Job title inflation is the emergence of new, more senior sounding job titles entering the market without the experience, skills or salaries to match. A recent study by recruitment firm Robert Walters suggests this is a fast-rising trend.
Over the last year, positions featuring ‘Lead’ or ‘Manager’ in the job title - requiring up to just two years of experience - were up a combined 53% in the UK and Ireland.
Gen-Zs leading the trend
Some point to the trend being led by Gen Z - the generation newest to the jobs market, but perhaps the most outspoken.
According to the survey, an impressive 52% of young professionals - if given the option - said they would take on a more senior role that they may not be ‘fully qualified for’ yet, compared with less than one-third of their older counterparts who stated the same.
As well as this, over half of Gen Zs expect to be promoted every 12-18 months.
- 53% increase in senior-sounding job titles in the past year
- 52% of Gen Zs expect annual promotion
- 47% of young workers do not see managing someone else as an indicator of seniority
- 40% of Gen Zs believe their ‘ideas’ is their strongest asset
- Over a quarter of employers believe young workers are more ‘entrepreneurial’ than previous generations
- 70% of employers claim Gen Z lack critical soft skills
The effects of job-title inflation in the PR Industry
- Attraction and retention - Giving fancy-sounding titles which they are proud of instils a feeling of importance and value to the business - which can help to boost morale and reduce turnover.
- Branding for small firms - If you are a new PR agency or start-up, offering more important sounding titles can be an effective strategy to help draw candidates away from companies who have an established brand.
- Cost saving - Where the money not be available for salary increases - which is unfortunately becoming more commonplace - job-title inflation can an effective way to offer the feeling of progression without having to foot the bill that often comes with this.
- Loss of credibility - Employers who inflate job titles can quickly lose credibility to clients. Public relations is an experience-based industry, so if an employee has a certain title, certain capabilities will be expected and if professionals don’t have the experience or skills to fulfil what is expected - the lack of expertise will be reflected on the company.
- Career growth stalled - Ironically, whilst younger PR professionals initially see an inflated title as a progression it could have the adverse effect by causing confusion at the level a professional is working at and therefore making it more difficult for them to compete in the jobs market.
- Skills misrepresented - An inflated job title portrays less-experienced professionals as working at a higher level - this could lead to them being put forward to work on projects or in charge of accounts they aren’t experienced enough to handle. Considering that PR is a field that requires intuition, creativity and independent working - there will be less chance they’ll have a colleague to lean on.
The featured stats and research come from a mixture of polls, diversity and inclusion research and market intelligence on job titles - all carried out by Robert Walters.
Written by Susie Wei, manager of marketing recruitment at Robert Walters UK
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