You have to work hard to get your dream job. But your dream job title might just be a pay cut away.
According to one hiring expert, more and more job applicants initiate conversations about lowering their starting salaries in favor of getting the job title they want, with no change to their job description and responsibilities.
“The title is part of the package when you’re accepting a job, so it is significant,” said CEO and founder of ABS Staffing Solutions Ariel Schur. But having been in the industry for 15 years, serving several thousand candidates, she says this phenomenon — people prioritizing what they’re going to be called at the cost of what they’re going to be paid — is fairly new.
This isn’t about a sales associate candidate walking up to the negotiation table and asking to be referred to as the Vice President of Marketing. The alternative title that they present is typically interchangeable in the eyes of the employer, but can make all of the difference — socially or professionally — for the applicant. A candidate might ask to be called “Senior Manager” rather than “Associate” to make sure they’re showing progress in their career.
At her own staffing company, Schur sees candidates requesting a new job title about about 20% of the time. Applicants who move to negotiations typically start at about $5,000 off of their annual salary, but she has seen them willing to go down as much as $10,000 for a different title — almost the cost of a down payment on a house in a handful of states.