Apollo Global hired 350 people last year. “It’s a super nice, low-ego place now”

If you’re looking for a fast-growing, high-paying, modest sort of place to work, there’s always Jane Street. But if you’re not a developer or a quant, you might want to try Apollo Global instead. The buy-side firm is a reformed employer, and it’s been doing some big hiring.

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Speaking during Apollo’s investor call last week, Apollo’s CFO Martin Kelly said the firm hired 350 people last year, which by our reckoning was an increase of nearly 9%. “Half the net new hires [were] located in North America and Europe and the other half in Mumbai,” said Kelly. In 2024, Apollo intends to hire in a “very targeted” way, said Kelly.  Mumbai will remain a focus, but the fund is also focused on scaling origination, building high net worth coverage and looking at new products and product creation. Speaking on the same call, CEO Marc Rowan stressed the firm’s history of crazy expansion since 2008. “We’ve grown 14x. That’s faster than Apple’s revenue. That’s faster than Microsoft’s revenue. That’s faster than semiconductors, truly extraordinary,” Rowan enthused. 

While Apollo’s grown, it’s changed. Three years ago, juniors at the firm complained of 20-hour days and 3am grinds among dealmakers who ‘acted like jerks’. In 2021, the firm was reportedly compelled to hike associates’ pay by $100k to $550k a year after many of them threatened to leave. 

Some of Apollo’s historic hard driving culture appears to have been propagated by Josh Harris, the Apollo co-founder who stepped down to manage his own investments in mid-’21. In 2020, the Wall Street Journal accused of Harris of sending emails on Saturday mornings and following up with a “?” if he didn’t get a response within 10 minutes. It said Harris had a reputation for hammering young analysts about their financial models” and a penchant for saying things like, “Some people play golf. Some people play tennis. I work.”  

Marc Rowan took over as Apollo CEO in early 2021, around the time of the complaints about overwork. Under his management, the culture there has changed. Bloomberg said last year that it’s become more cerebral, that there’s less micromanaging and more diversity. Speaking off the record, one private equity headhunter confirms that this is the case. “Apollo is no longer a challenging or super-aggressive place to work,” he says, citing the experience of people he’s placed there. “It attracts super-nice, low ego people now.”

This may be so, although some associates at Apollo might disagree. Writing last year on Wall Street Oasis, one young female associate who claimed to work for the fund said the hours were still “insane” and that 80 hour weeks and being on call during the night were the norm.

Apollo ranked fourth among the best private capital employers to work for in our Ideal Employer report; it was judged as less conducive to wellbeing than rival funds. Apollo didn’t quickly respond to a request to comment for this article.

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