Pay focus: private equity

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There's no question that a private equity job is lucrative.

3i, the UK's largest listed private equity group, recently paid its investment team a record 66m (€98m). And Brian Friedman, president of US-based Jefferies Capital Partners, is in line to receive bonuses of nearly $10m (€8.2m) over the next 15 months.

Staff below the partner level, of course, receive considerably less. In London, Guy Townsend, managing director at search firm Walker Hamill, says a principal with three to four years of post-MBA experience can expect a salary of between 90,000 and 130,000 plus a bonus of between 100% and 200% and a share of the carried interest, or profit made when the funds investments are sold on.

In continental Europe, Barbara Valaperti, a partner at Heidrick & Struggles in Milan, says, base salaries of between €100,000 ($61,451) and €150,000 euros are standard, plus a bonus of 100%, plus carry. She says pay is remarkably similar in Paris, Frankfurt and Milan, and that an increasing number of funds in Europe are offering carry to juniors.

US-based private equity staff can earn the most, particularly if working on a large fund. Jonathan Goldstein, a principal at Sextant Search, says a principal at a private equity fund with over $1bn under management can expect a combined base salary and bonus of $400,000 to $1m, plus carried interest on top of that.