PE and VC-backed firms shake off COVID disruption

  • Private equity and venture capital-backed companies add over 103,000 jobs in 2020
  • Businesses with PE/VC investment employ 9.9 million people across Europe, 4.3% of workforce

Invest Europe, the association representing Europe’s private equity, venture capital and infrastructure sectors, as well as their investors, today published its ‘Private Equity at Work’ report. The research illustrates how private equity helped European companies overcome the effects of COVID-19 to add 2% more jobs in 2020, a year when the overall European workforce contracted by 1.6%.

  • Private equity and venture capital-backed businesses created over 103,000 jobs in 2020, supporting SMEs that are the backbone of the economy and giving a boost to innovative and entrepreneurial companies operating in technology, fintech and finance, and biotech and healthcare.
  • The industry demonstrated that it continues to be a cornerstone of European society, securing jobs for almost 10 million workers at 24,663 companies across the continent during an intensely challenging period for business and society alike.

Now in its third year, Invest Europe’s Private Equity at Work tracks the progress in employment and job growth at companies that were backed by private equity and venture capital between 2017 and 2020, providing a cumulative picture of the industry’s contribution to the workplace. Venture capital-backed companies created 50% net new jobs for 86,258 workers over the period, while companies benefitting from buyout investment hired 221,694 more people – an increase of 11%. Generalist private equity firms that invest in businesses across all stages of development added 15% more jobs, or 205,726 additional people.
Eric de Montgolfier, CEO of Invest Europe, commented:

  • “Private equity and venture capital-backed companies throughout Europe employ more people than the entire population of Hungary, and created new jobs in 2020 equalling the entire population of Nancy, France, or Bedford, U.K.”
  • “The pandemic did impact European employment and private equity and venture capital-backed businesses could not entirely escape the effects. However, there can be no doubt that the industry’s long-term investment and hands-on operational approach builds better businesses and creates jobs year in, year out.”

Over 80% of companies in Invest Europe’s research were SMEs employing fewer than 250 staff. This critical segment at the heart of national economies and local communities witnessed job growth of 5.3% and supported 854,459 workers in 2020.
Private Equity at Work highlights private equity’s contribution to sectors that are driving innovation and working for a better future for Europe’s citizens. For example, 7.4% more jobs were created in Biotech & Healthcare, underlining Europe’s leading role in drugs to combat COVID and other life-threatening conditions. Meanwhile, Finance & Insurance – at the centre of the fintech revolution – and Information Communications Technology added 7.7% and 4.9% more jobs respectively.
Private Equity at Work is Invest Europe’s exhaustive study of private equity’s role in employment in Europe. It aims to develop a comprehensive picture of the industry’s contribution to jobs and the economy that those jobs support. To download and read Private Equity at Work in full, please click here.