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What's in a title?

Jennifer Kenworthy
does a title indicate career progression

For job seekers, a change in title indicates career progression. Whether considering a move within a current organisation or externally, many job seekers look for advancement in title to demonstrate progression in their career. Recruiters advertise roles by job title and in this fast paced, short attention span, digital world, many job seekers scan over advertised roles (often on their smart phones) that don't have the 'right' title. In truth, the responsibilities that sit under job titles vary extensively from organisation to organisation. Brand Management in FMCG is a great example.

The generation Y Marketing Managers of the future will have a different career path to those generation X'ers gone before them. We can farewell the days when FMCG marketers cemented their experience at a Brand Manager level across various categories and businesses. I have found that the drive for a lot of Brand Managers to look for a new role is title. "I only want to hear about Senior Brand Manager roles", is the start of many conversations I have each week. What has caused this?

We have experienced a very competitive candidate market in recent years and many organisations have resorted to a quick internal promotion of their people into roles with 'bigger' titles in order to hold onto great talent. Many candidates feel that progression looks like bigger marketing budgets, a larger brand in revenue terms or a direct report. In truth, there is a lot to be gained in managing brands with other parameters and challenges. Imagine if you could be the marketer who turns around a commodity brand in a house brand dominant category. Or the marketer who can generate uplifts in brand awareness through a savvy social media campaign that you may have spent $5000 on. It might not be as sexy and TV campaigns however, as many businesses develop their talent for general management, it's the commercial skills that will project your career. How much money can you make is more important than how much you can spend.

On the flip side of this, the same thought process needs to be applied when hiring your next gun! A candidate with the title 'Assistant Brand Manager' may in fact, have the same level of accountability in their roles as 'Brand Mangers' in your business. They may be in a smaller business where their ability to make decisions and have an impact on the commercial success of the business is greater due to fewer layers of management. Title is important, although it is more important to understand what's beyond the headline when making your next employment decision.