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:
Only a small number of IR specialist positions are available in the PE industry. Many more opportunities are found outside the industry. For example, a significant portion of the National Investor Relations Institute's members are employed in manufacturing, finance and insurance, information services, and retail trade.
“General partners tend to recruit their investor relations people from elsewhere in private equity, such as direct investment professionals, financial control, or fund administration, or externally from corporate finance,” according to Private Equity Recruitment, a PE recruiter. So getting your foot in the door at a private equity firm, or obtaining investor relations experience in the corporate world, will improve your chances of landing a job.
Visit https://www.niri.org/career-center and https://www.efinancialcareers.com for job listings. Consider joining the National Investor Relations Institute to improve your skills (via its certification and continuing education offerings) and build your network. The bigger your network, the better your chances of landing a job. Other job-search strategies include networking on LinkedIn and other social media sites, using the resources of your university’s career services office, participating in internships, and working with private equity recruiters.
The typical advancement path is from business analyst/assistant investor relations (IR) manager, to IR manager, and IR director. It’s important to remember that most IR departments at private equity firms are small, so there are fewer opportunities for advancement. Mid-size and large PE firms offer the best advancement prospects. Talented investor relations professionals can also advance to become managing partners. Others move onto work as investor relations managers in the corporate world, or pursue opportunities as financial controllers or chief financial officers with corporations or in the alternative asset management industry.
Read financial publications such as Investor Relations Update (https://www.niri.org/resources/publications/ir-update) and IR Magazine (https://www.irmagazine.com) to learn more about the field.
Sign up for Bloomberg’s investor relations newsletter, http://b.bloomberg.com/InvestorRelationsNewsletterSubscribe?src=blog.
Attend the National Investor Relations Institute Conference (https://www.niri.org/professional-development) to network, participate in continuing education opportunities, and to interview for jobs.