Cry of semi-despair: "I am stuck in a director-level position and can't get promoted"

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I'm writing this because my career seems to have stalled and I need advice.

I work in a quant development team at a major bank (building the computer programmes that bring quantitative models to life). My understanding is that demand for quants in banks and hedge funds has picked up again - people are talking about a 'hiring frenzy.' Personally, I want to use this frenzy to further my career. I've been in quant development for five years and am currently a director: I want to make MD.

How realistic is this?

Despite my years of experience, I have:

  • Never been promoted.
  • Never received any kind of annual salary or bonus increase unless I've swapped jobs.

All my career growth has come from changing firms and changing jobs. Does this make me a failure? I don't think so - no one I've worked with in a quant or IT role has ever applied for and received an internal job transfer. Quant technology roles seem to be a dead end.

So, what should I do? Should I wait around to get promoted and help to fill a departing colleague's shoes? Should I asked for a base salary increase? - Will that single me out at as overly-demanding?

And finally, is it worth me applying to rival firms in the hope that I can get promoted to MD by switching roles (again)? Does this really happen? I don't want to move to a rival firm as a director and would probably turn down another director-level role elsewhere.

Any advice would be much appreciated. Please use the comments box below.

*Andrew Deft is a pseudonym 

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