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Old 12.10.2015, 16:37
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Job Titles

Are glorified job titles just a Swiss thing, or is a global phenomenon that passed me by?

The first Swiss company I worked at, had "Leads" all the way up to board level - the people reporting directly to the CIO were just "ERP Lead", "Information Security Lead", etc.

Looking at other companies, the tea-lady seems to be vice-president or director of something. In my day, I'd expect these titles to be going to senior board members, not lower-middle-management.

Is there no proper hierarchy in job titles these days? Can a Senior-Assistant-Vice-Associate-President of Pen Inventory really use their title with a straight face? Is it a way of making people feel important while treating them like slaves?

How does a recruiting HR bod reliably read CVs where a "Group Lead" in one company might be vastly more experienced and senior than a Vice-President in another.




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Old 12.10.2015, 17:02
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Re: Job Titles

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Are glorified job titles just a Swiss thing, or is a global phenomenon that passed me by?

The first Swiss company I worked at, had "Leads" all the way up to board level - the people reporting directly to the CIO were just "ERP Lead", "Information Security Lead", etc.

Looking at other companies, the tea-lady seems to be vice-president or director of something. In my day, I'd expect these titles to be going to senior board members, not lower-middle-management.

Is there no proper hierarchy in job titles these days? Can a Senior-Assistant-Vice-Associate-President of Pen Inventory really use their title with a straight face? Is it a way of making people feel important while treating them like slaves?

How does a recruiting HR bod reliably read CVs where a "Group Lead" in one company might be vastly more experienced and senior than a Vice-President in another.




mirfield
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Here is a thread where job title inflation initially caused problem of understanding here. It was the difference (or lack of it) between an 'Electrical Engineer' in the UK and a more humbly titled 'Electrician' in Switzerland. Please can an Electrical Engineer help? (regulations, qualifications, etc.) (post#8). It's also called 'job enrichment', this doling out of fancy job titles.

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Last edited by me.anon; 02.11.2015 at 00:01. Reason: Testing edit of an ancient post
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Old 12.10.2015, 17:11
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Re: Job Titles

I let my full username do the talking

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Old 12.10.2015, 17:12
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Re: Job Titles

I would be pretty annoyed if, after 5 years studying for a Masters in 'facility management' (yes, it's a real degree here in Switzerland), someone had the cheek to call me a janitor.

But seriously, I think companies have just worked out that it's cheaper and more effective to raise employee titles than to pay them higher wages. With most of the employees to whom this matters being (ex) business students anyway, the chance of anyone affected working out what's going on is very low...
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Old 12.10.2015, 17:16
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Re: Job Titles

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well briefly sir, i am the permanent undersecretary of state known as the permanent secretary. Woolley here is your principal private secretary. I too have a principal private secretary, and he is a principal private secretary to the permanent secretary. Directly responsible to me are 10 deputy secretaries, 87 undersecretaries and 219 assistant secretaries. And directly responsible to the principal private secretaries are plain private secretaries, and the prime minister will be appointing two parliamentary undersecretaries, and you will be appointing your own parliamentary private secretary.
Think that covers it
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Old 12.10.2015, 17:26
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Re: Job Titles

i think this is a Swiss thing. I was recently at one of the large reinsurance companies and everyone was either a VP or assistant VP, when i looked at the org chart it was a long way from the top. All very confusing and but they seemed very proud of their titles, which i couldn't take seriously. It makes it very difficult (from both perspectives) to ascertain the equivalent level, salary guidance and experience of the job
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Old 12.10.2015, 17:34
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Re: Job Titles

I think it is a general thing. Nowadays everyone is a Manager or an Executive, even if his role has nothing to do with that, eg. AdSales Executive -- the one who sells the advertisement space of a website.
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Old 12.10.2015, 20:38
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Re: Job Titles

In the early 90s, I had to visit an acquaintance in Dubai. He was a VP in an American bank there. I went there expecting somebody to be quite senior in the hierarchy, only to find that there were about 25 VPs, each with a desk and a chair. In the early 80s, I remember checking in for People's Express (or Piedmont, I don't remember) where the check-in agents were Customer service Directors...
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Old 12.10.2015, 21:33
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Re: Job Titles

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But seriously, I think companies have just worked out that it's cheaper and more effective to raise employee titles than to pay them higher wages. With most of the employees to whom this matters being (ex) business students anyway, the chance of anyone affected working out what's going on is very low...
It's not a new thing and also depends on how much clout you/the union have. Back in the 80's when computers were coming into use in offices in the UK, the BBC news staff went on strike for more pay over the "change in their working conditions" or some such nonsense. They won and the Beeb paid up. A few more months down the line and us poor non-unionised secretaries got a bonus - our title changed to Production Secretary and we got no pay rise at all for using the same technology.

Given the ever increasing levels of management companies seem to need nowadays (and why do you need 7 to 10 levels of them I ask?) it's no wonder job titles are going crazy.
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Old 12.10.2015, 21:44
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Re: Job Titles

Two years ago I got promoted, or so I thought. How exciting! Everything in Switzerland stays exactly the same (salary, costs, job roles) but not for me - a promotion!

Excited, as I was notified by email, I rang HR and asked for my pay-rise. Apparently I was wrong. "Sorry, but that was not a role promotion you received but a role progression. It doesn't come with any more salary". Got a nice new job title though. I'm now principle of something instead of lead of something.
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Old 12.10.2015, 22:14
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Re: Job Titles

I was Software Lead Engineer in my project once. That's because there wasn't any other soul willing to take this challenging position. We have done well in a team of three though. Sadly, there was no salary increase on the cards and in the long shot. Nor any other meaningful recognition other than a fake grin on the local boss's face. However, it will add up to my personal achievements and success stories. Somewhere, somewhen the Grandchildren will hear a bedtime story about grandpa pulling it off ...

