Don't underestimate the power of the job title

Sep 11 2006 by Nic Paton Print This Article

Most senior managers would be prepared to forego a pay rise in return for getting a better job title, new research has suggested.

The survey by UK recruitment firm Imprint Search & Selection found that more than half of senior managers rated their job title as important to them, but only a third of non-managers held the same view.

More than a third of the managers admitted they had already taken a title rise without a pay rise, compared with only one in five non-managerial staff.

Senior managers were also much more likely to swap part of their pay rise for a title rise than the average worker.

But managers say that it isn't just vanity that makes their job title so important. Instead, it seems that they view job titles as a career advancement tool in the highly competitive UK jobs' marketplace and one that can often be used as a bargaining chip in performance review and career negotiations.

By contrast, non-management workers were less likely to see titles as important for their career, arguing that the key purpose of the job title was to enhance personal status.

More than one in 10 senior managers said they would be willing to give up as much as 25 per cent of a pay rise if they were also guaranteed an improved job title.

Nevertheless, 62 per cent said they would not substitute a pay rise for a better title.

Norman Burden, Imprint Search & Selection operations director, said: "Employers need to be fully aware that whilst some people value flat structures within organisations and feel job titles are less important, this study confirms that for most the reality is very different.

"In addition to their salaries, senior managers view their job title as being very important indeed and many are prepared to use it as a bargaining tool to move their career forward. Companies must never underestimate the power of the job title," he added.

"In the corporate career game, ambitious individuals plan their career progression very carefully," he continued.

"One of the best moves any player can make is to get a job title which places them ahead of their peer group as they will be perceived to be a 'high achiever' both within their own company and by potential future employers.

"The higher they climb up the ladder, the fewer competitors there will be for the next promotion, so people are often prepared to sacrifice short-term financial gain in order to ensure a greater return in the medium to long term," he concluded.