If you were born in the 1970s, that would put you somewhere between your mid-forties to early fifties. With the average retirement age being 64 in America, you would like to think you have a lot to offer any potential new employer. Looking around at various job searches, it may come as a surprise that employers are no longer looking for professional experience.
A new type of employee is now being hunted, one that responds to job adverts that display buzzwords such as “superstars,” “ninjas” “wizards” “work hard, play hard” “tight-knit team,” and wants to work in an environment that for whatever reason involves “nerf guns” ” table tennis” and ” disruptive leadership” whatever the latter means!
Only superstars need apply
In an economy where skill shortages are the new norm, employers are desperate to recruit the best talent they can to keep their businesses running smoothly. With the cost of job advertising rocketing post-pandemic, this had led to a new tactic of catchy job titles that appeal to younger people who will work for a much lower salary ” as long as they are changing the world.”
Incorporating “evangelist” or “wizard” into a job listing does more than imbuing a role with purpose; for companies that have been around for a while, it shows a potential applicant that executives are willing to adapt and modernize.
Welcome to Jargon Jobs
In a project developed by WHATJOBS? studying a pattern between salaries and job titles it was clear that there is a trend that seems to be pushing older workers out of the market by adding copious amounts of jargon (see the complete list below) that job seekers have to sift through to try to understand just what the employer requires.
Some of the terms on the list are all too familiar: “Dynamic,” “proactive,” “self-starter” — words that mean nothing but encompass everything. But other terms are even vaguer: Employers are apparently hoping to find “rockstars” fond of “blue sky thinking” who “kick it into the long grass.”
This modern lingo will fuel confusion for older job seekers, and frankly, this is done by design. These catchy titles will almost be less searchable for older applicants. People in the workforce may have trouble defining what a “recruitment ninja” actually means on a one-page resume when they look for future opportunities.
Whether positive or negative, the trend has taken off as companies across the United States and Europe try to rebrand their culture as “synergistic” and “incentivized.” New age jargon that clouds the specificities of a role continues to gain traction, with cities known for hipster, youthful vibes taking a particular liking to the terms.
According to the WHATJOBS? study, Seattle and San Francisco were the guiltiest cities for using jargon, and other cities across California and Austin, Texas, ranked high. Far lower on the list were metropolises such as New York, Detroit, and Philadelphia.
So what does all this jargon mean? It gives employers more opportunity to filter applications by age without breaking the law, which, of course, leads to significant savings on the payroll.
But it also means that job listings are getting that much more homogenous, misleading, and imprecise for job seekers who want to know if they’re qualified and whether to apply.
So let the jargon jobs begin. It is a new world out there, after all!
The top 40 Jargon list from U.S. job listings
3. Team player
10. Proven track-record
12. Can-do attitude
14. Action plan
20. Growth opportunity
23. Go the extra mile
26. Pain points
27. Think outside the box
28. Work hard, play hard
29. Plan of action
30. Results focussed
33. Ping pong
36. Independent thinker
39. Tight-knit team