THE PE Industry is still recruiting for these roles…
The COVID-19 pandemic has affected all aspects of our lives, and businesses have adapted to the changing environment to make sense of the new normal. While many businesses are laying off workers, PE firms are still recruiting candidates for key senior roles.
As a specialist CFO recruiter to the PE Industry, Ken McCarthy, Founder and MD of Nexus Point International is regularly in touch with some leading big names from renowned wealth management firms and the PE Firms. He has shared some amazing insights into the recruitment behavior these days and why the hiring trend remains largely unaffected by the COVID-19 crisis.
According to McCarthy, the number of inquiries pertaining to Chief Financial Officer candidates with IPO experience has actually surged throughout the Pandemic. The agency itself has been moving along smoothly, with only one-third of its activities hampered due to lockdown measures.
PE’s long term demand still remains pretty high, with private equity retaining its reputation as the top-performing asset. Offers for CFOs are still being made and accepted, which means more people are needed across North America and Europe, McCarthy says.
Besides, firms are also hiring these CFO roles to support portfolio companies through these troubling times. In London and Boston, for instance, companies are striving to uphold their capabilities to handle inquiries from limited partners, requiring financial personnel. He also revealed that his organization had over 40 live CFO mandates since mid-Jan 2021.
The major reason for the trend, he pointed out, is that PE firms have capital locked up for quite a long time. Hence, they have sufficient funds to keep paying their staff, executing their investment strategies and helping their portfolio companies. All these functions mandate the recruitment of highly skilled people, and so, PE firms have continued to hire during the pandemic.
The initial stages of the recruitment process have been conducted over video conference and phone calls. Things, however, become trickier when the time comes for onboarding the new hires due to lockdowns and social distancing measures he says.
At first, we were uncomfortable with the idea of hiring candidates without meeting them in-person. However, after spending weeks interviewing people via video conferencing, we can now find talent and make an offer without ever seeing them.
Many clients are looking for candidates possessing IPO experience in specialist Industry sectors such as Technology and Healthcare. Some firms are more proactive than others and have had some recent placements, while others continue their candidate search.
McCarthy thinks there’s no reason to slow down as employees can easily work from home. Everything can remain on schedule, thanks to telecommunications and technology.
PE firms are holding digital meetings via video or phone, innovating and connecting, regardless of their locations. Text-based collaboration and quick conversations have been made easy by real-time chat tools. Through digital asset management tools (DAM) and shared drives everyone is easily able to access documents, images, videos, and more without having to make a phone call or request access.
It’s true that the COVID-19 crisis has created great disruption and uncertainty in businesses and their workforces. The most heavily impacted industries include the airline industry, hospitality industry and energy sector.
However, despite the current situation, PE firms are still recruiting for these critical roles because the demand for financial advice is even more acute now. With so much dry powder, there’s no reason for PE firms to stop functioning. This is the time for them to support their portfolio companies.
In addition, technology has made it possible for recruitment agencies and businesses to carry out the onboarding process over phones and video conferences. So, there is nothing holding them back and recruitment for critical roles continues.