Private equity firms appear to be having a tough time attracting younger talent to their teams and an even tougher time getting that talent to stick around, according to EY’s 2020 global private equity survey report.

More than half (60 per cent) of those surveyed by EY said they experience some difficulty in attracting employees from younger generations. And more (75 per cent) said they have trouble retaining those younger hires, with firms managing more than $15 billion (82 per cent) citing those difficulties more frequently.

In larger firms especially, the majority (91 per cent) of managers are taking action to attract younger talent. The most popular strategies for firms of all sizes include providing better in-office amenities, such as free lunches or an on-site gym (68 per cent), allowing for a more casual dress code (58 per cent), giving employees the flexibility to work from home (51 per cent) and health and wellness reimbursement programs (51 per cent).

Overall, the survey found many private equity firms are looking to diversify their talent pools in other ways as well. Increasing gender representation was the top talent management priority (47 per cent) for those surveyed, followed by creating a more inclusive culture (37 per cent), increasing ethnic minority representation (31 per cent) and improving employee retention (29 per cent).

“An inclusive and diverse talent pool encourages the free flow of ideas and can serve as a catalyst to innovation and efficiency, which can also drive positive financial performance, higher retention rates and employee satisfaction,” the report noted.

Larger firms, managing more than $15 billion, appear more focused on inclusive culture and upping ethnic minority representation, the survey found. Meanwhile mid-sized firms, managing between $2.5 billion to $15 billion, are keener to improve gender representation.

Smaller firms with less than $2.5 billion under management are also prioritizing diversification along both gender and ethnic lines, but are most focused on hiring technologically savvy employees. “Employees who fit this profile may be better equipped to help the smaller, leaner fund managers compete against the larger firms for investment ideas and asset growth. At the same time, all firms are seeking to hire more technically proficient employees, regardless of size,” the report said.