Private equity compensation trends in North America: 2018
Compensation Trends

Private equity compensation trends in North America: 2018

Heidrick & Struggles’ annual survey of investment professionals in North America tracks recent compensation trends in the region.
Private equity compensation trends in North America 2018

Heidrick & Struggles invited investment professionals working at private equity firms making direct investments in North America to participate in an online compensation survey about base salaries, bonuses, and carried interest plans.

We received responses from more than 630 professionals across the value chain, including associates/senior associates, vice presidents, principals, partners/managing directors, and managing partners.

A vast majority of respondents found that their 2018 base salary and 2017 overall compensation (base + bonus) increased or remained the same, with more than half of respondents (57%) reporting an increase in base salary from 2017 to 2018. Managing partners experienced the largest base salary increase, with 13.6% growth, to $786,000, followed by principals, with an increase of 10.3%, to $289,000. While associates/senior associates and vice presidents experienced a 6.8% and 6.5% increase, respectively, base salaries for partners/managing directors increased by 8.1% in 2018.

Heidrick & Struggles is currently witnessing the most active hiring market that has ever existed within private markets, and demand is coming from both existing and new funds. Many candidates are interested in joining newly formed groups where they will receive a higher-ranking title and faster upward mobility. Given the growth of intermediaries and the low cost of capital, finding an edge in sourcing transactions has become key, and many PE firms are adding pure business development professionals.

About the authors

Mohd Arsalan ( leads the research team for Heidrick & Struggles’ Private Equity Practice; he is based in the Gurgaon office.

Jonathan Goldstein ( is a partner in the New York office; he leads the Private Equity Sector in the Americas.

Larry Oberfeld ( is the thought leadership specialist for the Private Equity Practice; he is based in the New York office.

Kanika Walia ( is an assistant manager at the firm’s Knowledge Management Center; he is based in the Gurgaon office.

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