The table above is an example of private equity salaries at various levels of seniority. You can gain access to thousands of data points across hundreds of private equity firms in the WSO Company Database.
From pre-MBA associates to managing directors, private equity pay is traditionally heavily weighted toward the bonus portion as well as carry. Carry or carried interest represents the percentage of the upside return that the senior private equity professionals get to keep in the case where returns exceed a certain threshold.
Lets quickly run through an example to explain how carry works and why it can be such a large portion of the compensation at private equity funds.
value of the fund through smart acquisitions and exits, so now they have returned $2
create for the LPs. In other words, a whopping $200 million (if this fund only has
20-30 investment professionals, the guys at the top that own a majority of it can make
In practice, the exact amount that the carry portion is worth will depend on the amount of time it takes to generate returns over and above some hurdle rate (like an 8% annual return), so its more complicated, but you get the idea.
At the pre-MBA associate level, hours are usually slightly better than an investment banking analyst, except at some private equity mega funds. Most pre-MBA associates start after two years in investment banking or consulting and receive their first private equity bonus around June to July, approximately one year after they start working. It is rare for pre-MBA associates to receive carry, but it does happen on occasion.
The compensation for Vice Presidents, Directors, and Managing Directors is much more variable, but the salary and bonus is usually much more of a function of the funds performance since a lot of the compensation is tied up in carry.
See below for an estimated range of current private equity salaries.
Analyst/Associate – First Year: $100K – $250K
Analyst/Associate – Second Year: $150K – $300K
Analyst/Associate – Third Year +: $170K – $350K
(Again, please note that, at the higher levels, private equity compensation comes with
carried interest, which is directly related to your firms profitability and may
These private equity salary figures are an approximation and rough range based on the user registration data on Wall Street Oasis as well as the thousands of discussions on PE compensation that the community has had at these levels.
For more details on the specific pay at certain firms, please check out our private equity industry report. Just by adding one submission you can unlock all of this data (sample below) along or pay a small monthly subscription.
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Patrick Curtisis a member ofWSO Editorial Boardwhich helps ensure the accuracy of content across top articles on Wall Street Oasis. He has experience in investment banking at Rothschild and private equity at Tailwind Capital along with an MBA from the Wharton School of Business. He is also the founder and current CEO of Wall Street Oasis. This content was originally created by and has evolved with the help of our mentors.
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