I have been the same title at my company for a few years now (at least 3 years). Our company has moved to a leveling system for software engineers and my title was evaluated to be at level 2.

While I have received raises, I've never received formal promotions. Many people have told me that I shouldn't be obsessed with titles so I have taken that to heart for many years but because I am trying to move up in my career, I wanted a better glimpse into the process so I asked my manager.

Because I was having a recent manager change, I felt it was appropriate to ask since I wanted to know that a lot of the work I was doing wasn't getting lost in the transition. He was surprised to hear I was a level 2 and in a follow-up one-on-one he said he got clarification that I am actually a level 3 and, in his eyes, I have what it takes to be a level 4 but would like to work with me to convince others the same.

It's been a few weeks since that conversation and many formal promotions have happened. I assumed because I was "actually" a level 3, there wasn't an announcement so I left it at that. Recently I had to look in the system of my org chart for filling out some paper work, and I noticed the coworkers who did receive formal promotions had their titles updated in the system but mine was not.

I'm not really sure what to think -- I feel if I come to another one-on-one asking about it, it'll seem I am obsessed with the title when that isn't my intention at all. Should I just leave the topic altogether and work hard with him as I've been doing so? What are best practices for negotiating titles and/or is that even something I should care about? I really appreciate any advice.

  • Are you getting paid as a Level 3?
    – Dan
    Aug 20, 2018 at 18:57
  • @Dan unfortunately I do not know if I am which I think is another part of the problem. The other thing I am trying to be conscientious about is not seeming like I am trying to get more salary but perhaps that is something I should clarify.
    – Kevin Xu
    Aug 20, 2018 at 19:06
  • 1
    If you are not getting paid as a level 3, but is said to be a level 3 in the eyes of only your manager, then definitely bring it up again. It could be that your manager found you were underpaid but couldn't justify bringing you up so he simply "forgot" about it.
    – Dan
    Aug 20, 2018 at 19:30

3 Answers 3


Recently I had to look in the system of my org chart for filling out some paper work, and I noticed the coworkers who did receive formal promotions had their titles updated in the system but mine was not.

If you have been told that you are "Level 3", and your title in the org chart still says "Level 2", then you should mention it.

In your next one-on-one simply say something like "I noticed that it still says Level 2 in the org chart. Who should I talk with to get that fixed?"

  • 2
    I would suggest adding that titles do matter. If you want to get other promotions, choice projects, professional respect, the title you have very likely matters (otherwise, why bother with titles?). Don't be embarrassed about asking for the records to accurately reflect your position in the company or your career will very likely stall.
    – Brian
    Aug 22, 2018 at 5:35

I guess the #1 important thing here for the short term is that your manager sees you as a Level 3 and that you are getting the appropriate paycheque/benefits according to that job title. As long as that is happening, then, at least in the short term, it doesn't matter.

However, if you put "Software Engineer Level 3" on your resume for a future job application and your company gets called to confirm, and your job title was never updated, then they might contradict that title. If I was you, I would gently nudge my manager, like "hey I just wanted to follow up on this, would you mind making this happen for me?" to try to get this sorted out. It's not a huge deal unless you are imminently looking for another job, but a light nudge would never hurt.

  • Agreed, my title can be chief bottle washer as long as I am paid for what I am worth.
    – Neo
    Aug 20, 2018 at 18:55
  • 1
    The argument that title isn't important goes both ways. If it isn't a big deal to have a particular title then why is it such a big deal to change your title to a higher title? What if your manager leaves and that history of you being evaluated to the level 3 leaves with him? It's best to pursue this and resolve it in my opinion.
    – jcmack
    Aug 20, 2018 at 20:30

Follow the advice already given here to have a quick chat about updating the title in the system.

However, what I believe is even more important is that your title is also reflected in your contract. Even a simple addendum or change / update would suffice.
Have a talk with HR about it as well (provided that your new manager still sees you as level 3).

This way, no matter what the system states or any one employee thinks, you'll have a written confirmation of your title.

It will go long ways should someone dispute your title claim (in the company and on future job hunts).

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