"Our people are the most precious resource we have" is a common refrain on company websites. And PE investors have taken note: between the start of 2008 and the present, they've invested in 186 U.S.-based companies involved in human resources, human capital, staffing and recruitment. Companies primarily focused on human capital services capture 54% of the deal activity in the space, while those that provide workforce management or recruiting software, like PeopleAdmin or PeopleAnswers, account for a fair chunk (27%).
One might expect deal activity to decline in years of barren job reports, given that companies involved in hiring and training of staff might seem less attractive investment prospects when fewer companies are hiring or training, but deal activity stayed fairly steady in the timeframe. Deal count only declined substantially in 2009. Vista Equity Partners is easily the most active investor in the space during the time period, with 11 investments in mostly workforce management software companies; its recent acquisition of PeopleAdmin is no exception.