I would be interested to hear some stories about how you may have moved up and on in your design career. It seems like the two options are being promoted, or taking a new higher level position somewhere else. How long did you stay at your first job, and did you actively pursue a promotion? I know a lot of people are looking for work, but if you were lucky enough to get a job and hang on in the last several years this would be good information (and open up some of those entry level design positions). I graduated about 2 years ago and have been working in the same position since then so I am starting to think about my next career move.
Generally, you want to stay in one position 3-5 years. This shows you’re committed to staying with a company yet willing to take a new opportunity if one presents itself. While I’m working, I generally do my best to develop myself as well as the work I do. So this may mean taking on additional responsibility outside of my job description or additional training. I’m thinking what can I do to improve my current value, yet improve my skill set for future opportunities.
I’ve been lucky to have maintained a consistent career since I graduated in 2001. As we speak I’m currently transitioning from one job to a better opportunity elsewhere. You constantly need to think about this throughout your career and make the best decisions you can with the information you have.
Remember, it’s always best to look for a job while you have one. Don’t get to “comfortable” where you are now unless you’re ready to retire.