Job titles and how they affect your pay

Job titles and how they affect your pay

Living in an era where we’re told that ‘labels don’t matter’ it’s easy to dismiss a job title as meaningless. No doubt you’ve been in a workplace or heard of some more quirky and imaginative job titles, and every business has a creative licence with its job titles. While ‘Site Overlord’ might be an appealing work position, there is a huge range of reasons ‘Construction Manager’ is both more appropriate and necessary. While there’s no denying your job title doesn’t (and shouldn’t) define you, there is still something to be said for being aware of what’s in your title.

Why?

Because job titles are more than just filling for an email signature. For the vast majority of us, our title is an accurate reflection of not just the work we do, but the position we hold in the business in relation to seniority, responsibility and authority.

Job titles can align with the Australian modern awards

In Australia, it’s also more than likely your job title will be directly linked to your salary level and work conditions. Modern awards were introduced in Australia in 2010 to provide minimum wage and conditions for employees.

The Australian Government Fairwork Ombudsmen states “modern awards apply to all employees covered by the national workplace relations system...modern awards are industry or occupation-based and apply to employers and employees who perform work covered by the award.”

There are currently 122 industries and occupations covered by awards, so while not all industries and roles have one the majority do. Modern awards outline a range of conditions including:

  • Minimum pay
  • Penalty rates
  • Rosters
  • Hours of work
  • Breaks
  • Overtime

Each award increases on July 1st of each year, with most awards being broken down into levels. Each level is graded and awarded a minimum wage depending on a range of factors such as job requirements, responsibilities, resource management, experience, education, expertise etc.

The significance of your job title

Job titles are often directly linked to an aligned level of your industry award. When assigned to a role correctly, job titles are significant for a number of reasons.

1. It reflects the job you do

When you start job hunting you look for a specific job title because it’s an accurate representation of the area you work in. For example, an Office Assistant clearly will be working in an office, and most probably will be providing assistance to more senior office personnel.

2. Indicates your qualifications

Many job titles require the employee to have certain qualifications and/or education level to be in the role. While it’s by no means a hard and fast rule, pay levels often reflect the level of qualification you need to do the job.

3. Shows your experience

Job titles will often reflect the level of experience you have in the industry. A Senior Account Manager will likely have more experience than regular Account Managers. Outside of award rates experience is one of the most important factors in determining an employees salary.

4. Levels of responsibility

Your title may also reflect the level of responsibility you have in the business. A manager generally has more responsibility in handling budgets, managing staff and being accountable for work completed than a coordinator.

Job titles aren’t always crystal clear, however, and it’s important to be aware of when you’re doing a job that isn’t reflected in your title. Not only can it impact your pay levels, but it can also have a significant impact on your future roles. For most of us, our career paths will be a progression through gradually more senior job titles as we gain qualifications and experience.

If you’re ready to move forward in your career and step up in your industry do our 60 second free skills check, or talk to our team on 13 17 75 to find out how you can get your previous experience certified through recognised prior learning.

Not sure what your next step is? Read our 5 step plan for your next career move.

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