McKinsey pressures staff to get promoted or get lost

28 March 2024 1 min. read
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McKinsey & Company is raising the “up or out” pressure on some US consultants, people familiar with the matter told Bloomberg, with the management consulting firm warning staff last week they are running out of time to gain promotions.

Bloomberg reported that memos were sent to some engagement managers and associate partners in North America reminding them the average time to gain a promotion in their roles is two-and-a-half years.

The “up or out” policy is used by many management consultancies, where staff are expected to get promoted within a specific timeframe or exit the firm.

The memo is the latest signal McKinsey is looking to slim down its headcount after a period of significant expansion and low attrition rates.

McKinsey pressures staff to get promoted or get lost

On the back of a pandemic consulting boom, the New York-based firm saw its global employee number balloon to 45,000, up 60% from 2018.

McKinsey last year announced plans to cut 1,400 jobs primarily in support functions. More recently, the consultancy warned approximately 3,000 of its global consultants that their performance is unsatisfactory and needs to improve.

The “concerns” ratings were given to employees as part of their performance reviews, with a typical three-month deadline to improve or leave the firm.

“We have always maintained a high bar for performance,” McKinsey told Bloomberg on Monday. “We routinely refine our approach to development and performance to ensure we continue to meet these goals, and we continue to recruit and hire robustly.”