Despite the prospect of austerity and cuts, the NHS is still actively recruiting to fill jobs which are irrelevant to front line patient care. Luton and Dunstable Hospital Foundation Trust are advertising for a ‘Sustainability Officer’; Barnet Primary Care Trust are seeking a ‘Corporate Performance Manager’; and several trusts are advertising for ‘Change Facilitators’. Each salary package is the equivalent of two junior nurses – so what would you prefer – two nurses or one ‘Change Facilitator’? Even more bizarrely, Chelsea and Westminster Hospital are advertising for a ‘Director of Patient Flow’ at a ‘competitive salary’ – presumably four nurses’ worth.
Apart from the morality of creating needless jobs at a time when we should be tightening our belts, it is also part of what ‘The Economist’ calls ‘inflation in job titles’.
This is not confined to the Public Sector. The Private Sector is just as bad. South West Airlines has a ‘Chief Twitter Officer’; Coca-Cola and Marriott have ‘Chief Blogging Officers’; and Kodak has a ‘Chief Listening Officer’. In America, the ‘National Secretaries Association’ has renamed itself the ‘International Association of Administrative Professionals’, presumably to reflect the fact that a ‘Receptionist’ is now a ‘Front Office Coordinator’. In the UK, the BBC is one of the best with a ‘Vision Controller of Multiplatform and Portfolio’. Even the French are not immune – cleaning ladies are ‘Techniciennes de Surface’.
Job title inflation is like monetary inflation – it devalues everything that it touches.