By Gerald Walsh ©
Many people believe that large companies provide lots of job security and offer a great career path. We’ve seen from the coronavirus that this is not true.
While job losses have happened in both large and small companies, I suspect that as things return to “normal”—whenever that is—you will find better opportunities with smaller companies.
That’s because larger companies, perhaps now more than ever, will seek to increase their use of technology to replace people. Plus, they will be very focused on cost containment as they try to return their stock price to pre-coronavirus levels. This means fewer employees.
In good times or bad, I’ve always been a big fan of working for small business. Here is why it can be a better route for you career-wise.
Your achievements are more visible. At a small company, your work can be seen by more people and it becomes easier to stand out. This is particularly important if you are just starting your career. It’s an excellent way to establish credentials, build skills, and gain references that can follow you for years to come.
You can develop more skills. In small companies, employees are forced to wear many hats. In many cases, there simply aren’t enough people working for the company to assign every specific task to someone. This helps you become a well-rounded employee and build skills that can help you throughout your career.
You gain access to decision-makers. In small companies, you don’t have to go through five levels to get to the CEO. You usually just walk down the hall. You will find that most progressive business owners will listen to ideas that are well thought out and will help the company grow. And if it’s a really good idea, they will want to implement it right away. They will not have to seek budget approval from head office which can take months.
Your opinions matter more. Small companies tend to be open to new ideas and are less tied to “the way we’ve always done it here” attitude that prevails in large companies.
You can make a difference. At a small company, it’s easier to see that you’re making a difference. This is important if you want to engage in work that is meaningful and has an impact. You will have a much broader range of control and more responsibilities than you would working for a big company.
Admittedly, there are some advantages working for a big company. The usual benefits—like health and dental coverage, pension, and wellness allowances—tend to be better than smaller companies. And, you can sometimes change jobs without changing your employer through lateral transfers within the company.
But with its size comes bureaucracy. Changes happen slowly in large companies. This can be frustrating if you are eager to do things and “move up the ladder.”
Ultimately, you will have to decide which is better for you. But don’t be duped into thinking that your only path is working for a large company.
BTW, your local chamber of commerce is the best place to access lists of small companies in your area.
Gerald Walsh is an executive recruiter, career coach, public speaker and author. During a 30 year career, he has interviewed more than 10,000 job candidates, completed hundreds of successful searches for a range of organizations and guided many individuals – from young professionals to senior executives – to successful career change. He is the author of “PINNACLE: How to Land the Right Job and Find Fulfillment in Your Career.” You can follow Gerry on Twitter @Gerald_Walsh and LinkedIn.