What do English job titles mean?

Back before the advent of office based jobs, job titles were a whole lot simpler.  Farmer, baker, factory worker; things didn’t get much more complicated than that.  Nowadays there’s any number of ways to describe the various levels of staff that make up an organisation.  Here’s a rundown of the essential job titles so you can get to grips with the chain of command in a typical business.


This is an abbreviation of Chief Executive Officer.  The CEO is the highest ranking executive in a company and is in charge of total management of the organisation.  Their main responsibilities include developing and implementing high-level strategies, making major corporate decisions, managing the overall operations and resources of a company and acting as the main point of communication between the board of directors and operations management.  The CEO will often have a position on the board, and in some cases act as both Chairman and CEO.  This role is often filled by the founder of the company, for example Mark Zuckerberg is the CEO of Facebook.

A CEO can also be referred to as the MD, standing for Managing Director, who has exactly the same set of responsibilities.


A Chief Operating Officer is responsible for the daily operations of the business and reports directly to the CEO.  He is the highest ranking executive and second in command.  As such, the role can be extremely varied and situational depending on the needs of the business and desires of the CEO.  The COO may also act as President on the board of directors.


A director is a level down from the CEO but still has a very important management role to play in some specific aspect the business.  A director leads a department of staff and larger businesses tend to have many directors spread over different categories, for example, an HR director is responsible for the wellbeing of all staff (known as human resources).  A director usually reports to a Vice President or directly to the CEO.

Senior Manager

The role of senior manager is required in most large companies where an additional level of management structure is felt to be necessary between general management and directorship.  Senior managers are responsible for planning and overseeing the work of a group of individuals, monitoring their performance delivery, and taking corrective or disciplinary action where necessary.


Before we get to the general employee level, we have the general management level of staff.  These are extensions of roles that you find lower down the company, with the added responsibility of management of lower level staff doing the same job.  For example, an account manager in a company – whose job it is to look after a portfolio of clients – will manage account executives, and in turn be directly managed by a senior account manager, who reports to the department head, usually a director.


This one can vary a bit.  Generally speaking an executive is one of the entry level jobs in a company and is commonly the title awarded to the staff responsible for doing the day-to-day labour of the business.  However, it can also refer to someone higher up who is given ‘executive’ responsibilities such as administrative or managerial authority.  There are all sorts of job titles awarded to the people who carry out the tasks associated with this level of the business, but one thing’s for sure, they are at the real heartbeat of the company and the ones that get things done!

What unusual job titles have you heard mentioned in the office you work in?  Let us know by leaving a comment below.