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Job Offer Advice Needed ASAP - EY Senior Consultant

#1 Job Offer Advice Needed ASAP - EY Senior Consultant
08/09/2013 16:31


I have a job offer from EY and I am really pleased as I have wanted to move from independent project management contracting to a consulting/advisory practice.

I have been offered a Senior Consultant position at EY on a starting salary of £55k. The salary is less than I had expected (and a £15k pay cut from my last fixed-term contract in Financial Services which I knew they wouldn't match).

I was originally being considered as Senior Consultant OR Manager but the offer has come in for Senior Consultant because I am moving to consulting from "Industry" and I don't have business development experience in a consulting firm.

I have had the speil from HR that there are brilliant progression opportunities, and promotion to manager could be quick; however I am now doubting the accuracy of that.

So my two questions to the forum are:

1 - Is £55k at Senior Consultant appropriate and a "good offer"?

2 - Realistically what can I expect in terms of progression?

1. The role

I will give you the brief details of my background so you have the full picture

  • I graduated from university with a BA in English in 2004, followed by a MA in English in 2008
  • I worked as a PA until 2007 (doing MA part time) and moved into Project Management full time in 2008 )6 months before finishing my MA)
  • I qualified as a PRINCE2 practioner in 2008 and a Managing Successful Programme (MSP) practitioner in 2009
  • I have worked in Project Management since February 2008, starting at PMO administrator level and have worked as a Project Manager/Senior PMO since 2009 as a contractor in Public Sector/Non-Profit and in Financial Services (Banking, Insurance and Payments)

This EY role will be my first role in a consulting firm - is Senior Consultant the right level? I am a bit concerned I'm going to be "old" compared to the other senior consultants and over qualified for the work at this level as I now understand that grad trainees get promoted to this grade from "consultant" after 2-3 years; I had originally thought there was an "associate"/"analyst" level for grads before they were at "consultant" grade (if someone who work at EY can clarify that it would be much appreciated)

I would also like advice on what kind of tasks a Senior Consultant in a Project Management engagement would do - is it low level PMO work (repetitive weekly reporting etc as opposed to work with autonomy and real responsibility/client interaction)?

2. Progression prospects

The recruiter has told me that the hiring partners really like me and they see me as someone who will come in as a Senior Consultant with an expectation of promotion to Manager after 12-18 months.

I am now skeptical about this because, as with most large firms, I think EY has a very structured progression process. Promotions are decided in July/August after performance reviews are concluded, and take effect from October (again confirmation of this would be appreciated). If that's the case, if I start in October 2013 my first "annual" performance review will be July 2014 after only 9 months - as much as I am confident in my technical abilities I feel it is highly unlikely to get promoted after 9 months just on principle as I won't have done a full year in the role.

  • Realistically I think my first option for promotion will be July 2015, being effective from October 2015 if I am successful. - is this correct?
  • Will this also apply to a pay rise/bonus?

I think I need to know if I am potentially looking at being in the same job grade and on the same salary for the next 2 years so I can make the decision on whether taking this step is right for me; or whether I should turn the offer down and continue contracting/take a job in industry then try to enter consulting at "Manager".

This is a very long and detailed post, but I figure I need to give all the relevant information for people to be able to give me a useful response.

Thanks for your help!

Project Consultant

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#2 RE: Job Offer Advice Needed ASAP - EY Senior Consultant
09/09/2013 10:52

Mr Cool to ProjectConsultant (#1)

You are right to be concerned regarding the logistical timeframe of promotion. I suggest you discuss this with HR. have them explain exactly how you could make Manager in that timeframe.

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#3 RE: Job Offer Advice Needed ASAP - EY Senior Consultant
09/09/2013 13:23

Barbie to ProjectConsultant (#1)

I recently left from being an SM at EY and would make a couple of comments:

1) £55k for an SC is towards the top end of the SC 'scale'. I use inverted commas because there was no published scale, but a new promote to SC would typically be on ~£45k and a new promote to Manager would start on ~£60k.

2) You would be eligible for a pay review in the summer of 2014 if you join before the end of 2013 as you would have been around long enough to get a year end rating.

3) However, you are right to think that promotion in 2014 would be the longest of long shots. But, 18 months is more than enough to eviodence a promotion to Manager in 2015, this would not be unusual for an experienced hire.

4) But be mindful, what happened last year is that promotions went to the bottom of the in grade pay scale, so if you were promoted in summer of 2015, don't expect a big pay rise if you are one of the higher paid SCs (I know an SC who got recruited in on £58k, got promoted 12 months later to Mgr with a pay rise to £60k...they were not happy). That said I don't know if they've done that again this year.

5) If they did keep doing this though, you could find yourself spending the next three years with no opportunity to progress beyond the very low £60ks, as follows:

- Oct 13 to Sept 14 on your entry level of £55k (pay rises take affect from Oct 1)

- Oct 14 to Sept 15 on your entry level plus a basic pay rise in summer 2014 (you would probably struggle to get higher than the mid level rating as EY force ratings into a distribution where only 20-25% of folks get the higher two levels)

- Oct 15 - Sept 16 on the entry level salary for a newly promoted Manager (which allowing for inflation is unlikely to be higher than £62-63k)

6) EY often bring in hires with a strong CV with little consulting experience (in their late 20s, early 30s) as top end SCs with the challenge for them to show they can manage in the environment and then move onto Manager. I used to see some young'uns who had joined straight from uni and had flown through the ranks, but they are the exception.

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#4 RE: Job Offer Advice Needed ASAP - EY Senior Consultant
09/09/2013 17:05

Mr Cool to Barbie (#3)

Great post Barbie -

OP - this is exactly what you need to step through with HR so that they can show you how they think it is feasible...

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#5 RE: Job Offer Advice Needed ASAP - EY Senior Consultant
09/09/2013 23:53

ProjectConsultant to Barbie (#3)

Barbie and Mr Cool

Thanks so much for the info. I have decided to accept the offer, I feel that I am going in with my eyes open now. Despite the fact that I may not move up the ranks for 2 years I have wanted to get into a Big 4 firm for some time now so I'm pleased to have the opportunity.

I will definitely make sure I have the progression conversation with HR, and with my buddy/counsellor when I join - I can always use the "I'm new and I just want to understand how everything works" card.

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#6 RE: Job Offer Advice Needed ASAP - EY Senior Consultant
18/05/2014 04:58

Redcircus to ProjectConsultant (#1)

I'm curious if you have an update? I am in a really similar position and trying to figure out what to do.

Was the salary drop worth it - how did you go with SC and the possible career progression?

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