How Much Will Job Titles Really Matter In The Future?


The reality is that customers, investors and consumers just want their problems solved and titles don’t solve problems only hard working and talent people solve problems, writes ANDILE MAKARING

How much value is your job title worth? This has been a question lingering around for decades and has even affected people’s productivity levels be it having a high sense of privilege or discouragement relative to their job title. There have been suggestions and research from institutions, academics and organisational psychologists indicating that what an employee does in their line of work matters more than their title they are associated with. Besides making employees feel good, how much do their job titles really matter?

Fundamentally a job title is a name that describes someone’s job or position and people take a job for mainly two reasons which is for the money or what they going to learn from the job. “An experienced screener or recruiter will quickly look at a title and even more quickly go to the content of a job,” says Jim Link, chief human resources officer at employment agency Randstad.

In other words many job titles are misleading not exactly informing you what someone actually does e.g. a solopreneur telling you that they are the CEO which might be true but in reality they are not managing or directing anything (especially in a business comprising just one person) to justify a big title such as CEO. The point is that job titles may imply a certain level of status but if you go deep in the surface you realise the hollowness that prevails.

The rising digital disruption and fourth industrialisation has led various organisations in South Africa to come up with bizarre job titles such as chief happiness/future officer which are titles that were nonexistent a few years ago. Although it is very impractical to imagine a time without job titles, it is clear though that titles are whatever organisations make them to be. The issue of titles gets deeper even to our personal encounters as we link them to personal identity where typically when we meet someone new one of the first questions we ask “So, what do you do?

This traditional thinking of titles needs to be reversed and changed as with the shift from corporate to consumer power in decision making and influence the best ideas have become from bottom-up rather that the old way of top-down approach with job titles of CEO’s making decisions. The reality is that customers, investors and consumers just want their problems solved and titles don’t solve problems only hard working and talent people solve problems.

 2 Ways To Foster A Job Titles Culture For Leaders

  • Inclusion of all ranks of employees in decision making meetings
  • Having diversity within organisations that share important roles and responsibilities

The era of the significance of job titles is over the focus is only on productivity which fortunately with technology and data outputs it can be measurable by quickly pointing out all the lazy executives with fancy titles who have for long got away with being comfortable walking around with their business cards and name tags bragging about their titles.

Makaring is a leading expert in the Technology and Media industry, he often assists companies and organisations in strategy, leadership consulting and facilitation. His highly disciplined insights have made him a sought after commentary for many media outlets such as Cliff Central, Power FM and Republic Mail. He was among the Top 20 finalists of One Day Leader 2017 under 25 by SABC Entrepreneurship Show.