Private equity firms are already interviewing first-year investment banking analysts to fill 2021 associate positions, marking the earliest-ever kickoff to recruiting for those roles, sources told Business Insider.
That highlights the escalating war for talent in the financial sector as more jobs go to big tech and banks have become increasingly pitted against private equity firms for junior hires.
PE firms have been racing to lock down talent to hire associates, pushing up the timeline of extending offers to investment banking analysts earlier and earlier. Last year, firms started interviewing in late October, recruiters said. This year, the PE firms are already moving in after analysts — typically 22-year -olds that just graduated from college this past spring — who have only a few weeks of work experience under their belts.
Sources including academic advisers, recruiters, and insiders at PE firms, told Business Insider that the activity is widespread, including firms such as Thoma Bravo and TA Associates who were early movers last year, but also some of the largest firms including Warburg Pincus, TPG and KKR.
Representatives from those firms either did not respond to requests for comment or declined to comment.
It could not be determined which firm may have sparked the September frenzy, but one source familiar with the matter pointed at TA Associates as the first mover. Analysts are now expected to do rounds of interviews with private equity firms over the weekend and then decide on whether they will accept offers as early as next week.
One academic adviser said students who recently graduated from his class were contacted by recruiters in the first week of August and now they are interviewing with private equity firms.
“I got several inbounds from [firms] about how irritated they were about it,” he said.
Private equity firms have pushed up the recruiting timeline over the last several years, despite how difficult it is to assess bankers so early on in their careers. Still, they feel the need to remain competitive and get first dibs on the best talent.
On Friday morning, Andrew Reed, an executive at Sequoia Capital, tweeted that private equity associate recruiting “apparently started last night,” citing the social media account Litquidity Capital, a financial meme account on Twitter and Instagram, posting information about the process.
Reed did not respond to a request for comment.
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