Job titles: Change in global trend | Sunday Observer

Job titles: Change in global trend


In our culture, job titles go a long way and sometimes what type of work you do is immaterial as long as you have a powerful job title. In personal life, we are often asked the question, “What do you do?”, even before our name is asked.

However, globally the trend has changed and its mostly what you do, the authority you carry and what benefits you enjoy to go with the job. Two to three-word titles attempt to define who we are, what we do and how we are remembered by others.

Job title does not necessarily do justice to the whole scope of one’s tasks and responsibilities. In modern organizations, many jobs cannot be singled down to a one-page job description anymore and touch multiple fields of expertise with most jobs evolving to be multi-disciplinary.

There’s a tremendous importance placed on job titles. And rightly so, since so much can hinge on those precious few words. Along with the prestige of a powerful job title, comes a higher salary, the ability to negotiate for work perks, and much more.

But today, there’s evidence to debunk the idea that job titles are the end-all and be-all in today’s job market. The new belief is that your skills matter more than your job title.


Is there a shift from job titles to skills? Well, the answer is due in part to the murky nature of job titles. After all, reading a job title alone no longer gives you a complete picture of what the position could possibly entail.

Instead, there’s advocacy for companies to ditch job titles and instead focus on highlighting all of the skills necessary for a job candidate to apply for a position.

Highlighting all of the skills for a position is a new approach to posting job descriptions, but it can affect job seekers and employers in surprisingly positive ways.

For example, as a job candidate, you might see a job description but are scared off by the job title and as a result you don’t bother applying for the position.

However, if you saw all of the skills necessary to perform in the position and you have the stated skills, you might think twice and apply for the job.

And for employers, showing all of the skills necessary for a job also can help expedite the job interview process for employers, who may have thought they found top-tier talent but then find, after a few rounds in the interview process, that the job candidates may have the previous job titles — but not the skills needed for the job.

Job titles can often become a very controversial subject for many people. Over the years, especially in Sri Lanka, we have seen more situations where top job titles such as CEO, Director, President, General Manager and even regular manager positions are wrongly used mainly to retain people with less attractive, below market compensation packages.

Look at the authority of some of these big titles when wrongly used. You will be surprised!

The most important aspect of your job should be what you actually do. Multinationals have a greater tendency to offer job titles that reflects the job as opposed to local organizations within the South Asian markets.


Your job title should not really matter as long as your responsibilities are aligned with your business goals. In the world, we live in, where employers’ loyalty to the employee is fairly low, your job title and the path through which you progress at your company or through other jobs you might take, is very important and paints a sound picture of your personal brand.

They designate pride and self-respect as well as respect among your peers and your network.

Back in the day when employees would get a job and stay there for 30 years, one could argue that job titles were not as important. However, in today’s world, your job title is important because it is just not typical anymore to be with one company for your entire career.

When you are looking to further your career in different companies it is extremely beneficial to show that you progressed throughout the years and your history of job titles plays a very important role in this.

With very low employer loyalty, many people are going out on their own to do their own thing.

Is it helpful for you to be able to say you were a manager or director (or higher) in your last job when trying to establish credibility as new provider of products or services? Absolutely.

The issue is that the titles are being misused beyond imaginable and ethical limits.

I’m not drawing any conclusions here but the local organizations should move away from using the job titles in an unethical way as a retention strategy but allow the titles to emerge from the job scope and level of authority.