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Private-Equity Pay Rose in 2020 Despite Covid-19, Survey Finds

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The Covid-19 pandemic revolutionized how private-equity professionals work but left their high pay intact last year, a new survey says.

Many private-equity employees—like other workers—moved away from densely populated, high-cost areas during the pandemic, a shift that could eventually change the status of cities like New York, Boston and San Francisco as nerve centers of the buyout industry.

Firms are opening new offices and hiring staff away from the industry’s traditional core cities, while pay for many professionals in the Midwest and Southeast last year outpaced that of their peers in the Northeast, according to a report released Wednesday by Heidrick & Struggles International Inc., an executive recruiting and consulting firm for private equity and other industries.

“We have seen a dramatic increase in firms moving to the Southeast and Southwest and individuals who are willing to move to lower-tax [areas with] warmer climates,” Jonathan Goldstein, regional managing partner, Americas private equity practice for Heidrick & Struggles, said in an email.

“While it is too soon to declare that the traditional private-equity centers are in decline, I am confident that we will continue to see a migration of talent,” he said.

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