Have you heard of C-Level jobs such as the CEO, CFO and CRO? Do you have friends or relatives who are general managers or managers in a company? Do you aspire to be a corporate leader? Do you know what a corporate job is all about?

A corporation is a business that is incorporated as a company. A company has unlimited liability and is a separate entity from the owner. Sounds complicated? Okay, in simple terms, when you and say, another partner set up a company (in Malaysia, you need minimum two persons to set up a company), you are the ‘owners’ and you create a new entity, ie a new ‘thing’ which we call the company. The company and the owners are now two different things. Do you know that the earliest companies in the world date back to 500 AD?

The company has its own bank account and its own wealth, like the office building and the tables and chairs in the office. When the company gets very cash rich, it does not mean that the owners are rich until the company ‘pays’ dividends to the owners. At the same time, a company can suffer huge losses or even go bankrupt, but the owners need not use their personal savings or assets to settle these losses.

Joining a corporation means you are working for a company and the company (not the owners) hires you as a worker and pays you salary.

In the beginning days of the corporatization, working for a company meant that you are providing your labour or a specific skill. Work was very specialized and repetitive and the information processed was minimal. The focus was more on tangible outputs. Companies hired skilled people into positions such as production technicians, utility engineers, draftsman, boiler operator, electrical charge-man, dressers and nurses; and unskilled people for positions such as assembly and construction workers. The companies are run and managed by a plant manager, a general manager and probably a managing director.

Today, while companies still hire hundreds and thousands of skilled and blue-collar workers, the number of people hired into the managerial positions have grown phenomenally. We have at times, companies with hundreds of managerial staff starting from assistant managers, managers, assistant senior managers, senior managers, assistant directors, directors, head of departments, assistant vice presidents, vice presidents, general vice presidents, senior vice presidents and all the way to the C-Level staff (the big bosses).

Why do companies need such a huge number of managerial staff?

The large number of managerial jobs we have today opens up a lot of opportunities in the business administration sector. What do these people do, you may ask. And why are there so many managerial staff in a company? The reason is simple. In the information age, we deal with a lot more paperwork and documentation and formalized information-sharing sessions (the infamous ‘meetings’) that call for more people who can think, write, communicate, coordinate, evaluate and monitor – hence, creating the need for layers and layers of managerial staff especially in the secondary and tertiary sectors (that is the manufacturing, hoteling, banking, transportation, education, medical, telecommunications,etc).

It is driven by the number of transactions undertaken by today’s corporations, the complexity of those transactions, the number of internal and external communications, the regulations that companies need to follow, the amount of information and research that is needed to roll out, say, a new product, the number of experts that are needed, the depth of each subject matter (for example, you need people who are really good in statistics to analyze the demand for a product, then you need someone knowledgeable in media and marketing to come up with a great marketing message), the large number of goods and services companies produce today, the large number of customers they serve, the large number of branches and kiosks they operate ..and the list goes on.

In a nutshell, today’s companies do so many things and managing these things requires many managers. To manage the managers, we need managers’ manager, which is why we have senior managers. To manage senior managers, we need general mangers, and so on. Because everyone specializes so much and because there are simply too many meetings to attend, reports to read, decisions to make, projects to coordinate and messages to communicate, the number of managerial positions too have increased.

So, how does a typical day of the corporate manager look like? Read more on ‘A day in a Life of a Corporate Manager’.

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