
Organisation size
Small (1-19 employees)
Specialisation
product, marketing, strategy, operations
The good things
Challenging but fulfilling. Satisfaction that you're the glue with the company and you're keeping the lights on.
The challenges
Need to be able to find a way to say yes to most things
Oct 2018
Reviewer's Qualification
Experience
1 – 4 years
Organisation size
Medium (20-199 employees)
Specialisation
Software Development
The good things
The best part of being a COO is working with the next generation of leaders, working collaboratively; learning new ideas and ways of approaching challenges from them whilst they learn from your experi...
The challenges
The challenges of being a COO are often the demands of your time and the context switching required during any given day. However; is this a negative? A challenge should always been viewed as what it...
Oct 2018
Reviewer's Qualification
Bachelor of Engineering
Experience
1 – 4 years
Organisation size
Large (200+ employees)
Specialisation
Mining
The good things
Have the authority to implement change and direct operations. I have full control over major business decisions. Recognised by major shareholders as the driver of the business.
The challenges
The COO must resolve problems and issues. More importantly, must have the systems and resources in place to avoid crisis and be able to react to external and internal events. Dealing with a diverse cr...
Oct 2018
Reviewer's Qualification
Master of Business Administration (Marketing)
Experience
1 – 4 years
Organisation size
Large (200+ employees)
Specialisation
Education
The good things
Working in a Private School means you must have a desire for community service because you will donate time. Working with passionate educators is a driver, they give you a sense of wanting to help. ...
The challenges
Your Board is a group of volunteers and you will have after hours meetings and they will always venture over the governance line into management. Your role is to encourage them to stay in governance....
Oct 2018
Reviewer's Qualification
Bachelor of Science
Experience
Less than a year
Organisation size
Medium (20-199 employees)
Specialisation
Business process improvement
The good things
Being able to define policies and processes that further the capability of a business and it’s employees is rewarding. You get to see the outcome of your years of experience
The challenges
The hours can be long, but the return is worth it. Sometimes people don’t see the benefits until they have been performing new tasks for some time.
Oct 2018
Reviewer's Qualification
Degree of Mechanical Engineering
Experience
1 – 4 years
Organisation size
Medium (20-199 employees)
Specialisation
operation and project
The good things
Able to decide own decision Able to recognise potential risk
The challenges
need to have huge experience to decide experience gained will be easy to know the risk
Oct 2018
Reviewer's Qualification
Associate Degree in Business Management
Experience
1 – 4 years
Organisation size
Medium (20-199 employees)
Specialisation
Sales operations
The good things
The opportunity to shape a business and work with people where you can coach and mentor them to achieve their best
The challenges
Attention to detail and communication is key
Oct 2018
Reviewer's Qualification
Queensland Certificate of Education
Experience
1 – 4 years
Organisation size
Small (1-19 employees)
Specialisation
General
The good things
The Chief Operating Officer is wide spread and crucial to the daily operation. Being a leader of people, not a manager, is a key to success. Constant improvement to systems and processes will set you ...
The challenges
Challenges will come thick and fast. Focus on solutions. Remember people are your greatest asset... trust them, train them, make them heroes. Then the organisation will be a delight to work in. You ar...
Source: SEEK Role Reviews

Working hours for Chief Operating Officers

Overtime
Weekends
Shift work
Late nights
Often
Sometimes
Never
Source: SEEK Role Reviews from 15 Chief Operating Officers

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