Job Title vs. Salary Increment?

By Sophia Wong, Associate Consultant – Human Resources & Administration, Links International Hong Kong

Candidates may have encountered the struggle between job title and salary.

Would you choose a better title or a higher salary increment for your next big move? In fact, it is pretty much choosing between an apple or an orange. Let me break down a few points to ensure your career is not going south:

  1. Job title can be confusing but job scope cannot. Companies have their own ways to define roles and titles. For example, what an HR manager does in a local office can be very different compared to a regional office, in terms of the requirements of different skillsets, stakeholder management, travel frequency, and even business domain knowledge. Therefore, the title doesn’t say much about what you are capable of; your responsibilities can speak for themselves. For example: If you are moving from a local company to an MNC company with no title promotion, this can be easily justified.
  2. The salary speaks for itself as well. Another significant indicator of your promotion is your salary increment. Many candidates might be unaware that the salary you earn does reflect your value on the market. Therefore, candidates with a higher pay and lower title can try to leverage that point to get a better title for your next job, in order to keep your career on track. Additionally, I would highly recommend you to discuss the title issue with your recruitment consultant before going to the interview, in order to play the card right when the line manager challenges you on this subject.
  3. Try to figure out what title and money mean to you and adjust your strategy. People have different goals in their career, and not many people try to figure out what they want to achieve in the long term. Therefore, firstly, we have to define what title and salary mean in your job. I would recommend candidates to talk to your recruiter in regards to your long term (5-10 year) career goal. For instance, if you are an HR Assistant and you want to be an HR Director/Manager in 10 years’ time, you are more than welcome to tell your recruiter, because they have handled similar cases and they will give you advice that will assist in making this happen.
  4. Interview first, then ask for flexibility. Candidates who are currently above manager level often think that if the company gives them the title they want, then they will proceed with the application. However, this may not be the brightest consideration in recruitment. The true fact is that many large scale organisations have their own flexibility to adjust the pay or title for senior grading candidates. However, if the candidates request to adjust their pay or title even before the interview or at the beginning of the recruitment stage, it may show that the candidate is over-confident and may leave a bad impression on the HR/hiring manager. Therefore, my humble advice would be: don’t be afraid to go to the interview, have a nice chat with the company and do the negotiation at the final stage.

If you’d like to speak to one of our team about how we can help you take your career to the next level, please do not hesitate to contact us.