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Large vs Small Companies

Advice & guides, Industry news, Candidates...

Pros and cons of working for larger or smaller companies

Many people move jobs a number of times during their careers, so you may find that, at different stages of your life, you work for both large and small companies. There are certainly advantages and disadvantages associated with different sizes of company.

Advantages of working for a larger company include:

The benefits package will almost certainly be better. Smaller companies might typically contribute the bare minimum amount to the workplace pension, whilst larger companies would match employee contributions to a higher percentage of salary. Larger companies will usually have some form of sick pay scheme and may offer benefits such as private healthcare.

Opportunities to progress may be more plentiful. In smaller companies, whilst your employer might think very highly of you indeed, there may simply be no senior role available to which you can be promoted. The larger the company, the more roles there are to fill, and the higher the chances of you being able to secure a promotion, or a ‘sideways’ move should you decide you want a different type of role.

On-site facilities may be better. Large companies may be able to offer parking spaces to a higher proportion of their employees and may have on-site gyms and canteens.

The company’s name is better known. Simply being able to mention the name of a well-known company on your CV can boost your future career prospects.

You may be less likely to be pulled up for your mistakes. Having a ‘support network’ of colleagues in a larger company can mean that bad decisions are highlighted at an early stage. However, should you make a major error when working for a small company, there may well be nowhere to hide!

Advantages of working for a smaller company include:

You may be able to get involved in a wider range of tasks. If you are seeking additional responsibilities, then this may be much easier to achieve in a smaller company. In a larger company, you might identify an additional task you want to get involved with, only to be told that it’s someone else’s job to do that. Many smaller companies recognise that promotion opportunities are limited, and actively seek to offer this form of ‘job enlargement’ to ambitious and talented staff.

They can be friendlier and less hierarchical. In a smaller company, it’s easier to get to know everyone. Whilst in a small company you may still have a dedicated line manager, you may still be able to confidently approach any member of the management team with concerns, queries or suggestions.

There may be less bureaucracy and office politics. Some employees of larger companies say that they get frustrated by how long it can take to get a final decision, or to get agreement on a new policy or procedure. Others report being bound by rigid rules as to how things need to be done.

It’s easier to see the fruits of your labour. The fewer employees there are, the easier it should be to recognise that your efforts really do make a difference to the company as a whole.