Burnout prompts PE professionals to consider leaving the industry

Reasons cited for wanting to quit include heavy workload, manual processes, long working hours, tight deadlines and increasing demands from management.

As pressures in the workplace grow amid a frantic fundraising environment, nearly one-third of financial services and banking professionals are considering leaving their positions.

A recent survey by LemonEdge, a digital accountancy platform for private markets, received responses from 300 UK-based workers across the private equity, venture capital and asset management sectors, among others. Of these respondents, 31 percent said high pressure could make them leave their current roles, while another 31 percent said they had considered leaving their industries altogether.

The most frequently cited reasons for wanting to leave positions were heavy workload (42 percent), manual processes (36 percent), long working hours (32 percent), tight deadlines (26 percent) and increasing demands from management (25 percent). The pandemic appears to have been a key driver of this trend, with the shift from office to hybrid working accounting for a significant increase in worker burnout.

Exhaustion noticed

One-third of the survey’s respondents said the sudden change in work environment had caused a rise in their burnout levels, while one in six went as far as to say it had risen exponentially. A further 15 percent of financial services workers feel they can no longer continue within their roles – a figure that rises to 21 percent when only counting men.

Such a dynamic is perhaps unsurprising given the current fundraising environment. Private Equity International has previously reported that many LPs and investor relations managers are encountering severe difficulties as countless firms come to market all at once, many with larger-than-ever targets. In May, one PE fundraiser told PEI they were scheduling overlapping fundraising calls to ensure maximum efficiency in this setting.

“Larger funds usually come with increased complexity, but also increased deal size,” Gareth Hewitt, LemonEdge co-founder and chief executive, tells PEI. “Depending on the complexity and deal size of the fund, and the ability for technology to perform at scale, we would think [the issues being faced by workers] can be alleviated. It’s certainly our goal from the technology side of it.”

Advent International this year closed the second-largest fund in PE history on $25 billion after less than six months in market, while Blackstone is reportedly targeting a record $30 billion for its latest flagship fund. PEI’s latest fundraising report says PE funds sought almost $1.2 trillion as of Q1’s end, increasing the strain on investors trying to keep pace with fundraising activity.