Traditionally, the job hierarchy takes us from coordinator to consultant to manager to director. The paths can vary from one individual to another; and not all companies apply the job nomenclature in the same way. The question then arises: is it worth fighting – or at least asking and insisting – to get a certain title in a company?

In a recent publication in Facebook, a senior marketing coordinator working alone in her department questioned her reporting relationship with a newly hired junior digital marketing specialist. The title of “specialist” seemed more “senior” to her, while she was still supposed to be “his team leader”. This led to a most interesting conversation about the relevance of job titles in a company.

The title means nothing, replied Nicolas Rabouille, Co-Founder of the digital agency Rablab. Especially when you are two in the team! Make sure you are treated at your fair value and have a decent salary relative to your boss’s ability to pay, he added. As long as the respect of the hierarchy is there – you are the boss of the new one – the title is not worth much.”

Mae Drolet-Giroux, creative director and teacher, had a different take on the issue:

I don’t quite agree with those who say that the title doesn’t matter. In my opinion, this is important for two reasons: 1 – clarify the role of an employee with external partners or suppliers 2 – for the continuation of a career. The credibility of a professional will be much different if he decides to change jobs. With the experience acquired, it will be easier for them to apply for a leadership position.”

Marcos Gutierrez Costa, Co-Founder of the start-up MangoLab, does not share this concern for external perception.

Personally, I wouldn’t worry too much about the label that a person wears outside the team or the company. I would focus on what the role brings and represents within the company.”

MangoLab does not have a “director” or “manager” in its organization, but rather “leaders” or “mentors”. Here is how Marcos Gutierrez Costa explains his management approach:

We don’t believe in a classical hierarchy with roles and positions of power to manage the people who operate. We have a much more organic organization based on our values and our corporate vision. The roles of leader and mentor are defined between the employee and the employer. At different levels of the company, we have determined how a team member can be a leader or mentor in their role.”

A title to dominate the other

Anissa Kadi, Digital Communications Advisor, also questions the relevance of “prioritizing” relationships between co-workers.

I don’t think it’s a healthy environment to work with someone who wants to know who’s in charge of who. The two people are employed in a company that is not theirs, they will have to collaborate together without necessarily seeking to dominate each other. Today a lot of companies don’t really pay attention to the title. If the job and the salary fit, I don’t see the problem.”

Figures on the importance of the job title

In 2019, the My Perfect Resume job site conducted a very interesting survey of 1,700 respondents – including recruiters and workers – to better understand the importance of the job title in a company.

Here are the highlights of this survey:

  • 7 in 10 people believe in the importance of the job title;

And it is not just for big businesses:

  • 49.3% of small business employees (9 employees or less) value it.

Also, the title can become a bargaining chip:

  • 1 in 4 people have ever tried to negotiate their job title;
  • Of these, 45% said they were successful, with an average salary gain of $3,477;
  • 35% of workers would be willing to change jobs for a better job title.

And during the job search:

  • 12.7% of candidates have lied about the wording of a job title on their CV;
  • Of these, 38% were caught (!)

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