Job Title vs. Compensation: The FQ Community Sounds off on Which Is More Important

Job Title vs. Compensation: The FQ Community Sounds off on Which Is More Important

Is your title or your pay more important? This can be a tough question to answer for many women who are trying to advance upward on the career ladder, especially in sectors that have been traditionally male dominated. While a title change might incur more respect and garner more credibility, higher pay is, well…. higher pay. Fair and equitable compensation for women is essential to driving the equality needle forward. 

We surveyed our FQ community to help us better understand and asked them: What do you think is most important when it comes to climbing the career ladder? Is it better pay, or a better title?

Some women firmly believe that compensation is king in the conversation of advancing women in the workplace.

Beate Bellina, an officer manager and executive assistant based in New York says, “Better pay is more important. Title means nothing.”

Another FQ community member (who prefers to remain anonymous) believes it’s a close race between title and compensation, but that a title carries a lot of weight in the professional world. More than just a simple description of your duties, job titles can affect the trajectory of your career, as well as how much you make in the present and in the future. 

According to FlexJobs, job titles signal to hiring managers, external clients, and internal colleagues where you have been and where you are headed. A job title also might dictate preconceived notions and perceptions about who you are and where you fall on your company’s totem pole.

She says, “I lean toward job title, but it really depends! I am currently an executive assistant making $95k, and I am moving on to another EA job that pays $130k. While job searching, I interviewed for two program manager roles that paid $65, another that paid $75K, and a senior associate role that paid $90k-$100k. While all of these jobs would get me a much better title that would advance my career trajectory, they would also dramatically cut my family’s budget. Fortunately, the role I’m transitioning into offers both higher compensation and career development, but my family and I were prepared to take a pay cut for the sake of moving my career in a new direction.”

A recent study conducted by Aquant found that 70% of respondents would take a better job title over more money — some as much as $10,000 less! This is especially true for Millennials who value social status and being well-defined professionally. The respect and appreciation that comes with an advanced job title is beneficial, but it also should be noted that respect and value should be shown to every member of the team, regardless of title. 

For Sema Gornall, the founder and CEO at PowerSuit and the CEO at The Vavengers, while there is value and importance in titles, she also firmly believes women should not have to choose. 

She says, “A better title worked much better for me as I wasn’t allowed to claim my own contribution and success in roles where my title didn’t reflect my leadership. But more importantly, we need to create a world where women don’t have to choose between title and pay and have it all.”

We could not agree more, Sema. 

Written by

Stephanie, who affectionately goes by Stevie, is the content strategist for The Female Quotient. Her passion for storytelling has sustained her career in magazines and online content for the past decade as an editor, reporter and writer. She has lived a number of lives from an event assistant to a creative writing teacher in juvenile halls to the former Online Managing Editor at Darling Magazine.