{ "media_type": "text", "post_content": "Not sure if my question will make sense but I am really curious. When it comes to salaries in the consulting world, do we end up reaching a peak in our base? And then must rely on bonuses for increases in total payout? I am curious because it seems like there are only about 5-8 official career ladder steps. I’m also curious to understand what salary trajectories are over time especially for people who have started in consulting and have basically never left this career path for 10-20 years.", "post_id": "5fef2993df7abe0021c7e246", "reply_count": 4, "vote_count": 3, "bowl_id": "59e88be7e2808e00149b0443", "bowl_name": "Women In Consulting" }

Not sure if my question will make sense but I am really curious. When it comes to salaries in the consulting world, do we end up reaching a peak in our base? And then must rely on bonuses for increases in total payout? I am curious because it seems like there are only about 5-8 official career ladder steps. I’m also curious to understand what salary trajectories are over time especially for people who have started in consulting and have basically never left this career path for 10-20 years.

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This will depend in part on where you work, but in general, no, you won’t hit a base salary ceiling. At my company, there are about 8 “steps” below the VP level. Your base salary increases each time you get promoted, though if you’re already above the bottom of the range for your new role, it might not increase by much. More significantly, your bonus target increases each time you get promoted — so you might go from (for example) a bonus target of 15% of your salary as an associate to 20% as a manager to 25% as a director. But typically, your salary also increases each year even if you don’t get promoted. The increase may be less than what you’d get with a promotion, but it should still increase from year to year. If it doesn’t, jumping to another company to get a raise and then boomeranging back to your current firm in a few years to get another raise is a time-honored tradition.

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This is somewhat dependent on the firm you’re at. Some general thoughts as it applies to bigger firms (smaller ones have more variability and differences): 1. There are three components to your comp: salary, bonus and benefits package. Generally speaking benefits are comparable in consulting in big firms. The differences are between us and industry. But salary and benefits balance somewhat varies - with some firms favoring salary increases with smaller bonuses, and some the opposite. So you have to take that into account a bit. 2. When it comes to salary, all large firms have salary bands for each level to ensure consistency and fairness. As you edge closer to the the top side of the band, you get closer to maxing out. Because for the most, with a few exception of dedicated tracks, we all tend to have up or out culture, what happens is most people get promoted or leave. When they get promoted, they jump to the new band. But at SM or equivalent level, there comes pretty much a ceiling (the top of that range), so at that point what happens you start getting smaller raises. Sometimes firms balance it out with bonus, especially if it is a high performer and/or unique skill set, or you just make it to Partner or leave. 3. All in all - it is still financially a very lucrative career path, especially if you’re a top performer. As M1 pointed out, you can also jump and get quick increases - need to balance that with your long-term career goals of course. In terms of your other question, on what it looks like after 20 years in consulting, I can confidently tell you that it looks really good. 7 digits and high 6 digits is normal, because at that point you’re a partner or equivalent in most firms. We get paid very well; there are not many professions out there that do better.

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Here’s the base salary by level - base always goes up, but bonuses increase at a higher rate so it accounts for a higher % of your comp increase (e.g., first year BA base is 85k with 15-30k bonus, while first year partner base is 300k with 300-400k bonus + profit share). BA: 85-150 EM: 150-200 AP: 200-300 P: 300-400 SP: 400+ As to your question about trajectory, you spend around 2-2.5 years at each level if you are a high performer, so you can make partner in ~7 years (post-MBAs will be faster than post-undergrads). Most of the average undergrad hires can make partner in ~10 years.

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Thank you everyone for your detailed and honest responses ! I love this group since I find it to contain less exaggerations and more about honest experiences. I am currently on a “specialist” track but I am unsure what that even means as these tracks tend to change year after year. As a result I don’t know what I’m supposed to be paid. Nor do I even know if I am underpaid or overpaid and what should I expect going forward. Knowing that there isn’t a ceiling is rather comforting. But knowing there is a band is not so much as I see there can be many variables within this band. And I don’t even know where I stand within this band.

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