Is Bigger Better? Part. 2

(Check out Part 1 here)

It’s a common opinion that getting to work for the big boys in an industry is the pièce de résistance of career successes. Having a big brand name on your CV can certainly be a positive thing, but is bigger always better? 

We’ve compiled a list of pros and cons for each so you can make your own mind up. As ever, the debate is ongoing but what you want from your career isn’t necessarily the same as what the person next to you is looking for.

Weighing up what you want and where you want to go will help you make the best decision for you and will hopefully help you get the most out of your career.


Big companies:

Pro’s:

Structure. Big companies are big because they have been in business for a longer period of time. This means the company has a defined organisational structure and therefore you will have a clear place within this structure. Your job role is often clear and concise and you will know which responsibilities are yours.

Diversity. Bigger companies offer more opportunity for lateral movement. Everybody understands that bigger companies have room for you to move up but a bigger company also offers you the opportunity to move sideways too. You can change job roles if the opportunity is available without having to change companies. 

Benefits. Generally bigger companies will offer better job benefits such as health care, company cars and perk packages.

Training. If you’re new to the workforce then bigger companies tend to offer more formal training. This can help you further develop your skills. 

Reputation. If you work for a brand name people within your chosen industry will often know something about them. If a company has an innovative product this could define you as creative. If your company has a well know training regime then it could define you as highly trained.

Networking. Bigger companies can offer more opportunity to network. Simply because more people work at bigger companies you have access to more potential contacts, which could help you further your career if used appropriately.

Con’s:

Slow to change. Bigger companies take longer to change purely because of their size. This can mean that important changes, including cultural change, can take a very long time, which is frustrating should the changes directly affect you.

Teamwork. Your success is more dependent on the people in your team. If you are working hard but the rest of your team is slacking, it can bring down the overall quality of the work being produced. This can reflect badly on you even if your work is of a high standard.

Invisibility. You won’t know some people. Often there will be people making decisions about your position and your work that you have never met. This can be exasperating if their decisions have a negative impact on you.

Diffusion of responsibility. If you are working within a large team it can be difficult to pinpoint where the responsibility for some things lies. This can lead to people shrugging off responsibility for mistakes or taking credit for ideas that weren’t theirs.


Small Companies:

Pro’s:

Visibility. Because you will probably know everyone in your company, when you achieve something everyone will be aware of it. This gives you a higher profile and more opportunity to prove your worth.

Agility. Smaller businesses can move and change with the times easier. This means products and services are likely to be cutting edge and being at the forefront of your industry is always attractive and exciting. It also means organisational change happens faster and so could lead to a more enjoyable workplace culture.

Variation. Because the company is smaller your job role is likely to be more varied. This means weeks and schedules will differ and could give you a greater skill base, knowledge of different job roles and exposure to people from several departments.

Flexibility. Because a smaller company can be more flexible it is more likely that your working arrangements can be too. If you need to work from home, or want to structure your working week differently it’s easier to achieve this at a smaller company.

Contributing. When there are fewer employees there is a better opportunity for your ideas to be heard and used to drive the company’s growth. This can give you impressive achievements to add to your CV and direct access and exposure to the top players at the company.

Experience. Because small businesses often utilise more of an employees skills for a greater variety of tasks, hiring managers often like to see small business experience on a CV. It can signal you are a self-starter, knowledgeable, motivated and hard working.

Con’s:

Failure. If you make a mistake it is likely everyone will know. The best thing to do in this situation (actually anywhere you have made a mistake) is to accept responsibility for the mistake, explain what you are doing to correct it and what you will put in place to prevent it happening again.

Benefits. Because a smaller company tends to have less resources available pay packages and perks tend to be smaller.

Management. Because the role is likely to be more varied it can mean juggling your responsibilities is harder too.

These are obviously all generalisations and there will always be exceptions to these guidelines. This is where doing your research about a job role and a company before applying for jobs is very valuable.

Where do you work and what do you think are the pro’s and con’s?

Posted by: Sarah Price, on June 12, 2014
Categories: Articles

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