Those with an eye towards careers in senior business management will find Sacramento to be a prime marketplace. Opportunities are available within a large number of industries and the pool of qualified applicants is relatively small.

According to Preet Kuar, a business development manager and executive recruiter at Pacific Staffing in Sacramento, the key to the executive washroom is earned through continuous learning.

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Preet Kuar of Pacific Staffing (credit: Valerie Heimerich)

Preet Kuar of Pacific Staffing (credit: Valerie Heimerich)

Technology and best practices are constantly evolving and Kuar says companies have no time for on-the-job training of upper management. Keeping up on technological advances is not simply part of life on the management track; it is imperative to landing and succeeding in a senior position.

As rapidly as technologies can change, it takes a definite commitment to keep up to date. But when it comes to career growth, the old adage of no pain, no gain clearly applies.

Higher education key to senior advancement

Higher education is a must for virtually all upper management openings in Sacramento, and Kuar says that earning an MBA allows for more understanding of businesses as a whole. Being an absolute star in sales or other operational areas can be a critical step for advancement, but making the leap to senior management does require knowledge of the big picture.

After 12 years of experience recruiting executives in northern California, Kuar also knows the value of applicants who are open to new industries. Staying on familiar turf can at best limit opportunities and at worst be financially debilitating, particularly during unpredictable economic periods. “Invest a year or two to learn about a new field,” Kuar advises, and take the opportunity to also make fresh contacts. She says that combining these elements with your existing talent and experience can add up to a whole new career trajectory.

Thinking outside the box and your industry

Sacramento has seen senior level jobs opening within a multitude of industries since the first days of 2013. Positions are available in public-sector and private-sector businesses, medium-sized and large-sized companies, learning institutions and prominent charitable organizations.

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Although not always given top consideration by those seeking high-level positions, nonprofits and charities can be a significant and rewarding option. The role of executive director for a charitable organization can mean more positive community involvement and personal satisfaction than similar titles in traditional for-profit businesses.

Kuar, who recruits candidates for senior IT and tech positions, says that many executives choose to work for companies in the Bay Area because of the salary and benefit levels that are available. As a result, Sacramento offers senior managers a wide open market and a chance to expand their influence and reach.

Despite this, there can still be fierce competition for plum positions. Tipping the balance in one’s favor may include networking and getting involved in activities both within and outside of the business community. Final hiring decisions can be influenced by a candidate’s visibility in civic groups, clubs and houses of worship as well as at charities and community events.

Examples of current senior openings

January job announcements have included a chief executive officer opening at Sport Alliance Ontario in Sacramento. Also, Walter R. McDonald & Associates Inc. and a major industrial construction company were actively seeking chief financial officers.

Vice president and senior vice president positions opened up at Entercom Communications, Sierra College and Cresleigh Homes; applicants were also solicited for a number of senior regional manager positions.

Marketing or divisional directors were being sought in Sacramento for organizations including Dignity Health, MedicAlert Foundation and the UC university system.

In general, candidates for Sacramento executive positions must have eight to 10 years of management experience as well as background and training in a related applicable discipline. Although some companies will accept applicants with four-year college degrees, successful completion of post-graduate studies are required for the majority of senior positions.

Valerie Heimerich is a freelance writer out of Sacramento. She typically covers animals and community issues. She has volunteered and worked for many organizations helping animals and people.
Her work can be found at

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