How to beat the BV hiring crunch

BVWireIssue #126-1
March 6, 2013

“When you’re hiring above a certain functional level in the hierarchy of a BV firm, your only option is to hire from within the profession,” says John Borrowman (Borrowman Baker), responding to last week’s survey suggesting a current shortage of BV talent. Most consulting services suffer a similar crunch, but more so for BV because it is a business of judgment in which the deliverable is an opinion.

The BV profession may also suffer a “structural” mismatch between where the jobs are and where the talent is willing to be, he says. Firms in smaller markets, in particular, may find it particularly difficult to attract experienced professionals from the larger firms and urban markets. Shrinking the universe of available talent by each of these hurdles—the capacity to do the work, the readiness to make the change, and the willingness to do so—quickly reveals why the BV market is so tight. Of course, compensation plays a role in attracting top talent, Borrowman says, but just as important in keeping it at the firm (or keeping your current professionals from leaving) is providing top-notch training and supervision.

What is a growing practice to do? First, use “smarter” hiring decisions (with testing on practical and writing skills) to reduce turnover. “Offer plenty of training and development” for new recruits, Borrowman says, “and make sure there are advancement opportunities” for existing talent. Two additional key points:

  • Be less insistent on hiring “someone I don’t have to train.” He’s not suggesting that you hire “green beans,” only that you consider talent that shows good potential for bearing fruit in the future.
  • Pay more attention to campus recruiting and internships. More finance programs, at the undergraduate and advanced levels, are incorporating valuation-related coursework, Borrowman says. “If you build a good relationship with finance professors and demonstrate that you are a solid employment opportunity for students, you can find yourself receiving cream-of-the-crop referrals,” including former interns, perhaps, with actual BV experience.

And, of course, compensation is critical. To position your salary structure correctly within the universe of BV firms and constellations of available talent, check out the Borrowman Baker/BVR 2012 National BV Salary Survey Report now.

Please let us know if you have any comments about this article or enhancements you would like to see.