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How has COVID-19 changed job opportunities in the Private Equity Real Estate market?


I’ve worked in Recruitment for almost 10 years, across a range of sectors including Construction, Oil & Gas and Real Estate Investment. During that period there have been many ups and downs, but the COVID-19 crisis could be the most difficult time that we all face.

At the start of January 2020, the Real Estate Recruitment Market was booming. When I spoke to Analysts and Associates, it wasn’t uncommon for me to be discussing 5-10 different mandates with exceptional Buy-side funds. Interview processes took between 2-4 weeks and candidates had the pick of 2-3 offers, with salary levels that were generally higher than they expected.

Fast forward to April 2020, the recruitment market has transformed to a completely different environment. Many Real Estate processes across Europe have either been paused or put on hold until there is more clarity in the market. This has meant that candidates who had 5-10 different opportunities to pursue now have perhaps one or no ongoing interview processes. In a short period of time, a very buoyant candidate driven market has changed and become a slow employer driven market.

Over the last month, I have spoken with numerous candidates who have asked for my advice on how to approach the next 3-6 months from a recruitment perspective. With that in mind, I have listed a few points to consider:

  1. Weigh up whether this is the right time to move

What is the reason for your job search? For instance, if the aim is purely to increase your remuneration package, I would advise this is the wrong time to be in the market. If you’re in a well-respected firm, it’s a very risky time to move, firms interviewing you will want real reasons why you’re thinking of leaving.  

  1. Brush up on your skill set

As mentioned, in a short space of time it has become an employer’s market, which means that it will be extremely competitive to obtain a buy-side role. Key things to think about: Are my modelling skills at the right level? Can I build models from scratch? Does my approach match the strategy of the firm that I’m interviewing for? Given the fact that workloads are reducing, and everyone is working from home, this is the perfect opportunity to brush up on these skills.

  1. Is my CV strong enough?

Now more than ever is the time to work on your CV when making applications. Tailor your CV to the fund that you’re applying to. If it’s a logistic fund targeting transactions in Europe, it is important to highlight similar deals, which can easily be discussed in subsequent interviews.

  1. Assess your target companies

The reality is that the funds that you shortlisted 6 months ago, as ideal employers, some will no longer be hiring and if moving into Private Equity is your goal, now is the time to research additional funds. Many candidates will focus on household names, but many smaller and mid-level funds offer fantastic opportunities and may be worth considering. Even during the COVID-19 crisis, many of my clients in this category have continued their recruitment processes and have allowed candidates that I’ve been representing to start remotely, with their offices being closed.

  1. Compensation

I understand that salary and bonuses are a major consideration when considering a new role. It’s hard to say how base salaries will be affected by COVID-19, however it is clear it will have an effect on 2021 bonuses. Previously candidates have waited for bonuses to be paid before giving notice to their firm, which in a normal year, I completely understand. This year as bonuses will be reduced and, in some cases, won’t be paid… Therefore, it might be the ideal time to consider a move earlier than planned.

  1. Lastly be patient

As mentioned previously, processes are taking longer. This is due to a continuously changing working environment and the obvious logistical issues. It is easy at this point to lose faith or patience with a firm but please be assured that firms will come back to you as soon as decisions have been made.

These are just a few things that I’d recommend considering when looking at new opportunities. If you would like more specific advice about your current situation, I would be happy to help. Please feel free to contact me on Jamie McCord jmccord@leap29.com or call me on +44 (0) 1625 537 555 ext 100.

Thanks for reading. Keep well and stay safe

Posted by Jamie McCord