Everyone agrees that private equity is coming back to the table after a long round of collective hand-sitting. Last year may have been lackluster for fundraising, but 2011 is looking much better - at least for some. Reports show that large investors are growing increasingly wary of the expenses associated with private equity funds of funds, and they're moving their cash to more direct vehicles or investing in-house. That's sure to have an impact on jobs for funds of fund managers.
Still, the trend may not be as bad as many suspect. Traditionally, fund of fund manager spots are harder to fill since the best and brightest push to be on the direct investing side. Luckily, the rest of the private equity space is beefing up. That's a big change from the drop-off in hiring we saw in 2008 and 2009 and the rather mediocre hiring of 2010.
On top of that, there's good news for analysts. According to Hilary Harrison, managing director of recruiter Career Group Search, firms simply weren't hiring analysts a few years ago. "They had the associates and VPs doing the work," she says. But now, "(there's) quite a bit of movement on the operations and accounting side of the business, as well." That bodes well for the industry as a whole. She adds: "People are getting jobs quicker, so now we're in the process of actively recruiting from firms."
Susan Levine, president of parent company Career Group Inc., certainly sees the beginnings of a competitive market for private equity talent. Even the admin side of the shop is hiring. "Really good talent goes quickly. It's hard to find great people. They want the best people out of the top schools - ones with great GPAs."
The only thing that might be able to stop private equity's coming juggernaut is the dirty word: regulation. Federal regulators are looking into the impact of alt funds on the markets and the possibility of the need for additional oversight.