My concern is how being stucked for almost 5 years on a consultant level affects my future career opportunities.
I joined Accenture Strategy & Consulting in mid-2015 as an experienced hire (5 years) with some managerial experience from the top company in the CEE region. I joined as a Consultant and I still have not been promoted to Manager level while majority (ca. 80%) of the Consultants in the local office get promoted after 3-4 years. I think that in my case it is a combination of misfortune (last FY I did not make chargeability targets due to low demand for my expertise at that time, my project was cancelled and was staffed at a low level roles just to do something), missing on some people management skills (I did not put enough focus on relationships building and developing others). Some of these issues were also due to personal problems (going through a divorce back in 2017-2018).
Despite all of the above my annual performance feedback in 2019 was that I am doing a great job, I was getting positive feedback from projects and generally been considered a highly professional consultant with a great potential, but... I did not make chargeability targets, did not develop others or did not network strong enough with SM/ MDs to have a right visibility within the firm. On the other hand I have not been pro-actively pushing for promotion in the past and I know that some people have been actively doing that all the time.
There is no up or out policy in Accenture so the company wants to keep me as I am highly regarded as a great consultant and they know that I am generally doing great work on projects.
However my concern is that staying at Accenture for any time longer without promotion (COVID can be a great reason this year I am pretty sure about that) will be a huge detriment to my career. I am considering leaving Accenture to pursue managerial opportunities in the smaller consulting companies (got some invitations from recruiters prior to COVID outbreak) or even going back in the industry. On the other hand I have had some experience recruiting for MBB in the past (I reached final interview rounds at McK and BCG some years ago), but my concern is that for MBB I am already out of radar even as an experienced hire due to lack of quick advancement in my career and my age (35).
What would be your advice? Keep pushing in Accenture hoping that I will finally get promoted and do not worry about 5+ years consultant period in my resume? Or leave Accenture immediately and put all efforts to get hired as a manager at a smaller consulting firms? Or finally should I try one more go with MBB experienced hire recruitment (possibly senior consultant/ manager in implementation or operations practice) or is it too late in my case?