I am from Germany and I have some difficulties to judge hierarchy levels in US companies like like Vice President or Senior VP or Director or Executive whatever. It is difficult to ask everyone something like: how important are you? Can you make decisions? How many bosses are higher in the hierarchy or something like that.
Does someone have a good link/website where I can find explanations of job titles?

Thank you very much! :)

PierG's picture

:D ... I agree: it sounds like everyone is a 'VP of something' in corporate America!!!
P.S. No intention to offend anyone!

bflynn's picture

I wouldn't put a great deal of stock in titles. They don't always correspond to responsibility or hierarchy. I've seen org charts 3 levels deep with Vice Presidents and org charts with no VPs at all. My experience, you can expect the heirarchy to go from C**, Vice President, Director, Manager, worker. There can be multiple levels within each - Senior VP for example. Beyond that, your guess is as good as mine.

A different question - what makes something an "American" company? Was it founded here, has an American running it or has its HQ here? I ask because there are exceptions to all of them.


WVH's picture
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This may help:

From personal experience, working at both a small and large company.

At a small company -- we had 60 people, there were 3 VPs and a President. VP mean something. I was a VP and could enter into agreements with a third party.

At a large financial services company - where I work now -- we have over 100k employees. VP doesn't mean so much. We have Asst VPs, VPs, Senior VPs, Exec VPs, Senior Exec VPs etc. The titles are sometimes little more than a reward, as there's no monetary value associated with them. VPs can't enter into agreements.

I think this rule applies to a lot of service type organizations. Clients historically have been impressed by titles, so you give a title to someone to help ease a client's concern.

Lastly, I have seen that the VP title means more in a manufacturing environment.


TimBryce's picture

Walt is correct. In American banks they give out titles as opposed to raises.

All the Best,

ctomasi's picture

This smells of a Dilbert cartoon.

"VP of Title Assignment" :-)

joern's picture

thanks WVH for the link. :D I didn't think about Wikipedia...