Regardless of your profession, deciding whether to work in a small private company or a large corporate enterprise is a choice you’re bound to face at some point of a job hunt. Does a large-size business offer more advantages to its employees than a smaller firm? Though there’s no definitive answer to that question, in most cases it makes more sense to work for a big company. That being said, your specific needs, specialties and background, in addition to a number of other factors, may imply the opposite. To determine which is right for you, examine the pros and cons of both options.
Why Work for a Small Business?
It’s completely normal, at the start of a career path, to be unsure of the exact specialty you want to pursue. The best way to find the branch of your field you like most (and are best at) is trying out as many positions as you can. No matter the industry, small businesses must stay versatile to stay competitive. As such, they aim to have employees who can accomplish a wide variety of tasks and they train them accordingly.
Furthermore, there’s hardly any middle management in start-ups, which means you’ll be fulfilling multiple roles at the same time and report directly to the person who hired you. Finally, the autonomy of being a small business employee also helps determine your true specialty – when you work on tasks alone, there are no outside variables that affect your ability of accomplishing a given set of tasks.
While corporate politics dictate that low and mid-tier employees never get credit for going the extra mile, everyone’s successes reach the boss’s ears in a small company. Entry-level employees are often frustrated about a lack of recognition, which discourages them from excelling at work. No one likes having eight different bosses, especially if they never meet seven of them.
The consequences of low recognition go beyond ethics and personal satisfaction – it is much harder to receive promotions and bonuses in a corporate setting. When a small business owner sees someone putting in extra effort and over-delivering on their responsibilities, he or she doesn’t ignore them. Instead, those employees receive extra training and support to, eventually, be promoted to a more rewarding, higher-paying position.
Knowing your bosses on a personal level holds many advantages. In a big-business setting, you’re limited by strict, predetermined guidelines of work. Your job title dictates not only the type of tasks you are responsible for, but also how creatively you can go about accomplishing them. Your ideas will likely never be realized or even heard until you climb the corporate ladder high enough to use them yourself. Plus, in a small company, you can often choose your schedule and work from home on days you aren’t able to commute to the office.
Why Work for a Large Company?
For most people, the main argument is better pay. On average U.S. small business employees receive $17/hour, while their corporate counterparts get $27.50. Sure, these are just statistics – most professionals will only make $3-4/hour more at a large company. But the real difference is in the job benefits.
First off, corporations offer a full health insurance package. The costs of quality coverage, in particular dental, makes a huge difference. Besides avoiding paying for annual check-ups, you’re likely to save thousands each year on deductibles. That goes twice for people who have kids because most small businesses can’t afford to offer comprehensive family plans, while larger companies pride themselves on their full health benefit packages.
There are many other reasons to work for a large enterprise. The advantages you can reap range from personal to monetary to professional. The truth is, if your goal is to further your career, the choice is clear. Here are a few of the other important benefits enjoyed by corporate employees:
Experts estimate that 82% of all small businesses fail within two years of starting up. So, no matter how profitable they are, larger companies offer much more peace of mind. Plus, they keep salaries stable – you can expect stable income for years to come, regardless of how well the company does on the market. It takes time to adjust but, once you do, the steady path to promotion comes into focus. Changes may happen slowly, but you can be sure that they will happen.
A large company works like a well-oiled machine. Though it’s hard to apply changes, risks are avoided as well. And there’s no denying that some of the greatest minds work at enterprises. You may not meet them soon but when you do, you’re bound to learn some invaluable lessons about your industry.
Sick days, vacation time and insurance packages aren’t the only benefits presented only by the largest companies. They have regular training sessions and outings, which are a lot like group vacations. To build trust and connect a lot of employees, managers organize trips – often overseas – where the whole department can get to know each other better.
Also, there is often a free gym and sometimes even a pool for employees. It’s in any company’s interest to keep employees healthy and energized but many can’t afford it. Additionally, most corporate offices have a leisure area, complete with table games, TV’s and a relaxing atmosphere.