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Part 1 - large company Vs small company - does size matter when it comes to your career?

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Lizzie Tasker Blog, Career Advice, Job Search...

Having a choice in your career, whatever stage you’re at, is a great position to be in.  And in the candidate-driven market of today, there’s a better than ever chance that you could be.

It’s sometimes easy to forget that after hours of CV writing, an application process, rounds of interviews, and testing, that the recruitment process is a two-way street. For most candidates, accepting a job offer is a big decision. There are lots of factors to consider along the way; the job role, the location, or the pay and benefits, to name just a few. But what about the size of the company itself?

Organisations come in all shapes and sizes, but in broad terms, a business with less than 50 employees and a turnover of less than £10m is deemed as a small business, 50-250 employees and a turnover of less than £50m a medium business and 250+ employees and a turnover of £50m+ a large business.

So which is best to work for? Well, there’s no right or wrong answer! Ultimately, it comes down to personal choice.  We’ve compiled some of the pros and cons in this two-part blog post, starting with what you might expect working for a larger company.

It’s also important to remember that every company is different and not all large and small organisations will fall into these generalisations.  

Advantages of working for a big company

Structure

Within a larger firm, it’s likely your role will be well-defined, so you’ll be clear on your duties, who you report to and the wider hierarchy. There’s more likely to be procedures and policies to follow too, which is a positive if you prefer a more formal environment.

Benefits

Larger firms with more employees often have access to a better array of benefits simply due to their buying power; especially when it comes to things like employee discount schemes or health insurance. Large office spaces may also come with on-site perks such as gyms, restaurants or a separate staff room. Bigger firms may also be more set up to allow flexible working or working from home options.

Opportunities

Your route to career progression will likely be clearer and there’s potentially a bigger ladder to climb as they’ll be more levels of management.

It’s not just about progression, larger firms may operate nationally, or even internationally meaning that you could have the opportunity to travel or even relocate.

Additionally, you’ll also have access to more internal opportunities, meaning if you fancy a career change you could move to a different area of the business.

Training

Larger firms are more likely to have a bigger budget for training and/or an internal training department, meaning you could access courses which will boost your skills whilst you’re earning.

Resources

Again, down to the buying power of a bigger business, you’re more likely to be given the latest tech or resources to do your job - such as IT support, hardware or systems.

Social

To encourage team building and bonding, companies with a large number of employees may encourage staff to engage on a social level - through sports and activities, organised events, or even just after-work drinks in the boardroom.

Prestige

Having a household name as an employer can look good on your CV and may open doors in the future.

Disadvantages of working for a big company

One of a number

One of the most common negatives you’ll hear about working for a big company is that it can sometimes feel like you’re simply a number. It can be more difficult to relate your day-to-day efforts with the wider success and objectives of the firm, which some may find de-motivating.  

Less able to make an impact

The same policies and procedures which offer the advantage of structure can also be a barrier to new ideas and creative thinking.

To implement any changes can often involve having to seek approval from higher up the chain which can take time and dilute any impact.

Less exposure

As you’re more likely to be working as part of a wider team, your remit may be narrower than if you carried out a similar job in a smaller company, meaning you have less variety in your job and less exposure to other jobs within your department or other functions within the business.

Stay tuned for part two where we look at the advantages and disadvantages of working for a small business.