GUEST BLOG: Choosing the right size company for you

UoY Careers Balloon illywritten by Samantha Cooper, Director of Little Acorn Digital Marketing

As a new graduate it is often a scramble to apply for as many jobs as possible due to the large number of fresh new faces entering the world of work at once. Whilst it may be important to secure your first job quickly, it is equally important to ensure you find the right company for you rather than settling for the first opportunity which arises. There are a number of things you should consider including location, pay etc but one of the main things you should consider is the size of the company you want to work for.

Many people have the misconception that to be successful you have to work in a large, well known company.  However, in reality you can become just as successful in a small or medium sized organisation.

Here are a few things to consider when making that decision:

Personal Comfort

The first thing you need to do is to realistically assess how comfortable you would be in each company. If you are a super confident extrovert who enjoys lots of people around you then you would likely thrive in a large company and relish in the challenges and pressure which come with a fast paced environment, however if you are more on the introvert side then a large company can be somewhat overwhelming and stressful. Introverts tend to be more comfortable in smaller, more nurturing companies, however you must consider that with this comes more individual attention, monitoring and may also be fast paced due to the smaller organisational structure.

Office Environment

We spend around 40 hours a week at our place of work, so it is important that you are happy in your environment. Larger companies often have large modern buildings with lots of luxuries. Small to medium sized companies could also have modern offices however you may find that with smaller companies comes a smaller budget for the finer things.

People also play a huge factor in the office environment, especially as you may spend more time with the people you work with than you do with your loved ones. Large offices offer a larger variety of people to interact with whereas smaller offices offer fewer people but stronger relationships.

Contribution & Progression

Starting off in a large company you are going to be a very small cog in a very big machine. It may feel like you are contributing little and struggling to get noticed, especially as they have such a deep hierarchal structures, however progression opportunities come along regularly as people naturally move on creating opportunities for those lower down so you may find that you can quickly climb the ladder.

Within a smaller company you may be the only person in your particular role meaning your work plays a large part in company performance. This can be stressful especially in the beginning but is much more rewarding. Smaller companies can also mean you get more of an overview of the whole running of a business – and therefore a wealth of experience in how a business operates. It can mean that the decision makers get to know you and give you more responsibility. Even though the official opportunities may not arise that often, when they do, you are more likely to make one large jump at once as opposed to a number of smaller jumps.

Benefits & Flexibility

Many people are embarrassed to ask about company benefits before accepting a job, however it plays a huge part in job satisfaction so it is important to know where you stand with things like holiday entitlement, sick pay, maternity/paternity pay etc.

Large companies often have the budget for generous benefit packages and although they lack a personal touch in other areas they are able to look after you in this way.

Smaller companies sometimes do not offer such generous benefits as budgets are smaller. This may not be an initial issue, however consider how long you are planning to stay with the company and what benefits you may require further down the line.

It may also be worthwhile checking the flexibility of working hours, especially if you are planning to commute and if you are considering starting a family within the next few years then you may want to ask if they allow parents to reduce their contracted hours.

So, before sending off all of those post-graduation applications, take time to consider what is the right size company for you and narrow down your search to secure your perfect job.

If you are interested in working for a smaller company, come along to Working In… Small Businesses on Thursday 26 May.