240 Unique Job Titles

In 2021-2022 we carried out a salary survey of our network of law firm Risk & Compliance professionals, in which we recorded 240 unique titles. This seems like a huge number of titles to be in use in a relatively small space.

What can we learn from this, and what does this mean for your career, and for your team?

Explaining the trend

Does 240 unique titles equal 240 unique roles? The answer is, probably not. It's likely there is a lot of crossover, and many of these roles will be similar. If dissimilar titles relate to similar roles, likewise, similar titles could belong to wildly different roles.

Law firms use a myriad of ways to title their Risk & Compliance teams. Often, those decisions have been made by looking inwards, rather than outwards. Firms look at how they do things and what their immediate needs are, rather than at the wider space and considering what might be an attractive career path. There’s no standard out there for them to follow, so each firm has had to make its own rules.

The Risk & Compliance space is relatively new and it is still developing. We can see that different firms are having to take different approaches to managing Risk & Compliance because they’re creating such a huge variety of roles and titles, and approaching team structures in different ways.

Advice for candidates

For a candidate, it means you don’t need to worry too much about your title. It might seem exciting to add ‘Senior’ in front of your title, but the title itself may not mean much to anyone else anyway. Don't judge a book by its cover and don’t make an assessment about an opportunity based on its title. Your assumptions could well be wrong.

Instead of aspiring to titles, aspire to growth, development, and exposure, as these are the things that will benefit your career progression in real terms. Dig deeper than the title to assess a role and understand what the position will actually involve you doing.

Advice for clients

Our advice to HR professionals and hiring managers is similar, don’t judge a candidate by the title they currently have or what titles are listed on their CV. Don’t assume that their role as a Conflicts Analyst is the same as the Conflicts Analyst in your firm. You could be miles off the mark and miss out on an excellent candidate as a result.

Equally, candidates with very different titles could be doing similar roles. It's always worth taking the time to read their whole CV instead of just skimming through the titles. Look beyond their title when you’re assessing a potential hire.

There are 240 titles out there to consider when naming your team, and some of them will be more attractive than others. If you get feedback that the titles you're using are unattractive to candidates, don’t hesitate to consider the other 239 out there that are also in use, or even make up some new ones.

One common titling mistake that we see frequently is the use of ‘Junior’ or ‘Assistant’ in a title when the firm actually wants to hire someone with experience. Removing this is an easy fix, and will allow you to bring better, warmer candidates into interview. There are other titling strategies in use at other firms, where the candidates who are turning down your role because of title will end up. Don't be afraid to rethink your strategy.

If you’d like some advice on how to title your team, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Risk & Compliance is a dynamic and ever-changing career space which can make building a team or progressing your career confusing or challenging. We are always here to help and offer expert advice. Give our team a call on 0207 117 2542, email us at info@ajfoxcompliance.com, or you can find us on LinkedIn.

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Posted by: AJ Fox Compliance