Job Titles for the 21st Century

By: Nancy Ordman

Which job title will entice more applicants: HR Specialist or People Partner? Managing Editor or Director of Storytelling?

These are a couple of the updated job titles discovered by Rachel Premack of Business Insider. In a labor market with extremely low unemployment, companies are frequently fishing in the same pool for workers with up-to-date education and skills. Rather than hanging a modifier like executive from an existing traditional title – Executive Managing Editor – companies will advertise for a Director of Storytelling. According to Pearl Meyer, 40 percent of companies believe that job titles attract candidates. If this is an accurate statistic, tweaking titles might be a good idea.

Why do companies think updated job titles will work? The unexpected juxtaposition of a standard job-title word, like data, with a more colorful and possibly descriptive word like wrangler, will attract attention. Hiring managers are betting that millennials, in particular, will notice. A side effect is that these renamed jobs will present a company’s image as progressive and unstuffy. Many jobs never existed before the last few years, so their titles reflect technology and roles unthinkable in the baby boom generation.

Source: Jim Whitehurst,

A few companies allow employees to pick their own titles, a practice that, according to Thomas Schoenfelder of HR consulting firm Caliper, inspires new hires to take ownership of their new positions quickly. While this practice might call to mind upgraded titles of the past, like maintenance engineer for janitor, as long as the new title is not vulgar the plusses for both company and employee negate the disadvantages. For employees in creative roles, a creative title can sound appropriate.

A Google search for “millennial job titles” uncovered a plethora of titles ranging from the clever to the merely ridiculous. Silicone Republic published this list in 2017. Take a look and guess what the person with each title actually does at work.

Space Lawyer: Yes, space law is a genuine discipline, a subset of international law referring to the body of law governing space-related activities.

Digital Prophet and Tech Evangelist: The actual duties of these two visionary job roles will vary depending on the company, ranging from touting a new product — marketing — to predicting the future.

Paranoid in Chief: According to Silicon Republic, this is the title of the head of Yahoo’s cybersecurity division. The division itself is called The Paranoids.

Social Alchemist: The incumbent might be an expert at social media management; Silicon Republic is not sure.

Galactic Viceroy of Research Excellence: The title belonged to a Microsoft employee who did cloud research.