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Old 06-16-2018, 05:54 PM
TDH TDH is offline
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Default How do people get promoted at very large companies?

I have about 2 years experience and will start a new job at one of the largest reinsurers (MunichRe/Swiss Re etc). My background is coming from a team of 3 actuaries, and everyone around me moved up to manager level roles by volatility in the company as the company had very high turnover.

Stalking some of my future colleagues on LinkedIn it seems as though everyone in the company has been there for 5-10+ years. I'll be joining as the person with lowest level of experience. In one way it's good, as I'll be able to learn a lot from others and it's one of the biggest reasons I left the small shop, however long-term I'm not sure how I would get promoted - surely when a position opens up I won't even be considered as there will always be someone with more experience than me. How do people move up?

Sorry if it's a fairly naive question - it's probably too early in my career to be thinking of stuff like this, but thought I'd ask!
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Old 06-16-2018, 06:04 PM
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depends on the company

You should probably ask your chief actuary or another senior person how it gets done.
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Old 06-16-2018, 06:37 PM
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More positions, more openings, more internal competition. There's variation by company but my advice would be to build relationships with people in a variety of departments so you have an inroad when an opening comes up, positions don't go strictly by experience, but more who is the best fit for the position, and you'll have a big advantage if they already know who you are. IME, job tracks at large companies can be more circuitous. Instead of staying in the same department you can move around as opportunities arise.

I've also known people at large companies who just stay in a linear track at the same department, but that takes more patience since there are fewer opportunities.
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Old 06-18-2018, 02:19 PM
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Gill’s answer is my experience. I’d also add that “promotion” is a bit of a misnomer in a lot of cases - your title and pay go up, but your responsibilities don’t change.

You might want to ask about rotational programs, too, whether your goal is to stay on a single track or jump around between specialties. The answer is relevant either way.
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Old 06-18-2018, 02:35 PM
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Should have asked these questions before you got the job imo
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Old 06-18-2018, 02:45 PM
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Change jobs.

My first and only promotion took 3 years and it was only because my compensation was so far behind (no exam raises). It was a new role in a different department.

My last job "talked about" promoting me after a third year when I'd complained I was underpaid after 2.

Organic promotions are very, very slow IME at 4 different companies.
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Old 06-18-2018, 02:54 PM
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Change jobs.

My first and only promotion took 3 years and it was only because my compensation was so far behind (no exam raises). It was a new role in a different department.

My last job "talked about" promoting me after a third year when I'd complained I was underpaid after 2.

Organic promotions are very, very slow IME at 4 different companies.
This sounds right. I don't have enough experience to share but I can see how company-hopping is the fastest way to keep getting promoted and getting salaries raised until you get married and have kids.
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Old 06-18-2018, 03:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mathmajor View Post
Change jobs.

My first and only promotion took 3 years and it was only because my compensation was so far behind (no exam raises). It was a new role in a different department.

My last job "talked about" promoting me after a third year when I'd complained I was underpaid after 2.

Organic promotions are very, very slow IME at 4 different companies.
I've actually had the exact opposite experience. I've only changed roles at rotation time, and once to switch companies (which was lateral), over the 7 years I've been in the business and I've been promoted three times now.

All three promotions have been to titles that I wasn't even technically qualified for at the time on the same team, and we've gotten semi-annual promotion announcements at both companies I've worked for that seemed to indicate others experience the same.

That being said, the fastest route will always be to make positive connections and keep an eye on internal postings. I think I've probably just gotten lucky to have excellent managers at almost every stop.
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Old 06-18-2018, 03:08 PM
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company-hopping is the fastest way to keep getting promoted and getting salaries raised.
I think this is becoming more true fairly recently. Even 5-10 years ago, people would say stuff like this and I had plenty of counter-examples. Not sure if my pool of contacts has changed or what, but I can give a lot more recent examples that support this than contradict. Short-sighted on the part of companies IMO, but whatever.

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surely when a position opens up I won't even be considered as there will always be someone with more experience than me.
More experience is far from the only consideration. Those experienced people may be far enough along in career and at a place in their personal life that they say "Oh, a new role, lots of learning and development, lots of new problems to figure out, wow does that sound like a lot more effort than I want to put in."

Also, to the extent it's a new position - maybe you expand geographically or into a new LOB or something - it can easily be a tiny thing that you volunteer to take on, and then it grows into something and you're the only person that has experience in that specialty.

Mostly, just keep your ears open and see what the opportunities are. Keep talking to people that are above, the closer you are to the conversation where a decision is made the more you can impact it.
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Old 06-18-2018, 03:22 PM
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Changing jobs is so much easier. Anecdotally promotion raises aren't that amazing anyway. It's upon hire that a company has the most flexibility in setting your compensation.

Had I stayed at my previous job, the total comp might have been 10% increase (5% base, 5% bonus) whereas I got 35%ish jumping ship. My complaint about being underpaid netted me 5% at raise time instead of 2%. Woo.

Like Westley mentions, it's too bad really. You're just going to have to hire someone new at market, pay to recruit them potentially, relocate them, train them. Stop being so stingy.
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