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Job Titles - Are they still relevant?

There's a lot of debate around the importance of job titles, as some people feel that they are there to represent your skills and expertise to future hiring managers and recruiters - however, some people no longer feel that they are needed within the professional world. In this blog, we decided to discuss both sides of the debate, the significance of job titles vs the irrelevance. Here's what we found.

Job titles tend to have obvious relevance in terms of company hierarchy and being able to correctly determine roles within a business. People have also said that they can inspire confidence and a sense of status amongst other employees. There are different levels of compensation and salaries associated with job titles that can actually motivate and encourage a better work ethic.

These days, we always expect to see and hear about job titles, whether it's on a LinkedIn profile, in social settings, or a job application - this is typically the person's name, job title and contact information. Society expects that we should have a job title that can describe what we do and where we fall on the hierarchy list within a company.

Although it's easy to say that a job title is simply the description of your position, the fact is, your official job title can actually impact your present and future career on several different ways - but how much of an impact should the headline of your role really have?

The Significance

Typically, in the Recruitment industry, recruiters have noticed that candidates often go for a job with a better title and not necessarily a better pay package. With that being said, BambooHR have stated that 1 in 5 employees would rather receive a promotion with a higher title without a 3% raise, rather than getting a raise without a promotion. This is because the evolvement of a job title can be perceived as a means to calibrate an employee's value that they can add to the company and a way to gauge career development.

To many people, having a better job title is synonymous to success and therefore "more deserving" of respect and status from their colleagues and external stakeholders. It has been stated that an impressive title can in fact offer employees a psychological boost as a result of the recognition their employers have on their efforts and work, which typically result in a better work ethic and better results.

Job titles also tend to allow stakeholders, including colleagues and clients, the ability to determine an employee's level of experience as well as their contribution to a business. This can be useful when a company is growing rapidly as employees need to know each other's responsibilities and capabilities in order to work better together.

A study conducted by Pearl Meyer & Partners found that 80% of companies use job titles to identify where the employee stands within the corporate hierarchy, whereas more than 92% use job titles just to simply define and employee's role.

Not only can a job title positively impact someone within the workplace, but it can also benefit you in your job/career search. If you plan to follow the traditional career path (moving up the company ladder), your job titles and progression will matter. Hiring managers will see the changes with your job title as an indication that you're committed to learning and growing within the field, whilst taking on new and increased responsibilities - allowing you to move up into supervisory or leadership roles.

Many companies have realised that more and more 'millennial' candidates consider a variety of factors beyond how much a job actually pays. More often than the generations before them, these younger professionals are wanting to feel a sense of purpose with their work, both in the job itself and even in the social causes that their employers support. But one of the other main factors that seems to come up frequently with millennial candidates is their job titles.

The motivation behind seeking a specific title will vary from candidate to candidate - however it usually comes down to a desire to shape the perception that others hold, whether it's a friend or a future employer - people are considering it to be "instant branding" more than just a self esteem boost of your capabilities.

Top organisations have started to become a lot more aware that too much hierarchy kills motivation and innovation. Growing an organisation with fewer hierarchy chains isn't an easy job, however it has been shown that giving an employee more freedom, helps to innovate and bring out more personality within a person and also a company.

There are in fact some companies out there that have eliminated different job titles completely because they don't want to have any sort of hierarchy in the business as it can cause issues amongst people. For example, in some tech organisations, you won't see a Senior or Junior Software Engineer - your title will be known simply as a Software Engineer.

It's extremely important to acknowledge that what an employee does within a company matters more than the title thats given to them. And these qualities are some of the factors that employers now look for in a candidate whilst carrying out their hiring - so you should never let the title you have at work limit your potential, abilities and skills.

Another point that people say lessens the significance of job titles is that it can bring zero motivation. You may be surprised to hear that many candidates will pass an opportunity of higher pay, simply to go for a place with a reputable working environment, as this is what matters most to them. Prestige and ego used to be the main key motivations for workers in the past, but this has since changed with the new generation of workers looking for jobs that can fulfil their passions and align with their values.

The importance of a job title in the workplace no longer seems to please people as much as it used to - employees now lean towards a job that can provide them with more freedom to express themselves and has more authenticity.

It's easy to see that job titles aren't as relevant as they used to be, although they still have a lot of significance. The nature of jobs is continuously evolving with the digital age, changing the way we all think with the development. However, not all titles are changing at the same rate as the businesses do, with some companies hiring into roles where the job specification has been fluid, but the job title hasn't. Job titles can be misleading as they can be completely different to another organisation that has the same titles.

We conducted our own poll asking the question "Are Job Titles Important To You?" to gain an insight with our own followers and users of LinkedIn. With 51% of respondents voting yes and 49% of people voting no.

Overall, there is no right or wrong answer to the debate as it all comes down to an individuals preferences. If you feel as though job titles are more significant over a working environment or other factors, it's easy to negotiate your job title before starting a new role or specifically seeking a new role with a specific title.

With that being said, how important is a job title to you?

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