I'm looking for a noun or adjective noun combination that, as clearly as possible, explicitly identifies employees that don't have anyone reporting to them.

The closest existing question I could find was A word for people who work under a manager and it doesn't help me because people who fit that description are not precluded from having subordinates of their own.

Required example: We categorize employees as upper management when they report only to the board of directors. Middle management personnel report to another employee and also have employees reporting to them. [some noun or adjective noun combo] are employees that have no subordinates in the company.

  • 4
    Is there a reason why workers or non-management won't work?
    – Davo
    Jun 16, 2017 at 13:39
  • 1
    I assume you are looking for a formal word and not something more jokey? Otherwise I'd suggest "minions". (Banana!)
    – AndyT
    Jun 16, 2017 at 13:39
  • 1
    No reason for non-management to be insufficient. I'm neither in HR, nor have an extensive vocabulary so I only thought there might be a word in general use that I either never heard or couldn't recall. I do like minions but in the context of writing software that will hopefully be used by many organizations I'd worry about a user being offended.
    – bielawski
    Jun 16, 2017 at 13:48
  • 1
    Line workers or individual contributors. But however you phrase it, it comes across as euphemism for peons.
    – Dan Bron
    Jun 16, 2017 at 14:02
  • I totally agree. I actually looked up synonyms for peon before posting but either the 'employee of this company' aspect was lost or it only covered a subset of real company peons. Like '[anything] contributor' doesn't sufficiently preclude non-employees and 'line' workers doesn't seem to cover people like journalists. Davo's suggestion is looking like my best useable option in the time I've got. Thanks!
    – bielawski
    Jun 16, 2017 at 14:35

4 Answers 4


There's rank and file:

the individuals who constitute the body of an organization, society, or nation as distinguished from the leaders.

the chosen few might have the opportunity for a trip in the space shuttle, but it will be a while before the rank and file are taking space trips.

from m-w.com


A nonmanagement employee is:

Not a member of management


[I have to add this separately because I'm not allowed to comment on other's posts yet]

Staff: Where I've worked, 'staff' has been used to distinguish people on the company' payroll, from contractors and consultants, so it does not have anything to do with management responsibilities (apart from the fact that a consultant manager will not be in the company's own management hierarchy).


I believe the word is " associate"

Oxford dictionaries.com defines it as "a person with limited or subordinate membership of an organization."

Dictionary.com defines it as '' a person who is admitted to a subordinate degree of membership in an association or institution:"

And during my stint as a customer care 'associate' with Dell computers, nobody ever reported to me. We were at the bottom of the hierarchical setup of the organization. We refer to ourselves as 'associates'. So does the organization.

  • The word "associate" can also be used in contexts where people have people reporting to them; e.g., associate attorney or associate specialist. Jun 16, 2017 at 14:40
  • This is industry and country specific. In the UK Civil Engineering Industry an Associate is in middle management.
    – AndyT
    Jun 16, 2017 at 16:23

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