A question I often get asked is ‘what are the pro’s and con’s of big company V small’. There are many areas to explore and so it isn’t the easiest question to give a straight answer to, but below I explore some of the things to consider.
Bigger organisations generally have more red tape to get through in order to get things done. There will typically be policies and procedures in place (often for good reasons), but if you are someone that likes to change things quickly or have flexibility to move around processes then smaller organisations could be a better fit for you.
Specialised / Pigeon Holed
In a large company your role may be less varied than in a small organisation. For some this will feel like you have a real chance to specialise in an area and gain a real in-depth understanding, whereas for others this will become frustrating, and you may feel pigeon holed. In a smaller organisation you could become a ‘jack of all trades and master of none’ but for many this more varied role will feel more enjoyable.
Larger organisations may have more training resources for you. They will undoubtedly have larger training budgets and there will be many people with expertise to provide mentorship. However, at a smaller organisation there could be more flexibility to supply training that an individual really wants. In a large company the policies may mean that a budget must be used in a very specific way, whereas in a smaller organisation they may tailor it to the needs of an individual.
Relationships at all levels
In a big company you may only build relationships with those people that you work with closely, whereas in a smaller organisation it is far more likely that you can build more personal relationships at all levels. Although a hierarchy may exist, it is far more likely that you will know everyone from the most junior member of staff through to senior management.
It is often assumed that larger organisations may have better working conditions. Offices are likely to be big and maintained well. However, smaller companies have more flexibility to invest funds into the areas that their employees really want. They may not be able to compete with all the benefits, but there could be better work / life balance and often the working conditions are much better.
In a large organisation, there will often be a very structured progression line. You will know where you are on the career ladder and understand how to move up it. However, this does not mean there will not be opportunities in the smaller organisation, it just may not be such a structured line.
Part and parcel of working in a large organisation is that there will from time-to-time be restructures. This means that you can not necessarily assume that it is a ‘job for life’. However, as we all know this is probably not the case in many organisations anymore anyway. It is less likely you will get caught up in a restructure and redundancy in a smaller organisation, but as we saw in the pandemic, nothing can be taken for granted.