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Big-Sounding Job Titles Are Feeding Egos in Tight Labor Market

  • With money limited, firms are increasingly playing with titles
  • Faster promotions are condensing careers — and creating risks
Commuters ride a subway in New York, US.

Commuters ride a subway in New York, US.

Photographer: Jeenah Moon/Bloomberg

The tight US labor market isn’t just boosting wages, it’s also bidding up job descriptions.

Once prevalent mostly with startups, job-title inflation has gone increasingly mainstream, said Shawn Cole, president of Cowen Partners, a nationwide executive search firm. It “exploded” during the pandemic as companies competed for talent in the Covid-19 economy and more of them leveraged titles to entice experienced workers.