Be wary of inflated job titles

Do you have friends with large, inflated job titles?

“Vice President”

“Senior manager”

“Sales & Projects Manager”


This man is Idi Amin. His job title is: His Excellency President for Life, Field Marshal Al Hadji Doctor Idi Amin, VC, DSO, MC, CBE, Lord of all the Beasts of the Earth and Fishes of the Sea, and Conqueror of the British Empire in Africa in General and Uganda in Particular”


People place great value on self-worth and employers know this. However, before you sign a contract that binds you to such a title, be warned.

I have heard this one story from a friend: Fresh graduate gets hired by an SME. The contract he signed pays him $1850 per month. The title given to him says “Sales Manager”, but his job scope is largely office-based admin work.

Want to know why the company does this?

He is now not entitled to overtime pay. Why?

By inflating his title, he is now a PME (Professional/Manager/Executive). As a PME, he is not protected by Part 4 of the Employment Act, that requires him to be paid OT accordingly. Part 4 also demands workers not to work more than 44 hours a week without OT.

Clearly his salary and work do not warrant him such a job title, and also should allow OT payment. But now he takes on the same legal obligations as that of a PME.

As the company didn’t exactly flout statutory laws, the boy doesn’t have a strong case against them either.

What’s even worse is that his contract stipulates 55 hour workdays, 6 days a week. Another clause requires him to pay back the company a year’s worth of salary if he resigns. The poor boy had signed an unfair contract. One of my friends once went through the same ordeal when he tried to rescind on the contract, and after knocking on several doors, was left with the option of hiring a lawyer.

Do be cautious when you sign employment contracts and pay attention to the following:

  • Are you given an inflated job title?
  • Are you asked to accept unfair clauses?
  • Does it contain unfair “restriction of trade” clauses? (you will not work in the same trade for X years after you resign)
  • Does it contain unfair exit clauses?



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Post Author: Tay Leong Tan

Tay Leong Tan is a collective of 3 writers. Tay, Leong and Tan. (Who were you expecting?!) We are enthusiastic about labour issues, economics and current affairs in particular.

5 thoughts on “Be wary of inflated job titles

    Be Wary Of Inflated Job Titles

    (June 10, 2014 - 10:36 am)

    […] Be wary of inflated job titles – Five Stars And a Moon […]


    (June 10, 2014 - 3:53 pm)

    Thank you for sharing – it really helps us understand the things we should watch out for when signing contracts.


    (June 10, 2014 - 3:55 pm)

    This is most helpful – are there places that we can go to learn more about legal matters?

    […] These employers are disgusting! Cheat overtime money by giving inflated job titles! Wah looks like the trend now is for employers to give even poly students manager title to siam from paying overtime money. How can? Lucky people raised this up. If this were me, I'd go to my work union and HR and fight for my pay. Be wary of inflated job titles – Five Stars And a Moon […]

    Peter Yap

    (June 17, 2014 - 10:04 am)

    Recently I am also faced with similar encounter at work, went to pme centre by ntuc for help, quite useful. heard they conduct legal workshops to educate pme. can check out ~just sharing~

Share your thoughts!