More employers in Singapore inflating job titles, 24% increase in positions with ‘Manager’ and ‘Director’ titles, even for junior roles: poll

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Despite intentions to attract talent through inflating job titles, Recruitment firm Robert Walters Singapore warns of limited success and potential challenges for both employers and employees.

Despite intentions to attract talent through inflating job titles, Recruitment firm Robert Walters Singapore warns of limited success and potential challenges for both employers and employees. (PHOTO: Getty Images)

SINGAPORE — More employers in Singapore were inflating job titles for roles in 2023, polling from recruitment agency Robert Walters Singapore has found. According to the agency, the last year saw a 24 per cent increase in positions with titles such as “Manager” and “Director”, even for roles intended for professionals with only two years of experience.

In a media release on Monday (11 March), Robert Walters Singapore said that it conducted LinkedIn polls in January 2024 involving over 150 professionals. The agency found that 85 per cent of these professionals agreed that the job title is important or very important when applying for a role.

It also found that among young professionals, 35 per cent expect to be promoted within 12 months of joining a company.

However, while aimed at attracting and retaining talent, the agency said that efforts to inflate titles yielded limited success, and instead potentially caused problems for employers and employees.

Job title inflation, as described by Robert Walters Singapore, refers to companies offering inflated or exaggerated job titles that may not accurately reflect the position’s responsibilities, seniority, or salary.

What are some of the issues that could arise with an inflated job title

Despite some companies trying to inflate job titles, their success rates varied considerably.

Among the companies surveyed, 43 per cent of hiring managers admitted to having inflated or considering inflating job titles to attract or retain professionals. However, only 21 per cent reported that such a strategy achieved the desired effect.

Because of inflated titles, fellow professionals may also not view a job title as a major indicator of seniority or the level of responsibility and experience tied to a position.

According to the findings, managing a team (46 per cent) and the importance of the job (34 per cent) were seen as the top indicators of seniority. In comparison, only 20 per cent believed that a C-Suite/Head-of title reflected seniority.

Monty Sujanani, Country Manager at Robert Walters Singapore, said that while job title inflation did attract talent as “employees with inflated titles may feel more important and valued in an organisation, it may not be accurate as it needs to be pegged to the actual job scope”.

He further cautioned that inflating job titles could lead to confusion regarding job roles, which could potentially result in tasks being neglected. There was also a chance it could cause a talent mismatch or lead to resentment among employees.

The recruitment agency also advised hiring managers to refrain from inflating job titles, as this could lead to inefficiencies and inequalities within the organisation, and could ultimately result in employee turnover.

“Clearly defining roles and responsibilities, and having accurate job titles can help to ensure fairness”, added Monty.

Monty Sujanani, Country Manager at Robert Walters Singapore, cautions about the consequences of job title inflation. While it may attract talent, he stresses the importance of aligning titles with actual job scopes to avoid confusion and potential resentment among employeesMonty Sujanani, Country Manager at Robert Walters Singapore, cautions about the consequences of job title inflation. While it may attract talent, he stresses the importance of aligning titles with actual job scopes to avoid confusion and potential resentment among employees

Monty Sujanani, Country Manager at Robert Walters Singapore, cautions about the consequences of job title inflation. While it may attract talent, he stresses the importance of aligning titles with actual job scopes to avoid confusion and potential resentment among employees. (PHOTO: Getty Images)

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