At the PEI Infrastructure Investor Global Summit in Berlin on Wednesday 22nd March, I am hosting a panel discussion titled ‘The War for Global Infrastructure Talent’.
Make no mistake, there is a war on. If you haven’t been hiring recently, you might not know about it. But it is raging, and your more junior people – those with anything from 18 months’ experience up to 9 or 10 years – are at the heart of it.
Joining me on the panel will be a cross-section of the industry – some of the leading people from equity and debt investors, banks, sponsors and advisers across infrastructure and energy. Whilst their organisations all have different roles to play, there is one aspect central to all their strategies; the hiring and retention of the best talent in the space.
So what are the key issues promulgating this war? Here is a preview of the factors we shall be discussing at this session in Berlin:
Attracting the best talent into Infrastructure and Energy
Are the brightest, best and most diverse set of graduates coming out of Universities globally thinking about careers in Infrastructure and Energy Finance? Do they even know about the space? Historically many of our candidates who came in via banks ‘fell’ into the Infra space. Do grads even want to work for banks anymore? If not, how are they going to come into infra?
Remuneration levels across the industry and what is driving them
Are you aware how steeply junior salary packages are increasing in the leading organisations? Do you think it is all a conspiracy promoted by Dan McCarthy to fool his clients into paying bigger fees? Or are you actually at the sharp end, meeting the best candidates and realising how much they are being offered to go elsewhere? How do you react to this disparity between junior and mid-level rates of package increase?
If you’re an advisory firm who trains up graduates, gives them modelling skills and deal experience, you are not alone in your heartache at seeing them leave after 2 years (just when they are starting to repay your investment!) and go to a bank or a fund. How could you improve your chances of retaining them for longer, or indeed forever?
Fishing in the candidate pool: Sourcing the best junior talent from banks, advisories and more
Every fisherman will tell you how important your knowledge of the waters is. You can have all the best tackle, but if you don’t fish in the correct position, you will have an empty landing net. Where is the talent in the industry? Where are the people who would love the opportunity to bring their skills and ambition into your business?
What’s the most appealing destination?
Is it true that the juniors all want to go to equity? Or is there something which transcends a firm’s role in the industry which attracts high-potential juniors? Also in terms of geography, where do the most talented young Infrastructure and Energy professionals want to be based. Is it all about London and New York? Or is Mr. Junk Errr correct when he says that most young professionals yearn to work in Frankfurt, Brussels, Luxembourg or the outskirts of Paris?
Improving gender diversity in the asset class, and the battle to hire the best women
Why are there more women in law firms and financial advisers than there are in banks and funds? Does the asset class appeal to women at all? What are we doing as an industry to promote women and when, if ever, will the industry be equally represented between men and women?
Come and join the debate!
I hope that many of you have organisations generous enough to have bought you a ticket (memo to PEI – not cheap!) to this fantastic annual summit, but if not we shall be broadcasting the panel discussion live on Facebook, so tune in. In the meantime, I would love to read your comments on some of the above thought-provoking questions – also if you have questions for the panel please let me have them, and I will gladly quote you when I read them out.