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What will private equity do to the world of recruitment?

Georgina Pawley, partner at TritonExec


Worth around three trillion dollars per annum, private equity is a burgeoning market too large not to take notice of.  While not always clear to many, it’s a sector sitting above almost every single industry, seeking to repurpose existing businesses, acquire new ones and transform businesses as we know it.  Private equity also presents one of the greatest opportunities for the world of talent acquisition.


Still a buoyant marketplace


Despite a reduction in the last few years of private equity super deals, the well-known firms continue to perform well with successes at the mid-tier deal levels. The industry as a whole remains attractive for those wanting more entrepreneurial business environments or operational transformation positions were there is an exciting upside to be earned.


From where does PE seek its leadership?


When it comes to leadership, private equity firms continue to hunt out and attract the top talent investment professionals with a track record in sector specific deals, often coming from investment banking backgrounds, and in some instances M&A consulting and strategy firms. Some of the best performers have been home grown post MBA hires where employees have been given the opportunity to be a part of some of the more complex and high profile deals.  


Essential skills for top hires


When it comes to the portfolio companies where there is increasing pressure to deliver more return on investment (ROI), we have seen an increase in hiring executive level leaders who are technology savvy, commercial operators coupled with the domain knowledge to deliver robust transformation and cost reduction initiatives.


Industries of increased demand


In the last 18 months we have seen a significant rise in private equity investment in some of our core business areas, specifically fintech, insurtech and healthcare. Ultimately the common denominator here is that these are industries ready for transformation and where niche solutions developed externally can bring value to key parts of an industry incumbents’ value chain without wanting to disrupt the full end to end. The successes for PE come from identifying firms able to build the right offering and scale fast enough to become attractive partners to larger organizations seeking less risky third party relationships.


Fostering culture


The challenge for many companies looking to grow is creating a culture that attracts candidates, and also retains them. In this competitive environment, we are also seeing trends specifically in younger talent who are choosing less intense environments for less money, but, where the culture aligns to their core values. As a result, there has been a notable shift in private equity firms becoming less rigid when it comes to legacy norms around dress code in addition to aggressively embracing a culture of diversity and inclusion in what traditionally has been a very male dominated industry.


Looking to the future: challenge for search and recruiters


A recent trend from a hiring perspective, across levels, is the desire for slick, volume-focused hiring within portfolio companies looking to ramp up quickly, and bring in the right skill sets for growth - and for delivering the desired ROI. These volume hires typically happen at the mid-management level where we may be building out a salesforce for example, at a level whereby typically a one-off search would not warrant a retained approach, however in a strategic volume hire situation, then an experienced retained search process makes sense.


PE and the future + wider rec market


Private equity will continue to be a popular industry, attracting those seeking an alternative to strategy consulting, investment banking and other traditional financial positions, but the competition is hotting up. PE firms are increasingly competing for similar talent as the leading tech giants who are offering more than just financial benefits by creating an environment that delivers an employee experience through work-life balance, connection to community and opportunities for development and continuous learning through feedback. Being able to attract and retain the best talent out of schools will determine the difference between those that best succeed and those that don’t.


We expect private equity to be an exciting growth area shaping the global recruitment market on every level.


Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.com

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