Just below the C-Suite of an organization sits the executive leadership team. These are leaders who may not have “Chief” in their title, but they are still key figures within the company. Most are given some form of the title “Vice President.”
There are two promotions that a Vice President is able to receive: to Senior Vice President, and to Executive Vice President. These titles may be given to people who work for corporations, non-profit agencies, NGOs, institutions, and even the government.
Although their roles have some similarities in the chain of command and they encompass many roles within their company, there are some important differences between these two positions to consider as well.
What Is an Executive Vice President (EVP)?
An executive vice president is usually placed on the hierarchy chart right below the President of the company. It should be noted that a CEO and a President are two different roles. Being in the executive position, an EVP has the authority to make major decisions for the company. Although this role reports to the President, this job position will also take over the place of the President should the need arise.
There are two common ways to rise to the position of an executive vice president. Some corporations will promote people to this role because they head a specific department in the company. In this situation, the EVP would also be responsible for overseeing the performance of their department.
When an EVP has vice presidents who report to them, then their role is more administrative. Their position would dictate that they ensure their vice presidents are performing as they should.
What Is a Senior Vice President (SVP)?
A senior vice president is a title which is earned through seniority. It is a role that is created to acknowledge the multiple years of service that an executive has spent with the company.
This title may also be earned if there are 2+ vice presidents within the same department. In this situation, the SVP would be higher in the chain of command than the other vice president.
You can also find corporations placing a senior vice president in strategic roles within the company to ensure its success. If marketing is a key need for the company, then they might hire an outright SVP to fill that role, even if that person comes from outside the company.
Most SVPs are responsible for their entire department. If something negative occurs, then they are the ones who take responsibility for it. This is a challenging position. A senior vice president has one foot in the C-Suite and one foot in the daily operations of the company.
What Is the Salary of an EVP vs an SVP?
An executive vice president is one of the top leadership positions within a company. As such, the pay scale is higher than most other positions. Many EVPs earn more than some of the members of the C-Suite.
In the United States, the average base pay for an executive vice president is $211,000 per year. In comparison, the average salary for the Chief Operating Officer is $165,000.
A senior vice president in the United States earns an average of $175,000 per year. To get into this position, most people must have a minimum of 5 years’ experience in the department they are being asked to supervise.
Different departments have different pay scales for an SVP as well. People who oversee sales, leadership, or strategy will typically earn the most.
What Educational Requirements are Needed for EVPs and SVPs?
An executive vice president is usually required to hold an undergraduate degree at minimum. Many organizations require their EVPs to hold an advanced degree. Some may even require a doctorate. Because of this requirement, you’ll find that many EVPs hold a Master’s in Business Administration, as the degree covers most of the strategic knowledge that will be needed while performing their job duties.
For most senior executives, there is no minimum educational requirement beyond a high school diploma or GED. Some companies may require the SVP to hold an advanced certificate or degree in the department which they supervise. If someone were to be the senior vice president of payroll, for example, their employer might require a CPA to be in that role.
Ways That an EVP and SVP Are the Same
A vice president earns that title in a company because they are capable of stepping in to serve as President should the need arise. Although an EVP would be asked to do this before an SVP, and an SVP would be asked to do this before a VP, a person with any of these titles is capable of running the corporation should the need arise.
That is because each role is a top managerial executive. These key employees have a say in who is hired to work for their department. They oversee the departmental budget, create metrics to track success, and may even take on the responsibility of giving the final interview before jo selection.
The EVP and SVP are also responsible for boosting departmental morale, keeping employees engaged, and developing workers through experience and educational opportunities.
An EVP and an SVP may also be department heads. Although some EVPs are given specific roles which oversee a group of SVPs and VPs, many are given the designation as a department head when strength is needed within the company. These leaders know what is going on in their department, keep people accountable, and are held accountable to their own actions by the President or CEO.
All vice presidents have common ground in the fact that they communicate developments, progress, and challenges to the CEO, President, and Board of Directors. They are the first line of communication between the C-Suite and the departments of the organization. When pertinent information must be moved up and down the chain of command, EVPs and SVPs have the responsibility to ensure it is accurate.
A Final Thought About EVPs vs SVPs
An executive vice president and a senior vice president serve a similar function in the structure of a business. The primary difference between the two involves strategic thinking and decisions. An EVP is often given the responsibility to make decisions for their department and their company. An SVP may not be given the same leeway.
Both roles are essential to the functionality of the leadership team. A C-Suite does not work effectively if its vice presidents are not all-in for the mission and vision of the company. They oversee departments, provide critical information, and offer insights that help their employers continue to grow.
Keith Miller has over 25 years experience as a CEO and serial entrepreneur. As an entreprenuer, he has founded several multi-million dollar companies. As a writer, Keith's work has been mentioned in CIO Magazine, Workable, BizTech, and The Charlotte Observer. If you have any questions about the content of this blog post, then please send our content editing team a message here.