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Friday, 29 April 2022 09:28

Job Title Inflation

As we endure the current cost of living crisis, exacerbated by record high fuel prices, the war in Ukraine and a predicted continued upward trend in interest rates, most employers will want to support their employees as much as they possibly can. Despite best intentions however, it’s unlikely that many businesses will be able to afford pay rises high enough to put much of a dent in the effects of inflation, which last month was recorded at 7%.

With job vacancies still hovering at a record high of about 1.2million, many employees are fully aware that they currently weald a lot of leverage over their employers when it comes to demanding ever-higher pay increases. Moreover, this extends beyond the more traditionally specialised roles and industries such as IT, Digital Technologies and medical. We’re seeing signs that the hospitality and care sectors are equally being pressured into paying higher wages to recruit and retain workers.

A significant influencing factor of this issue is the ease with which individuals are able to compare their earnings with that of other, similar positions; or at least positions with similar job titles. Recruitment websites such as Indeed, make it very easy for employees to scan vacancies and compare their salaries with those on offer from recruiting companies.

Armed with this information they then feel empowered to insist that their existing employer match their pay to that of the positions on offer. The idea of losing an experienced member of staff, coupled with expected recruitment costs and the lag in productivity whilst a new recruit is brought up to speed can be enough for an employer to relent and meet the demands.

The knock-on effect is that businesses now have to increase prices to meet their higher wage bill, which in turn are passed on to consumers, stoking the flames of inflation and leading to more wage demands. Thus creating a vicious circle that continues to drive inflation.

Amongst all of this is the added wages inflation that is derived from our fixation with job titles.

Many people attach a lot of status and prestige to their job title, and that’s fair enough. People should feel proud of their achievements and of the position they hold within an organisation. However, whilst job titles can be very similar, or even identical in different businesses, the actual duties, responsibilities and accountabilities can be poles apart.

It’s only when we drill down into a job description which details the roles and responsibilities of a particular job that we can draw any meaningful comparisons. However, this may not be properly and thoroughly investigated when an employee demands more pay because they have seen the “same job” at another organisation paying £5,000 more. In other words, although the job title is the same, the duties might be very different meaning we may not be truly measuring like for like.

Equally, when recruiting, it can be a mistake to rely on job title alone. Job roles tend to evolve with an organisation, so even though you might have clearly designed duties for your own payroll manager for example, when recruiting for a new one, you must be clear of the duties and levels of responsibility you are expecting a new recruit to work to.

And this works both ways. Someone currently employed as a marketing assistant may have the skills and knowledge that you would attribute to a marketing manager, and so shouldn’t be dismissed out of hand.

Clear and comprehensive job descriptions are clearly something that employers should be striving to maintain if they want to recruit at the correct level and well as keep a check on what their employees think they are worth. Job descriptions should be living documents that evolve with the position and are kept up to date to reflect duties and levels of accountability.

You can hear more about effective job descriptions at our forthcoming Talent Management seminar in June and if you would like a discussion around your job descriptions, we’re available on 01452 331331 or via e-mail on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

Read 258 times Last modified on Friday, 29 April 2022 09:37

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