Chiefs of staff provide support and guidance to key leaders within an organisation, and play a key role in maximising business efficiency and productivity.
Usually working under the direct supervision of a CEO or in some cases, a COO, they are responsible for assisting them with major decisions, organising their priorities and leading business administration and strategic projects.
This extensive guide explains everything you need to know about chiefs of staff, including a typical job description and average salary, in addition to the skills, qualifications and experience required for the role.
- Chief of staff job description
- How much do chiefs of staff earn?
- What does a chief of staff do?
- Requirements, skills and qualifications
- Who employs chiefs of staff?
- Which junior jobs progress to chief of staff roles?
Chief of staff job description
Chief of Staff | Locus Digital
About Locus Digital
We are a young and vibrant tech firm offering cyber-security services to a diverse range of clients across the UK. Founded in 2015, we are committed to providing high-qualify password protection software to give businesses the confidence to excel in today’s digital landscape.
About the role
We are looking for an exceptionally skilled Chief of Staff to support our CEO at a critical time in the company’s expansion. The successful candidate will provide key assistance and support in board meetings, as well as taking charge of key strategic projects, to allow our CEO to focus her efforts on shaping the overall direction of Locus.
- Acting as an extension of the CEO and working closely with senior management team
- Liaising between CEO and external business executives to collaborate on company vision and direction
- Devising strategies, policies and procedures in collaboration with CEO and board of executives
- Preparing and presenting reports on company profits and performance to inform key decisions
- Leading key projects in resource allocation, productivity and business efficiency
- Maximising CEO’s time efficiently by ensuring diary is well organised, appointments are scheduled and materials are prepared to an excellent standard
- Managing our two junior departmental managers, including approving holiday, sick leave, delegating responsibilities appropriately and ensuring quarterly targets are met
- Dealing with all internal and external queries directed to the CEO by email, telephone or otherwise
Location & commitments
- Full-time position based at our head office in Shoreditch, London
- 40 hours per week, Monday-Friday
- Occasional travel to sites within the UK
- Some weekend/evening work required from time to time
- Significant previous experience in a senior leadership role within the tech or IT industry
- Knowledge of cyber-security and password protection services
- Excellent networking skills with a proven track record of building relationships with key company personnel
- Strong interpersonal and communication skills
- Exceptionally organised by nature with extensive experience managing diaries, meeting deadlines and balancing multiple tasks
- Analytically minded with strong research and problem-solving skills
- Educated to degree level
Contact us to apply
If you think you’re the right candidate for this position, please contact Yasmin by emailing Yasmin.Henderson@Locus.co.uk.
How much do chiefs of staff earn?
The average salary for a chief of staff in the UK is exceptionally high, at around £72,500 a year, with plenty of potential for large bonuses and other benefits.
Chief of staff salaries in the UK
- Low: £32,500
- Average: £72,500
- High: £95,000
Chief of staff salaries will vary depending on several factors:
- Company size – Chiefs of staff working at larger corporations can expect to earn more than those at SMEs or startups
- Team size – If a chief of staff is managing an entire team of senior execs, rather than one CEO, they will typically receive a higher salary
- Industry – Corporate industries in the private sector such as finance or banking will usually pay their staff a higher amount than public sector employers
- Location – Salaries will be higher in London and other large business hubs, than the rest of the UK
- Experience – More experienced candidates will generally earn more money
For example, a chief of staff managing a team of senior execs at a finance company in London will likely earn more than a chief of staff working for the CEO at a small digital startup in another smaller city.
These figures are averages taken from job adverts and don’t take into consideration the abundance of other benefits on offer, especially in the private sector. These can include bonuses, pension schemes and holiday allowance, amongst other things.
What does a chief of staff do?
This section breaks down the job description by examining what duties a chief of staff might perform during a typical week:
- Advising CEO – Working directly with the CEO or other senior leader to advise on major company decisions, vision and direction
- Organising CEO priorities – Managing long term schedule for CEO to ensure they give maximum attention to business priorities
- Researching and analysing data – Researching key topics, areas and trends and using this information to influence company strategy, while relaying back to CEO
- Implementing policies – Working with CEO to establish company policies, procedures and initiatives and implementing these across all departments in the business, as well as reviewing their performance at regular intervals
- Improving efficiency – Implementing strategies to improve productivity and profitability
- Meeting with board – Regularly meeting with the Board of Directors to present and report on targets, objectives and overall company performance
- Meeting with HR – Regularly meeting with HR to review hiring process and approve hiring decisions
- Answering enquiries – Responding to communication such as phone calls, emails and other queries directed to the CEO, filtering only the most relevant information back to them
- Managing staff – Managing their own team of junior staff
What do chiefs of staff need?
As the chief of staff acts as the right-hand person to the most senior individual in a business, extensive experience is essential for this competitive and challenging role. Strong interpersonal skills and qualifications are also highly sought after.
The exact combination of requirements will vary, but here’s what most employers are looking for:
Chief of staff jobs usually ask for candidates to have at least five years of relevant industry leadership experience. This experience must be at senior level and include managerial, leadership and decision-making responsibilities. Candidates must also have a proven track record of building relationships with both senior executives and external stakeholders. It’s possible to work up to this role after several years of managerial work in the same organisation or industry.
