I've ended up in a strange career position (but I expect not unusual) and would appreciate some advice. Specifically - do you feel the thinking below is correct, and am I missing any key considerations?
I'm currently stuck in an "individual contributor" role, getting paid a great deal, and with excellent working conditions and job security. I continue to learn a lot technically.
At a personal level, I am also receiving a lot of formal, publicly documented feedback to flag me as a future leader, which translates directly into financial rewards and training opportunities which I simply wouldn't get in most companies. However, we have almost no junior level staff in my division, and thus no opportunities exist for me to directly manage people.
A more senior role recently became vacant, and despite having been told repeatedly that I am the succession plan for that role, I've now been told that I'm not ready - so an external hire will be brought in instead. While I acknowledge it would have been a "stretch" role, I thought that was the whole point! Sadly, this approach of not supporting internal candidates is quite common.
I responded by stating that although I could understand their thinking, the inability/unwillingness to give me any reports was becoming a serious career problem for me. That concern was acknowledged, but I've been told that's just unfortunately just "how it is". Result - I now plan to leave and seek a role elsewhere with some reports, even if the net pay and conditions aren't as good.
Key questions that are troubling me though:
Am I looking a gift horse in the mouth by turning my back on great pay, conditions and training?
Am I right that when it comes to management, training is nice, but there's no substitute for actually "getting your hands dirty" by managing people?
Am I right that if I don't get some substantial management experience under my belt in my mid-career, I'm unlikely to be considered for senior positions down the track?
Above all, does it make sense to move companies where the single biggest driver is getting management experience?
Any thoughts appreciated - I'm sure many people have faced this problem before in their careers.