In April, PER saw 32 professionals start their new roles in private equity. Ordinarily this would not seem unusual, yet it is the circumstances in which these new starters joined their new firms that is quite remarkable. They didn’t get a tour of the office, directions to the fire escape or a welcome lunch with their new colleagues. Due to the coronavirus, all were being introduced to their new roles over video conference from their homes.
We’ve been keeping in touch with April’s new starters and their remote onboarding has been a resounding success. One person moved from Frankfurt to a role in the UK in late March. When he arrived at his new London apartment, he was impressed to find his work laptop and phone ready and waiting for him to start on the 1st of April. We also heard about a firm that brought the start date forward for their new recruit after her between-job travel plans had fallen foul of global restrictions. Another successful investor was so keen to get going that she accepted a job on Friday and was able to start her new role remotely on the following Monday morning.
Our clients have remained committed to bringing their new recruits on board, putting time and effort into retaining the exceptionally talented professionals they committed to either before the lockdown or over the last few weeks. Equally, their new hires have been thrilled to get started in their new roles, even if it is not quite business as usual. One told us that she feels very welcomed by her new team and appreciates having the time to get her head around all the details of her new role.
As we’ve discovered through our Taking the Temperature survey of the trends in hiring, compensation and confidence during the coronavirus crisis, the vast majority (over 90%) of firms have decided against using job retention schemes for their investment teams. Those we’ve spoken to say their teams are hard at work and there’s plenty to be done on the portfolio as well as sourcing new investments. One client from the digital infrastructure space said they needed to bring their new hire on board remotely as soon as possible during April to share the burden of the team’s demanding workload.
PER’s Middle East team, based in London, are accustomed to the remote recruitment process, with many of the professionals they secure taking part in video interviews from around the world before relocating for their new role. It seems natural that firms in this region are deploying this tried-and-tested video conferencing technology for both recruiting and onboarding in these circumstances.
Through our Taking the Temperature survey we have gauged that 52% of respondents would now be prepared to make hiring decisions based on video conferencing alone in at least some cases. We have a feeling that there will be an increase in virtual recruitment processes even after the coronavirus pandemic. There is also a chance that, for many of us who can work from home, our working lives will become more flexible, taking advantage of the technology that’s proven to be so successful not only in allowing us to keep working but also enabling us to continue to develop our careers by interviewing and starting new roles remotely.