On International Women's Day 2022, we are celebrating the hundreds of brilliant women that we have placed in roles within private markets over the last 25 years.
We thought that we would reflect on some of the most important advice and insight shared by the women who have attended our women's breakfast events. These breakfasts, taking place both in-person and online, give women in private equity open up about what’s important to them in their careers and give advice to one another on how to overcome common hurdles. 


Female representation differs greatly across companies: some of our attendees come from firms where as few as 10% of the team are female, while others are in equal-split workplaces. The general consensus is that greater representation is needed across the industry, especially at higher levels. Most of the women we speak to make the point that men need to join the conversation and be actively involved in organisations like Level 20 if there’s going to be a significant change.


For those who feel their diligence is failing to lead to promotion, the advice is "work smarter not harder". Being the person who gets things done only gets you more to do. Instead, become the go-to person for specific skills by actively demonstrating your expertise in an area. We’ve spoken to women in senior positions who’ve decreased their workload and increased their status in a firm by following this strategy.


Reaching the next stage in your career is all about being as visible as possible to the decision makers at the top. The following were top tips from our attendees on the topic of internal self-promotion: speak up about your deals at weekly meetings; ask pertinent questions; make space in your line manager’s diary to discuss your successes.


Firms often have valuable mentoring programmes that provide much-needed support, especially early on in a private equity career. But you don’t have to wait to be assigned a mentor: many of the women we meet take guidance from peers, Partners, or external individuals whom they’d like to emulate in their work or career trajectory. Asking for guidance is generally well-received as industry experts are keen to mentor up-and-coming women.


"Don’t apologise for talking about money," an attendee at one of our breakfasts exclaimed. "After all, we all work in private equity!" 
For everyone at our breakfasts who has expressed concern about negotiating compensation, there has always been a positive story where the questioning base salary was awarded. All agree that you have to go in with the right information, so it’s important to talk to recruiters and ascertain the industry benchmark for your position and experience.


I always tell attendees at our breakfasts that most experienced women in the industry would like to tell their younger selves not to be afraid. And that’s the overwhelming message during all of our events; we see women encouraging one another to be fearless, whether in relation to career risks, networking or negotiations.


Our women’s breakfasts are a regular feature of the PER calendar. If you’d like to attend an event or know a woman working in private equity who would benefit, email Tilly.Small@PER-people.com for details and to book your place. 
Gail McManus
Managing Director