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Use of "Junior / Senior" in job titles?

Use of Junior Senior in job titles

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I have been asked to recruit for a "Junior Administrator" within our accounts department. I am aware that we are recommended not to use such words it job adverts bearing in mind the change in legislation concerning age discrimination in 2006 and that such language coule be indirect discrimination. But how will this affect job titles?

Would an exsisting job title such as Senior Accounts Manager need to be chandged or if it exsisted pre Oct 2006 is it ok?

I think we should select a different title for the administration role so that we are preparing for the forthcoming legislation. The recruiting manager has raised the question - "would exsisting job titles have to change?"

I think that its a good idea to move away from such job titles especially if they are to be affected by Oct 2006.

Your thoughts are greatly appreciated!
Lucy Hibbert

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By User deleted
29th Nov 2005 11:14

You have in part touched on the thorny problem of job titles. A lot is in an individual's perception and whilst I think that few people expect a "Senior" Administrator/Sales Executive, etc to automatically be near retirement, many do think that "junior" implies someone under 21! Other options could be to use Adminstrative Assistant or Assistant Administrator. Why not ask people in the department what job title they would suggest?

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By User deleted
06th Dec 2005 10:06

if this is where we are going what the heck is a Junior Minister or an Under Secretary of State, and how soon will it be before (s)he instigates a very expensive lawsuit on us all.

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By User deleted
29th Nov 2005 10:24

Hi Lucy

This does sound a little like a 'PC gone mad' headline waiting to happen, but it could provide you with an opportunity to rethink job titles in a positive way.

Why do you need to have a Junior Administrator? Could it be that what you really need is an Administrator? For that matter why do you need a Senior Accounts Administrator? Could it be that you either need an Accounts Administrator or an Accounts Administration Manager?

We often find that there's a range of job titles from Deputy Assistant Junior Administrator up, and it's all about establishing a pecking order and providing the illusion of a career path, rather than actual career development and real motivation.

This could be a good time to investigate streamlining all your job titles.

Good luck


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By kluxon
28th Nov 2005 13:53


At the risk of being un-"PC" I am tempted to suggest that I would not get too hung up over job titles. Whilst the legislation will clearly be a major change it may not be as far reaching or as revolutionary as many in the HR community fear at the moment. Lets wait and see a little.

On your specific question...yes words like Junior and Senior "could" be seen to be ageist, BUT they are also very helpful descriptions and likely to be well understood by your candidates. My view is that as long as you are clear what the difference is between a Junior and a Senior and this is in terms of demonstrable skills or necessary experience I would not get hung up on the title.

You might like to consider what the alternative is anyway? Unless we are to get into a world of Accounts Clerk 1 and Accounts Clerk 2 which means nothing to anyone some common sense is surely needed.

Interestingly (well i think so!) would there be such a hang up if your two roles were just Administrator and Senior Administrator? If so is this reverse ageism?

As a HR profession lets concentrate on getting rid of ageist practices rather than getting hung up on PC debates.


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By User deleted
28th Nov 2005 14:37

Sorry but who ever came up with the bright idea that Junior and Senior is indirect discrimination really ought to grow up. This is total PC hog wash and we as HR should be jumping on it from the highest heights.

It's like the rubbish about not using man and women in job titles sorry but you are one or the other end of story.

What matters is ensuring that a person is not discrimination because someone is black, white, male, female, gay, straight
or any point in between.

It's things like that get HR a bad name.

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By patward
01st Dec 2005 15:53

Hi Lucy,

It might interest you to note that we've just launched a new series looking at the use of potentially ageist terms in recruitment ads. Please see the first tip by Lucy Lewis, associate in the employment and incentives department of Lewis Silkin on the use of the term 'young'.

Bite-size learning: Age discrimination

I hope this helps.

Best Wishes, Annie Hayes, Editor HR Zone

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