Job Titles: Are they Important?

6th October 2017
Catherine Vickery

Job Titles. Although many people don’t like to be labelled, in the world of recruitment, we are all job titles. Whether you are a Commercial Finance Analyst, a Finance Manager or a Group Finance Director, our titles are what define us at work. They give us a sense of worth, job satisfaction, and are often linked to our position within a business. When applying for future jobs, we often use our current job title as a way of immediately projecting to potential employers where we are within our career.

But are job titles really as important as society would have us believe? It’s often a good idea to look behind the initial words and see job titles for what they really are: a focus for our responsibilities.

What’s in a Name?

For many roles, a job title is literally just the words that front it. For example, a Financial Controller is so titled as they manage a company’s financial affairs and carry out a controllership role over the company’s assets. However, they may not actually be a member of the company’s senior leadership team.

Similarly the reverse of this could be true. You may be an extremely valued member of a company, but perhaps have a job title which doesn’t reflect the amount of responsibility or autonomy you have. Don’t get too hung up on the words themselves; in a future job interview situation, you can easily explain what your role actually entails and what impact you have provided to the business you work for.

The Same Job Title can Mean Different Things

Two different people with the same job title in two different organisations can actually have very different roles and experiences.

For example, a Finance Director in a £1million pound company will do a very different role – and get paid a very different salary – to a Finance Director of a £100million company. That’s why it’s important to sometimes look beyond the job title. Aim for career moves which provide a good cultural fit and reflect where you are in terms of your experience and skills.

Cultural Fit vs. Job Title

With stress levels on the rise, candidates and recruitment consultants realise the importance of cultural fit for both employees and employers. If you love your job title but have the Sunday night blues each week, it may be that you don’t have the right cultural fit for your place of work.

Think about what is important to you. What values do you hold? Does the company encourage you to adopt these values in your day to day work? Or, are you compromising your values by working for the company?

An amazing job title won’t be enough if your style of working doesn’t fit the organisation’s expectations. It may even limit your career prospects. Future employers will make a negative judgement of you if it is perceived that you are more focused on the job title than what you can contribute to the business.

Similarly, taking a position with a job title which could initially be seen as a downgrade on your current position isn’t necessarily a bad thing if the overall situation is right. For example, moving from a Group Financial Controller position into a Financial Controller position within a single entity structure may give you more automony, greater responsibility and more scope to expand your skills further down the line.

See the Bigger Picture

If you’re in a job that you enjoy, in which you’re respected, valued and well paid, is having the job title you desire that important? If the other aspects of your role are of greater importance to you, then why not simply enjoy the job that you have? For many people, a business offering the right cultural fit or a flexible or modern working environment is of greater importance than merely holding the desired job title.

However, if it is important to you, then speak to your line manager about a potential change. Be prepared to have your question challenged, so do your research first. Once you’ve done so, approach your manager and ask whether your title can be changed accordingly.

Finding a fulfilling career is important to many people, whether a respected job title is included or not. By using a specialist recruitment consultancy, you’ll have access to the strong rapport they will have built with a company, allowing them to really understand their corporate culture and advise if you are a good match. If you’re looking to make the next move within your career, MacKenzie King can help. Placing candidates in a variety of roles within accountancy and finance recruitment Essex, Suffolk and Kent wide, we can help you to find the perfect career for you, regardless of job title.