Job Titles in the Communciations Industry - Just How Important Are They?

5 October 2016

The communications industry is an ever-evolving beast, as disciplines such as PR, social media and marketing become more integrated and part of a wider storytelling function. This has brought with it changes to job titles and an evolution in their importance. Candidates therefore need to be aware of the fluidity of their title.

Communications professionals who are looking for their next opportunity will often put a lot of emphasis on their job title. If they are a PR Manager now, they will hope to be a Senior PR Manager or Head of PR in their next position. If they are an Account Executive in one PR agency, they will seek a Senior Account Executive job title in another. Whilst this is a logical progression and certainly provides a useful framework, it pays to be more open-minded about titles. What one company might require of their PR Manager may be quite dissimilar to the requirements of another.

We’ve seen this to be particularly true of titles in PR agencies. You might expect a typical Account Executive to have around one year’s experience, and whilst this is the case across a lot of companies, it doesn’t equate with others. Somewhere else, an Account Executive might be required to have up to around 3 years’ experience. Some agencies skip out the Senior Account Executive job title altogether, and jump straight from Account Executive to Account Manager or Consultant.

Similarly at the more senior end, a lot of agencies don’t have a Senior Account Manager title, and even if they do, the person might well be undertaking responsibilities that an Account Director would normally be given. In-house, a Senior Press Officer in one company may be doing the same job as a PR Manager elsewhere. Your title therefore does not always accurately describe your years’ experience, skillsets or knowledge.

So how do communications professionals go about assessing a new opportunity without letting the title sway them? It’s important to consider the skills the new opportunity will help you to develop. Will you be able to build on your existing skillset, and expand it further? What challenges will you be given that you are not facing at the moment, which will grow your career? Is there an opportunity for progression and training in the company, even if your new job title is no different from your current one?

Don’t be afraid of moving to a new company and taking the same title, as long as your skills are developed, you are learning something new and there is a chance for progression. Even if you move from being a PR Manager to a Head of Communications, if the role has exactly the same responsibilities and requires the same abilities as your previous role, you will quickly get bored and frustrated.

Job titles are there to give us structure and a point of reference, but don’t get hung up on them. If you spot a role you think would progress you, but the job title is not ideal, don’t be put off – you might unwittingly be avoiding your next dream role.

For any further advice about job titles or the communications industry, drop us a line or give us a call! – 020 7009 3500.