More than 8,400 firms actively manage private equity and private debt funds worldwide, according to The 2020 Preqin Global Private Equity & Venture Capital Report. This is an increase from 6,170 in 2015. About 45 percent of PE firms are headquartered in the United States—typically in big cities such as New York, Boston, San Francisco, and Chicago.
According to Private Equity International, the world's five largest private equity firms in 2020 were:
In addition to employment in the PE industry, financial managers work in nearly every other industry, as well with nonprofit organizations and government agencies.
Many financial managers break into the field by first working as accountants and auditors at PE firms, accounting firms that provide services to PE firms, portfolio companies of PE firms, government regulating bodies, or the accounting/internal auditing departments of corporations. With time and experience, they eventually move into management positions.
To learn about job openings, network at job fairs and on social media, use the resources of your school’s career services office, contact recruiters, and visit employment sites such as https://www.efinancialcareers.com and https://www.jobsearchdigest.com/private-equity-jobs.
With experience, finance professionals can advance from controller or fund administrator to the top financial position of chief financial officer (CFO). Some CFOs hold partnership stakes in their funds. At accounting firms or corporation, a CFO might advance to the position of chief operating officer or chief executive officer. Others advance by receiving higher salaries or bonuses, or by moving to a more prestigious employer.
Try to excel and gain experience in lower-level positions such as assistant financial officer, accountant, auditor, or financial analyst to increase your chances of being considered for management trainee programs sponsored by your employer.
Read publications such as CFO (https://www.cfo.com) and Financial Executive (https://www.financialexecutives.org) to learn more about the field.
Visit the following Web sites for job listings:
Attend industry events such as the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants’ CFO Conference to network and to interview for jobs.