Chief of staff skills
Soft skills are just as important as experience and qualifications when taking on a role with such high levels of responsibility. These include:
- Communication: Confidently communicating with and listening to a wide range of people including senior executives, board directors, external stakeholders and internal personnel
- Leadership: Managing, motivating and inspiring staff across all levels of the business
- Rapport building: Building and maintaining key relationships over an extended period
- Decision making: Assisting with making significant decisions affecting the direction, vision and overall success of the company
- Organisation: Drawing up schedules, organising events and travel, managing company-wide projects and balancing all of these conflicting tasks at once
- Research: Researching essential information and presenting it in a concise format
- Presentation skills: Strong presentation skills for delivering data and other information clearly and confidently to senior leaders and directors
These more industry-specific skills are also a huge bonus:
- Industry knowledge: Sound knowledge of the relevant industry derived from years of experience
- Business financials: An understanding of profit and loss, margins, cash flow and other financial concepts
- Sales & marketing: Knowledge of key sales and marketing techniques
Chief of staff qualifications
While a degree isn’t essential for this role, employers will generally expect that candidates are educated to at least undergraduate level. Additional industry-specific qualifications can also hugely bolster a candidate’s career prospects.
Let’s take a more in-depth look at the most useful qualifications for aspiring chiefs of staff:
Most chiefs of staff will hold a BA or BSc, and some employers may specify that this should be graded 2.1 or above. Although it’s possible to reach this position without a degree, candidates who do have one are likely to discover that substantially more job opportunities are available.
Any subject is typically acceptable, but the following can offer candidates an advantage:
- Business management
- Accounting and finance
Further qualifications such as a Masters degree are not essential, though are sometimes listed as desirable. A popular choice is the Master of Business Administration (MBA), which can develop business awareness, as well as polishing communication, organisation and research skills.
The Chartered Management Institute (CMI) offers a range of qualifications designed to enhance performance and increase career prospects for senior managers and executives. These qualifications are available in three internationally recognised formats: award, certificate or diploma.
While there are no specific qualifications tailored to the role of chief of staff, the Level 7 and 8 courses will be useful for anyone working on strategy within an organisation;
- Level 7 Strategic Management and Leadership – suitable for Senior Managers wanting to translate organisational strategy into performance
- Level 8 Strategic Direction and Leadership – suitable for C-level Senior Managers who have the responsibility of developing collective strategies across their company
What is expected of chiefs of staff?
Chiefs of staff are typically expected to commit to the following:
- Full time hours – Most commonly on a Monday-Friday, 9-5 work pattern
- Regular overtime – Chiefs of staff may need to work overtime, especially when adapting their commitments around the CEO’s schedule
- Location – Usually in an office with some work from home opportunities available
- Occasional travel – Travel to conferences, meetings and external events will sometimes be required
Chief of staff benefits
Working as a chief of staff is challenging but comes with extremely high rewards, especially in the private sector. These include, but are not limited to:
- Annual bonuses – Based on company performance
- Pension scheme
- Private healthcare
- Profit sharing
- Company stocks and shares
- Company discounts
Who employs chiefs of staff?
Any large organisation with a CEO, COO or similar leader, can employ a chief of staff, though typically, they are more common in larger businesses where administrative tasks are more abundant. Chiefs of staff can work across both the public and private sectors.
Some of the industries that employ chiefs of staff include:
Which junior jobs progress to chief of staff roles?
Chief of staff roles are usually accessible to senior managers and executives with several years of experience working in the industry. It’s also possible to become a chief of staff via an alternative route, such as by working for companies that provide strategic services externally for large organisations.
The below positions are examples of potential routes into this role:
Business managers take the lead in managing the operations of single departments or entire organisations. Usually reporting directly to a CEO or company owner, their tasks include setting goals and strategies, collecting and analysing data and ensuring staff have the resources needed to complete their jobs. This role requires candidates to be highly organised and increases analytics skills, as well as requiring company-wide communication.
Senior managers are responsible for managing a group of staff within a specific team or department, as well as overseeing operations. Their duties include managing the departmental budget, delegating tasks and ensuring overall team objectives are understood and met. Senior management prepares candidates for the role of chief of staff by developing their communication, organisation and leadership skills, as well as counselling them on how to build relationships with both internal personnel and external stakeholders.
Strategy consultants advise organisations on major company strategies and decisions in an unbiased way. They are usually professionals with extensive consultation experience who are brought in externally to gather and analyse company data, before arriving at a fair conclusion. This role is an excellent precursor to the position of chief of staff as it enhances analytical and research skills as well as teaching candidates about methods involved in decision-making.
Which senior jobs do chiefs of staff progress to?
Direct contact with the most senior person in an organisation means that career opportunities for chiefs of staff are promising. They may include:
Chief Operating Officers (COOs) are one of the highest-ranking executives in a company and are primarily in charge of operations. They are responsible for ensuring that the organisation runs as efficiently and profitably as possible by taking a key role in developing strategies for growth, overseeing the execution of systems and processes and collaborating with the CEO and other senior executives. COOs may hire a chief of staff who then may be able to progress to this role in the future.
A Chief Executive Officer (CEO) is typically the most senior person within an organisation. In collaboration with an external Board of Directors, they are responsible for shaping the overall direction and vision of the company. Their tasks are numerous but generally include meeting with the board to develop policies and strategies, setting company budgets and acting as the public face of the company. Most chiefs of staff work as right-hand advisors for CEOs, and so progression to this role is logical.
Chief of staff job description – conclusion
A job as a chief of staff can be challenging and strenuous, but at the same time incredibly rewarding. This role offers a unique experience — with the chief of staff not only able to interact and work with important figures but ultimately playing a part in shaping the company’s future.
Although the most lucrative opportunities are focused in London, chief of staff positions are available across the UK in a variety of sectors. As with most senior positions, competition for jobs is high.
Benefits such as profit sharing, generous pension schemes and career progression opportunities, as well as a near-six figure salary, make this an excellent opportunity for anyone willing to put the work in.