2022 Europe and Africa Private Capital Compensation Survey
Compensation Trends

2022 Europe and Africa Private Capital Compensation Survey

Heidrick & Struggles' 10th annual survey includes a review of major hiring trends, an in-depth look into the structure of 2021 compensation packages, and a spotlight on trends in continental Europe.
Henry Price-Haworth

For full compensation data, download the full report

Welcome to the 2022 Europe and Africa Private Capital Compensation Survey, the tenth annual edition. Our goal in producing this survey is to develop and share with the industry a comprehensive understanding of both compensation practices and backgrounds of investment, fundraising, and operating professionals at private capital firms across Europe and Africa.

This year’s survey includes responses from 608 professionals working across Europe and Africa. Many thanks to all who have completed the survey, whether you have done so every year or participated for the first time this year. We appreciate your time and effort in contributing to the project. If you wish to discuss the survey in greater detail, please do not hesitate to contact us. 

State of the European private capital market 2022

This year’s survey includes a review of private capital activity in Europe and Africa for 2021 and 2022 to date, our thoughts on the major hiring trends for private capital professionals, and a closer look into a comparison of compensation between continental Europe and the United Kingdom.

As it is around the globe, uncertainty is currently rife across Europe, with the United Kingdom feeling a particular lack of confidence after a fifth political leadership change in six years. Though the survey was in the field before the most recent UK financial crisis, rising interest rates and high inflation were already creating a relatively unfamiliar environment and an unpredictable future for businesses and consumers alike. 

Nonetheless, in the first half of 2022 in Europe, 4,053 deals closed, worth €463.5 billion; these are year-over-year increases of 16.2% and 34.8%, respectively.1 According to Pitchbook, it is clear that deal size, not deal count, was behind the record deal value. At the other end of the deal cycle, in the first half of 2022, 739 PE-backed companies exited, for a cumulative value of €157.8 billion, marking a year-over-year decrease of 25.3% in exit value, while exit volume remained flat.2According to Pitchbook, the sharp decline in exit value is due to the risks that the European economy was already facing at the time, including the geopolitical conflict in Ukraine and persistent inflation.

In Africa, according to the African Private Equity and Venture Capital Association, private capital fundraising reached record levels of $4.4 billion in 2021; an increase which is 63% higher than the annual fundraising average of $2.7 billion from 2016 to 2020.3

Looking ahead, after the boom private markets have experienced over the last few years, many are anticipating a correction in valuations and capital raised and deployed, as the European exit data indicates.

Even though macro-economic factors are typically less of a concern given the sector’s focus on relatively long-term investment returns, with institutional pension funds facing challenges due to high inflation that creates pressure to deleverage, private markets firms (particularly those in the United Kingdom) reliant on such LPs will likely find the already well-trod and rocky fundraising trail becoming even steeper. 

In addition, a recession is also expected within the next year, or, in the very best case, continued stagnation of European economies. While some private capital firms are well-poised to take advantage of this scenario, others may be hit hard by the impact on portfolio company valuations. 

Hiring and compensation trends

The incredibly heated hiring market of the past three or four years seems to be mature, though it is not yet clear whether hiring will drop off a cliff or slowly cool. As a result, we expect that the red-hot demand for talent at all levels and roles, which heavily favored employees, may lessen, if only slightly.

Cash compensation at the junior levels has been high, largely driven by the sources of talent for junior positions: as many private capital firms hire from investment banks, private capital firms are being forced to compete. Investment banks have significantly raised cash compensation for their 2021–2022 intake, and junior positions are always more net and gross cash–focused than their more senior peers. Thus, cash compensation increased a small amount for operating professionals at the principal level and decreased a small among for those at the managing partner/partner level, while compensation for fundraising and investor relations professionals decreased markedly at the managing partner/partner level and rose (less markedly) for those at the junior roles. However, there have been signs of a decrease in compensation, notably for fundraising professionals. It is possible that some firms have not hit fundraising targets, leading to reduced bonuses, and some LPs have indicated there may be some big fundraising failures in 2023. We have seen that the demand for general fundraising talent has fallen off in parallel with an increase in demand for specialists who can expand or create new distribution channels in the wealth or insurance company spaces. Along with this, we have also seen that generalist professionals are not, on the whole, able to sustain their demands for the largest compensation packages for their roles. 

In terms of compensation by gender, the survey found, encouragingly, little disparity. Indeed, women in very senior roles are rare enough that firms are willing to increase compensation in order to retain them. However, firms can still do more to maintain pay equity at the junior level and, crucially, ensure that policies are in place to minimize the financial and career-building costs of taking parental leave. 

Looking ahead, the horizon is more unclear. As inflation and geopolitical conflict continue to destabilize societies and interest rates rise, focus on compensation will rise, with a particular emphasis on base salaries in the United Kingdom.

For full compensation data, download the full report


The authors wish to thank Mohd Arsalan for his contributions to this report.

About the authors

Tom Thackeray (tthackeray@heidrick.com) is a partner in Heidrick & Struggles’ London office and a member of the global Private Equity Practice.

Henry Price-Haworth (hpricehaworth@heidrick.com) is a senior associate in the London office.


1 European PE Breakdown, Q2 2022, PitchBook, p. 4

2 European PE Breakdown, Q2 2022, PitchBook, p. 11

32021 African Private Capital Activity Report, African Private Equity and Venture Capital Association, April 2022, p. 3

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