by Asif Khan
Recently, the most popular search term that has landed people on this website relates to partner compensation at Accenture. This is a complicated subject but I think it is worth a discussion. I want to start with a few disclaimers though: 1) I am neither a Partner nor an HR compensation specialist, 2) Partners (and HR reps) don’t talk openly about compensation and 3) Compensation at Accenture (as in most companies) varies widely based on experience, geography and myriad other factors.
Also, keep in mind that I don’t intend to share anything confidential or proprietary. The following is based on publicly available information. But don’t worry. We will dive into some actual numbers. Let’s get started with some background.
There are 4 principal divisions within Accenture (Services, Solutions, Enterprise and Consulting) and each division has several organizations within. Since I’m in Technology Consulting, let’s focus primarily on that. There are 4 non-executive levels in Accenture’s Technology Consulting Organization: Analyst, Consultant, Manager and Senior Manager.
A new college graduate hired by Accenture would typically start as an Analyst (by the way, a college degree is required to get a job here). An experienced hire can come in at any level, based on their background and Accenture’s current needs.
Regardless of what level you are hired at, you can expect to spend roughly 36 to 60 months at each level before getting promoted to the next level (tenure depends on individual and corporate performance, significant achievements and luck). Consequently, if a new joiner started with Accenture straight out of university or graduate school as an Analyst, it would take him/her approximately 12-20 years of consistently great performance just to qualify for a promotion to the Senior Executive ranks.
For experienced hires, the requirements are similar but are adjusted based on your entry point. For example, I was hired 18 months ago as a Senior Manager with 24 months “at level.” When I reached 36 months “at level” last June, I was technically qualified for consideration for promotion to Senior Executive, at least in theory. There are several other milestones to achieve before “making partner” and I have a LONG way to go.
Partner? Senior Executive? Managing Director?
Accenture retired the term “Partner” when we became a publicly traded company 12 years ago. We have used the term Senior Executive since then and up until this year. To be consistent with other consulting firms, Accenture recently announced that Senior Executives will now be referred to as Managing Directors.
Once a candidate gets promoted (or hired in) to the Senior Executive/Managing Director role, they start climbing an entirely new career ladder. Historically, there have been three levels of Senior Executives and each level has had up to three sublevels. This is where the issue of executive compensation gets tricky. There are at least nine levels of Senior Executive…and that doesn’t even count the Global Management Committee which includes Accenture’s CEO, Pierre Nanterne, and his staff and direct reports.
The new naming convention includes Managing Director, Senior Managing Director and Technical Managing Director (for those pursuing a purely technical career track). There may be other Managing Director levels announced. If there’s one constant at Accenture, it is constant change.
NEXT PAGE: How About Some Real Numbers?