Lead engineer is someone who got bored working with mercury and moved to higher position to work with composition of graphite and clay with different degrees of hardness.
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Old 12.10.2015, 22:56
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Re: Job Titles

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Are glorified job titles just a Swiss thing, or is a global phenomenon that passed me by?
Simple: As you might have found out is it a big no-no in corporate Switzerland to talk about money. (For some reason are you expected to be super smart and competent when it comes to the companies money, but a financial illiterate when it comes to discussing your salary.)

That's where those levels come in. In large companies are they not random, but part of usually completely over-engineered salary band models. So if two guys from the same company see each others business card do they know the seniority and roughly the income without asking...
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Old 12.10.2015, 23:45
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Re: Job Titles

I have a "Lead" and "Global" in my title too. Which is ridiculous And it says nothing. I could sell my job either way and pretend I've actually had global responsibility, when I really didn't as e.g. my US or Asian colleagues couldn't care less what I do or don't do But in our company and my guess is in others too, "Global" simply equals "HQ-based". At least with us, EVERYONE is "Global Head" of something. It's absolutely ridiculous.

I used to recruit and I absolutely despise these titles. Manager, Lead, Global-whatever, Specialist, Expert - what the heck do they all do? It says absolutely NOTHING. The title I hate the most is "Project Manager" (especially if not followed up with details). What is a project? Everything can be a project. And theres days everything is. Organising the freaking office supplies closet is a "project" too and I'm not kidding, I've seen mundane tasks like these being sold as "projects". And ironically everyone wants to be a project manager, though I'm still waiting for that ONE person to explain to me what that even means Reminds me of those kids who one day wanted to be "boss".

The titles are Anglo-influenced. No one is a Secretary these days anymore, they are all Executive Assistants now. Yeah right. And it's the same picture on every level. People with zero managerial responsibility are still "Managers" or "Head". It makes no sense whatsoever and it is terribly misleading.

About 20 years ago, Swiss comedian Peach Weber had a skit in which he said that one day, the cleaning lady will be called "Floor and Window Manager". We're actually pretty close to that becoming true

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Excited, as I was notified by email, I rang HR and asked for my pay-rise. Apparently I was wrong. "Sorry, but that was not a role promotion you received but a role progression. It doesn't come with any more salary". Got a nice new job title though. I'm now principle of something instead of lead of something.
Lol I know the feeling
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Old 12.10.2015, 23:51
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Re: Job Titles

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i think this is a Swiss thing. I was recently at one of the large reinsurance companies and everyone was either a VP or assistant VP, when i looked at the org chart it was a long way from the top. All very confusing and but they seemed very proud of their titles, which i couldn't take seriously. It makes it very difficult (from both perspectives) to ascertain the equivalent level, salary guidance and experience of the job
Do you seriously think that the Swiss have introduced job titles like "Vice president" or "Associate Director"?!?
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Old 12.10.2015, 23:53
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Re: Job Titles

Normally, I don't take offense of calling me "scientist" without preffix "principal" but if you demote me to "junior" without considering me "senior", I will simply report you to my "VP" in which case you won't get promoted to "regional executive officer's" positions. As simple as that, even "CEO" would get lambasted by "CFO" in our organization not to lose their corporate priviledges.

All those titles give me a direct "Head" ache in advance!

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Old 13.10.2015, 00:01
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Re: Job Titles

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Weber had a skit in which he said that one day, the cleaning lady will be called "Floor and Window Manager". We're actually pretty close to that becoming true
Well we already have office managers....that is just a step forward.
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Old 13.10.2015, 00:33
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Well we already have office managers....that is just a step forward.
Oh yeees, Office Managers. Seriously, what do they do??

The strange thing is that all this takes on a life of its own. Because everyone around you carries ridiculous titles, you sort of feel offended if you don't. So you too are veeery proud if you can officially call yourself Manager or Head of something, even if the main thing you do is still to bring others their coffee
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Old 13.10.2015, 08:48
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Re: Job Titles

It all kind of sounds familiar, fancy titles to appease people. I don't think this is just a Swiss thing.


To be politically correct we have some good ones too:


Gardener = Garden engineer (formerly a garden boy)
Cleaning lady = Domestic engineer (formerly a maid)
House wife = Home executive
Foreman = Maintenance coordinator
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Old 13.10.2015, 08:55
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Re: Job Titles

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well briefly sir, i am the permanent undersecretary of state known as the permanent secretary. Woolley here is your principal private secretary. I too have a principal private secretary, and he is a principal private secretary to the permanent secretary. Directly responsible to me are 10 deputy secretaries, 87 undersecretaries and 219 assistant secretaries. And directly responsible to the principal private secretaries are plain private secretaries, and the prime minister will be appointing two parliamentary undersecretaries, and you will be appointing your own parliamentary private secretary.
...and who does the typing?




Back OT, as far as I can tell it all started in the US. Back in the 90s we all had normal titles and quietly laughed at the Americans where the very lowest level was VP or Director of something. Can't laugh at them for that any more.
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Old 13.10.2015, 09:02
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Re: Job Titles

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...and who does the typing?
Mrs Mackay - she's the secretary!Regional head of information transformation.
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