What Does 'Associate' Mean in a Job Title? (Jobs and Salary)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated 29 January 2023

Published 30 November 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

During a job search, the term 'associate' is a common job title you may encounter and discovering what an associate role entails can help you better understand the requirements of a job. The responsibilities and level of authority that an associate-level position involves can also vary depending on the job sector. To understand what an associate is and how it applies to you, it's beneficial to look at its definition. In this article, we look at the examples of an associate job, with descriptions and several helpful tips.

What does 'associate' mean in a job title?

You may be wondering 'what does 'associate' mean in a job title?' when you're searching for jobs. It generally means that the employees with the title have a lower ranking position than employees without it. For example, an associate manager has less seniority than a manager. You may encounter the term associate within job descriptions, contracts of employment and other official documents.

Related: How To Get Your First Job

Associate or assistant?

Associate and assistant employees have similar job functions, but they may have different responsibilities. An associate can take on management duties, but they are less involved with the daily tasks of the company whereas assistants help with the daily running of the company and may have more leadership responsibilities and duties, such as taking over management responsibilities when a manager is unavailable. An associate can still work under a leadership position but is more likely to act as the head of a small team.

Alternative definitions

There can be variations in the meaning of 'associate' depending on the job. As it varies across job sectors. Here are some specific examples of associate roles across different job sectors:

Law

Associate solicitors hold a specific rank in a law firm. Their day-to-day tasks are often similar to those completed at a trainee level but with less supervision and increased client contact. An associate solicitor liaises with clients, writes legal contracts and reports the progress of a case to all interested parties. Good associate solicitors may have prospects for career advancement in the legal field.

Related: Sales associate skills (with definitions and examples)

Academia

An associate lecturer primarily teaches at universities without being on a permanent contract. The title has become popular in the past decade. Associate professors can rank above senior lecturers, as they tend to be more specialised in their field. In some universities, the title associate professor is used to replace the lecturer title.

Business

A business associate utilises a deep understanding of their specific market to help acquire and retain customers. This may entail following up on sale leads to introduce new avenues for the business to target and find new customers. A business associate typically earns money through commission instead of a fixed salary.

Retail

Some retail and hospitality companies describe their less experienced employees as associates. This can help signify the value that a company places on its employees. Associates may have fewer responsibilities than higher-level employees, but they are often on track for a promotion or a salary increase.

Healthcare

The health care sector has several 'associate' roles. These jobs are vital assistance positions. A health care management associate, for example, works with colleagues across a range of health care sciences to input data, work directly with patients and order stock. Another example is a nursing associate who works with health care support workers and registered nurses to provide care and support for patients. These potions allow for excellent opportunities to advance into becoming a registered nurse.

Related: Nursing Assistant Job Profile: What to Expect

Sample associate job descriptions

Associate and assistant roles can differ in responsibilities and assigned authority levels, but corporate employers may use the two terms interchangeably. If you're confused about the responsibilities of a position, check the details in the job description to understand what your employer expects. Also, carry out independent research on the company to learn more about the responsibilities allocated to their associate employees. Several job titles include the term 'associate'. Here are a few examples, along with a description of their primary duties:

1. Associate manager

National Average Salary: £24,576 per year

Primary Duties: Your role can include managing and leading the sales team, including reviews, training and performance management. You may practise excellent customer service to ensure customer satisfaction. You could also be required to participate in regular meetings to discuss company projects and objectives. Cooperating with the manager to develop and improve company procedures and working closely with Marketing can help you stay informed on industry trends and determine the effectiveness of the company's sales strategy.

As an associate manager, you may perform other duties within the company, including leading small teams.

2. Associate creative director

National Average Salary: £38,543 per year

Primary Duties: Your role may involve supporting the Creative Director in developing concepts, strategies and creative direction for campaigns, marketing materials and projects. Your role can include creating a brand identity and tone of voice. You might create engaging content for both internal and external use while overseeing multiple design projects at once.

As an associate creative director, you may be called on to perform other tasks depending on specific skills and experience. This includes managing colleagues, ensuring client satisfaction and troubleshooting any issues. You may also undertake consistent research to stay ahead of industry terms and competitors.

3. Associate editor

National Average Salary: £30,129 per year

Primary Duties: You could work closely with members of the editorial team to streamline a consistent production of high-quality content. Your daily roles may include creating and enforcing project deadlines across the editorial team. You may develop and maintain comprehensive style guides for all assigned accounts, keeping all appropriate style guides up to date.

As an associate editor, it is helpful to be up to date with all relevant industry guidelines, including publications and industry requirements. Proofreading, reviewing and editing content by staff writers is also part of your role.

Related: Types of Degrees and How They Can Influence Your Career

Job search tips when looking for an associate role

If you've decided you want to start searching for an associate job, it's important to consider how you can fit into the role. You can apply for jobs that best suit your work experience and skill set. There are several points to keep in mind before you apply for a new job role:

Consider your career aspirations

Before beginning the application process for a job, consider your career aspirations so you can embark on a path that best aligns with your experience and skills. If you lack job experience, an associate position is an excellent option for individuals hoping to enter a new industry or career field. Alternatively, if you already have experience in your chosen career path, an assistant position may better align with your career goals.

Related: Guide: Using Indeed Job Search

Conduct a thorough review of the job listing

When searching for associate-level jobs, try entering the term 'associate' along with your desired job title in the search bar. Starting at a lower-tier job in a company gives you ample opportunity to acquire skills, practical experience, professional contacts and often a pathway for career advancement or promotion.

Once you've found a position that you're interested in, take the time to have an in-depth read of the job description. Associate jobs can vary depending on the industry, with some associate jobs requiring more professional experience and training than others. Studying the job posting can help you understand whether or not you are a good fit for the role.

Edit and redraft your CV

If you are interested in a position and meet the required qualifications, it's time to update your CV to reflect how you're a good candidate for the role. For example, if you have worked with a company as an associate operations manager for three years, write the title out in full rather than just including 'operations manager'. This can make it easier for potential employers to see what your experiences and competencies are, along with giving them a summary of your career history.

If you don't have work experience at an associate level, it is still possible that you're a suitable candidate. Include a personal statement that details to the employer why you're a good fit for this role.

Related: Writing a CV with No Experience

Attend university

In many cases, studying in higher education can increase your employability and make it easier to get a job. A degree is not always a necessity, but it may help to get a bachelor's degree to increase your employability. As well as often being a requirement for employers, a degree can equip you with skills and knowledge for a job role.

Salary figures reflect data listed on Indeed Salaries at the time of writing. Salaries‌ ‌may‌ ‌‌vary‌‌ ‌depending‌ ‌on‌ ‌the‌ ‌hiring‌ ‌organisation‌ ‌and‌ ‌a‌ ‌candidate's‌ ‌experience,‌ ‌academic‌ background‌ ‌and‌ ‌location.‌

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