Datapeople Research Reveals Negative Impact of ‘Senior’ in Job Titles

Research from recruiting analytics company Datapeople shows that overqualifying a position by including the word ‘Senior’ in the title on a job post can shrink candidate pools, regardless of the requirements.

Overqualifying a role means giving it a title that seems more senior than the requirements imply, otherwise known as title inflation. It can also mean asking for non-standard requirements or requirements that don’t fit the job market. For example, a tech job in San Francisco, where the candidate pool is large and differentiated, can ask for different requirements than a tech job in Boise. Overqualifying a role can deter qualified candidates from applying and reduce candidate pools overall. (For example, overqualified roles tend to attract fewer women.)

In its research, Datapeople looked at industry norms surrounding financial analyst titles in the United States. Researchers wanted to know how many years of experience organizations typically require for the roles and where the word ‘Senior’ appears. To answer those questions, researchers examined what U.S.-based companies say about these roles and also how they act regarding these roles.

Datapeople found that what companies in the U.S. say about financial analyst roles depends on who’s speaking. Some companies think of a Senior Financial Analyst position as a junior role. Others think of Financial Analyst as a mid-level role and Senior Financial Analyst as a senior role. Meanwhile, how companies in the U.S. act regarding these roles is something else.

Datapeople’s research reveals that companies use Senior in over half of all titles for financial analyst roles that require less than three years of experience. Meanwhile, less than one percent of job posts for Senior Financial Analyst roles require more than eight years of experience. Taken together, these suggest that companies are inflating titles. Also, compared to jobs without, roles with Senior in the title receive on average 29 percent fewer applicants, 39 percent fewer qualified applicants, and 27 percent fewer female applicants.


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