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Competencies Job Descriptions

What Does The Word 'Senior' In A Job Title Really Mean?

By Brian Crook on May, 29 2018
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Brian Crook

Are organizations today using the word 'senior' in front of their job titles to promote internally because of length of service? 

Does being in a role & meeting certain conditions qualify you for senior status?

In this post, we'll look at the following points:

  • What a senior job title means in today's workforce
  • The problem with most senior job titles
  • How HRSG software can help you determine a 'true' senior job title


A Senior Job Title in Today's World

In my experience, the word 'senior' is often applied for the wrong reasons to a job title and establishes an outdated hierarchical order.

In most organizations that use such titles, the word 'senior' implies superiority over junior employees. Junior employees strive to become a senior employee because they see it as a badge of honor and a confirmation that they are a 'worthy' employee. 


The Issue with Most Senior Job Titles

The problem is that in today's workforce, we find many junior employees are genuinely talented.

If people assume that the equation (senior job title > junior job title) is always true, this can have negative implications for an organization.

For instance, simply having the word 'senior' in your job title doesn't necessarily equal talent

Sadly, it seems many companies allow employees to add the word 'senior' to their title merely for length of service.  More often than not, being qualified in your role or being in your role for many years does not necessarily equate to a senior job title.

In the last company I worked for, the word 'senior' was blooming on just about every job title available (like flowers in spring).  There were senior implementation consultant and senior HR business reps but the solid justification for such a title (the word 'senior') was sorely missing. 


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How to Determine a Senior Job Title (with software)

Our unique software (CompetencyCore) uses competency modeling to determine whether an employee meets job requirements. These competencies are objective, clearly defined and have various types (behavioral, technical and leadership).

This means you can make a qualified assessment of which employees truly deserve to have a senior job title. 

This graphic below shows how employee competencies are compared against job requirements within HRSG's CompetencyCore career pathing software


employee career pathing solutions


For those employees craving seniority within your organization, you can use competency-based career pathing to set them on the correct path.

This ensures they remain committed, engaged and obtain the necessary skills to succeed in positions that require more responsibility. 



Post last updated: June 23, 2020.