Working for a big company – is it right for you?

By Robert Half on 23 July 2017

The idea of working for a big company can seem like career heaven. It’s an opportunity to add a well-known brand to your CV and reap the rewards of working alongside industry legends, often in an uber-cool work environment.

There is no doubt, working for a large company can bring unique rewards. But competition for roles with some of the world’s best-known businesses can be intense, and firms may be able to pick the cream of the crop. That’s why it pays not to eliminate smaller companies from your career radar.  They can offer advantages that may not be available when you are working for a big company.

Brand name – or your name?

Working for a large company often means being part of a team where each role is clearly defined. On one hand this arrangement can reduce the likelihood of making a mistake though on the flipside, it can also mean fewer opportunities for you to shine as an individual. Tech giant Apple Inc. for instance, employs around 110,000 people. It’s hard to stand out in a crowd that size.

In a smaller business your success will be noticed by everyone including the people who matter most. This makes it easier for you to distinguish yourself – and your achievements – in the workplace, so when exciting new projects become available, your name is on top of the list to be involved.

An engaging work culture

Research continually confirms that employees want a challenging and engaging workplace. Working for a big company may offer you exactly this, though with less red tape to deal with, smaller companies tend to be a lot more nimble than their larger counterparts. That can mean the business is better able to seize new opportunities, or quicker to embrace innovation – it can make smaller organisations a very exciting place to work.

Just make sure to ask the right work culture questions during your job interview to gauge if the role is right for you.

A balance between work and life

Increasingly, professionals are looking for work-life balance without the drudgery of 9 to 5. If that sounds like you, working for a big company can come up trumps.

Some of the world’s biggest companies have led the way, introducing benefits like flexible holiday-time and allowing employees to work when and where they want. Google for instance has a reputation for focusing on employee output rather than hours worked, and providing its people with the very latest in technology.  It can add up to a more engaged, motivated and loyal team though there is no reason why these kinds of perks can’t be introduced at smaller companies provided there is no loss of productivity.

Salary and sweeteners

A competitive salary goes a long way to making a role attractive to quality candidates, and on this score, working for a big company can have benefits. Large corporates often have deeper budgets and are better placed to fund industry-leading remuneration packages. Just make sure to check out the Robert Half Salary Guide to see if your pay matches the industry standard.

While small businesses aren’t always able to match their larger counterparts on salaries, some creative thinking can see these firms meet candidates’ needs on other scores. Benefits like study leave, options to telecommute, and offering employees a choice of laptops or mobile devices, can be as attractive as a fatter pay cheque.

The key is for businesses to look at how they can differentiate themselves from competitors to attract and retain top talent. For candidates, it is important to consider the type of environment that is best suited to your skills and personality, and whether working for a big company will further your career or if you could be better off in the more intimate environment of a smaller firm.

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