Engineering profession crowns list of jobs for top 100 CEOs

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Starting out as an engineer is the leading first job to becoming a potential CEO for one of the top 100 companies in the US and the UK, a study has revealed.

The UK Domain investigated and analysed the first jobs of CEOs from both the UK’s Financial Times Stock Exchange (FTSE) 100 Index and the US Fortune 100 companies and found that engineering roles came out on top, ahead of accounting and finance positions. From the lists, 17 CEOs had an engineering background.

One example is Michigan born Mary T. Barra, who initially worked in various engineering positions at General Motors. Since 2014, she has been the chairman and CEO of the company, becoming the first female CEO of a major global automaker. 

Peter Plumb, the new chief executive of food delivery service Just Eat, also began his professional career as an offshore engineer, having studied civil engineering at the University of Birmingham.

Dennis A. Muilenburg, an aerospace engineering graduate from Iowa State University, was initially an aerodynamics intern. He is now president of the Boeing Company, having taken up that position in 2015.

The UK Domain project page also includes data on the most popular universities and lucrative degrees for these CEOs, with a combination of 14 degrees held in engineering and electrical engineering alike.

On average, CEOs who graduated with a degree in chemical engineering get to enjoy a base salary of £2.9m, according to the ‘Top Flight CEOs’ investigation.

The top ten most common first jobs for the current CEOs behind engineering include posts in banking, sales, management and researching.

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