Do Job Titles / Designations Matter?

In an ideal world, job titles would be irrelevant. An employee’s skills and accomplishments would be the actual indicators of his or her ability, authority and responsibility. But in today’s world, job titles do matter—not just to administrative professionals, but to employees in every organization and every industry across the spectrum. ‘Designation’ is the Official Post/Rank one holds in an organisation.  A recent survey of office workers helps to prove this point—fully 70 percent of respondents said they would choose a better job title over a raise. There are many reasons for that eye-opening reaction. Here are some of the most relevant ones.

Job titles allow colleagues, clients, customers, suppliers and others—basically everyone inside and outside an organization—to instantly and accurately identify where an individual stands in the company hierarchy. It conveys a person’s roles and responsibilities, their ability to carry out assignments and respond to requests, and their potential for job and career growth. And it lets people know whom to approach to gather essential information or to facilitate or carry out specific tasks.

An appropriate title can help an employee gain status and respect among peers and managers, and of course, receive a higher level of compensation and perks. An inappropriate job title can undermine an employee’s authority and hold back their career prospects—both internally and externally. When a job title doesn’t match someone’s duties, people will see that individual as less accomplished than he or she actually is—and may not take them seriously, to the detriment of their work and their ability to advance.

During a job search, a title can be as important as salary. Recruiters / Hiring Managers view titles as an indication of a worker’s contributions to their organization, as well as of their worth. Inaccurate titles can send a false signal to recruiters and hiring managers, leaving many worthy candidates out in the cold.

As mentioned earlier, a title can determine an individual’s level of influence—real and implied—in the eyes of those within and outside of the company. With a better title, not only will people respond to your requests more quickly, but they’ll look to you for assistance. For example, those with “junior” or entry level titles will turn to those with “senior” titles for guidance and encouragement.

Another reason to obtain a credible title is that if the title does not reflect the ability to make autonomous decisions, colleagues and clients may be slow to return calls and email, as well as to fulfill other requests.

In situations where raises are off the table or negligible due to a down economy or lagging sales, an impressive title can offer an important psychological boost—one that costs an organization nothing while signaling that it recognizes an employee’s efforts, expertise and promise.

Last, but hardly least, job titles should always be motivational, aspirational and empowering. Everyone needs to feel smart, important and well-regarded. An imposing job title can be surprisingly motivating, helping people understand that their contributions are valued and that they have a degree of control over their work and their ability to make independent decisions.

A credible title can enhance an employee’s pride and confidence by reinforcing the organization’s belief in his potential, and it can indicate the next step in a career progression. Employees are well aware of the job and title a step above theirs. A desire to move up the career ladder motivates many to work harder and accomplish more in order to be promoted.

An appropriate job title can mean the difference between enjoying a thriving career and being stuck in a dead-end job—so make it a priority to be aware of the potential prestige, recognition and rewards of a realistic job title.

In other words, as an employee grows, his title/designation should change. Every employee needs to understand the hierarchy of roles and titles within the organization so that he can see a clear path from where he is today, to the role—and therefore, the job title / designation—he aspire to tomorrow.