Job title inflation; say hello to our entry-level head of?

Job title inflation; say hello to our entry-level head of?

Whether it’s Gen Z wanting to fast track progression, or cash-strapped employers trying to save on money but keep staff engaged, job title inflation – the process of giving an employee a more important-sounding job title – has caused an influx of new, more senior-sounding job titles to enter the market without the experience, skills or salaries to match. 

Positions featuring ‘Lead’ or ‘Manager’ in the job title, with a maximum of two years’ experience were up a combined +53% in the UK and Ireland over the last year. 

However, according to Data People, job listings that use the title of ‘Senior’ incorrectly can see a -39% decrease in applicants.

In 2022, accounting firm, EY, appointed over 1,000 new partners, however the latest cohort will not have access to the traditional share of equity that comes with the title – bringing to question what relevance the title holds today.

Janine Blacksley, Director of Walters People, said: “It used to be the case that titles like Lead, Principle, Partner and VP took years of experience and hard work – however, that now seems to be changing, with professionals being awarded such titles, despite only being in the primary stages of their career.

“Employers must be aware that the pendulum swings both ways – attaching senior titles to junior positions can deter suitable candidates as much as it attracts them – making them feel too underqualified to apply.”

Are Gen Zs asking for too much, too fast?

According to a poll by staffing firm, Walters People, over half of Gen Zs expect to be promoted every 12-18 months, and if they don’t receive this they start looking elsewhere.

Blacksley added: “Young workers have cottoned on to how candidate-short the market is, particularly at the junior end where we are still contending with the bottleneck caused by grad schemes being paused at the height of the pandemic.

“With that, young workers hold most of the cards and so if they do not get the promotion, aka fancy job title, from their current employer, they know that this will be on offer elsewhere for them.”

Are Gen Zs worthy of the title?

When asking Gen Zs what qualities they feel they bring to the table, 40% stated that their ideas and creative thinking was their best asset, followed by a third claiming digital know-how, and a quarter stating that they aren’t afraid to stand up for what they feel is right and push the company forward in a different direction.

Managers, on the other hand, stated that what Gen Z lack in experience, they make up for in perseverance (33%) and entrepreneurial mindset (27%) – with two-thirds of employers expressing how impressed they are with the level of autonomy this generation is able to handle.

The drawback to this is that social skills have taken a hit. An overwhelming 70% of hiring managers state that soft skills such as communication, relationship management, rapport building and collaborative working are all lacking in this generation.

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