Technology boutiques are hiring juniors. But not from top banks

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If you want to work for a boutique M&A firm that deals exclusively with technology companies, you're in luck. Small technology boutiques have been busily hiring juniors in both London and the U.S.. Very few of their hires, however, come from tier one investment banks.

Recruiters say there's been an eruption of hiring at tech boutiques like Silverpeak LLP, Mooreland Partners, GP Bullhound, Stella EOC and Arma Partners. Our research confirms the trend: since April, these five firms combined have made around 23 analyst-level hires in Europe and the U.S., which is impressive given many are only small.

The biggest hirers were Silverpeak, Mooreland and Arma, which have each recruited around six new analysts. Stella EOC appears to have put a brake on hiring after its own merger (Stella and EOC combined in June); GP Bullhound has only made two recent hires, including Jaime Sendagorta, who joined as an associate in May from Credit Suisse's tech team.

Alongside Sendagorta, there's the occasional other junior from a big bank in the mix. - For example, Neil Chadda joined Arma Partners as an analyst this September after leaving Rothschild. However, it's noticeable that many of tech boutiques' recent hires aren't from big investment banks. Instead, there's a distinct tendency for boutiques to recruit from each other, from private equity funds, from consultants, or from technology firms.

Mooreland, for example, has hired Eduard Keller from Arma Partners for its California office, along with Rob Bergantz from an LA agri-tech fund for its New York office. In London, Mooreland also recruited Janine McShane from Rackspace, a cloud computing company and Gabrielle Zhang from Deloitte's technology consulting team. Arma Partners' London office hired Anya Schneider from a Swiss payments specialist. And this month, Silverpeak hired Simon Werner in London from German logistics company, Kuehne & Nagel, where he was a management consultant.

What's with the absence of hires from big banks? Recruiters suggest it's something to do with many of the smaller tech boutiques' poor pay. While the likes of Zaoui & Co. and Qatalyst Partners (itself a U.S. tech-focused firm) pay their average employees £323k ($438k) and £1m each respectively (juniors clearly get a lot less), Mooreland Partners paid an average of £173k in the 12 months to January 2016. "Because they pay is lower, people from big banks don't want to go and work for these smaller boutiques," says one recruiter. Some, like Silverpeak and Arma appear to pay more, however.

Logan Naidu, CEO of London-based recruitment firm Dartmouth Partners, says jobs at technology boutiques are also different to those at major banks: "You’re working with more entrepreneurial companies and they’re looking for someone who can provide very holistic advice and who really understand the tech space. A lot of this work is also private placement, so it’s different from straight M&A.”

Even so, Sendagorta and Chadda suggest analysts from larger banks aren't immune to the lure of smaller tech boutiques, which offer good exposure to both start-up culture and finance. And if you want to work for a bigger tech player? You could try one of the names on the list below. These are the top boutiques for technology, media and telecom deals in the UK according to Dealogic.

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