If you get bad ratings repeatedly, well, you may want to consider an alternative career path. I’m just being honest. A Senior Manager is considered an Executive at the firm. Consistently bad performance ratings are not acceptable. Anyone can have a bad year but if it becomes a consistent trend, watch out below!
Staff Ranking sucks but there are some basic strategies to follow if you want to rise to the top. If your Career Counselor has been with the company for a long time, they probably know how to secure you a high ranking and, ultimately, a promotion (assuming you have earned it). If the CC has a broad network and good political skills, you are in good shape. On the other hand, if you are not engaged with your Career Counselor but you are doing good work, you will probably continue to get “Exceeds” ratings and you can remain in this job for a long time with no one really bothering you. Eventually, you will figure out whether you are on a Partner Track or not. I know, and have worked with, a lot of great Senior Managers who knew they were not going to make Partner but they liked their current role…and that’s fine. There isn’t really an “Up or Out” policy anymore. It is too hard to find good, qualified Senior Managers.
Here’s a quick tip. When you are promoted to Senior Manager (or when you are hired at this level), you are given stock grants and a cash bonus. If you amortize these over three years, it equates to roughly a 15-30% premium above your annual pay. After those three years are up, if you have performed significantly above the median, you will probably get promoted to Managing Director. If not, you are essentially taking up to a 30% pay cut to stick around. Worth it? Sure, for some people. You need to decide for yourself. Remember, it’s not a job. It’s a lifestyle and some people can’t get enough of it!
However, as I can personally attest, if you decide to leave Accenture, there are plenty of great employers who covet the skills that Accenture develops in its people. So is the pay good? It depends. Most people I worked with didn’t complain about pay. In fact, I would say Accenture as a whole does not cultivate a culture focused on money (unlike other consulting firms that I’ve spoken with). My peers and I regularly discussed our satisfaction level with our compensation. We felt we were paid fairly given the consistently interesting work we did, the incredibly smart people we met and the diversity of projects we worked on. On the other hand, if and when you decide to leave the firm, you will find an employer eagerly willing to pay you a large premium for your skills you developed at Accenture. I know I did 🙂