The correlation between company size and career progression is a consideration that more job seekers should contemplate. Yet to know the organisation size in which your career will flourish, you first need to understand the benefits of a small and large workplace and how they fit with your career aspirations. Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of each to find out which path is best for your career.

A large corporation will have greater resources at their disposal. That means larger budgets for projects, greater innovation and better training and development opportunities. There is also likely to be opportunities to work at different locations around the world and of course with a global reach, there are better networking opportunities. Your job is likely to have very well defined job functions and you can expect to have to follow formal processes, adhering to the hierarchy of command. Your position is likely to be more secure and have access to greater benefits. And of course, a big company name on your CV will add weight and credibility when seeking other job roles. Sounds pretty great, hey?

On the flipside, working in a large company you’re unlikely to know everyone you work with and may not even register on senior managements radar. You could very well feel lost in the crowd. There is of course the likelihood of decisions taking forever to be made as bureaucracy steps in. And can you be sure that the mission is more than the bottom line? When you do well at work, who will recognise your efforts? Certainly your immediate team, but to the broader workplace, your achievements are likely to remain invisible. Not so satisfying, hey?

Let’s consider the benefits of working within a small to medium business.  An SME company will generally require you to take on many and varied responsibilities, not only challenging you, but allowing you an opportunity to develop a greater skill set and be exposed to a wider assortment of experiences. Your successes will be recognised. Your relationships within will be more personal. And you can expect to have regular dialogue with senior management. No doubt your voice will be heard when you share your innovative ideas. Sounds good!

What are the not so shiny aspects of working for a smaller organisation? Limitations on funding will see restrictions on opportunities for business and career development, failures are amplified, rewards are more prudent and you may find the internal structure to be sporting a hole or two, that is, no provision for a HR department.

So where do you fit?

There is no one-size-fits-all company, but there is a company that is just right for you. Your career objectives and the point you have reached within your career will play a significant role in determining the path you pursue. Apply the following questions to the roles you are interested in and match the responses against your career goals to determine your desired avenue to success:

  • What are the likely prospects for career advancement with this company?
  • What is the depth of available resources?
  • Are there national and global employment opportunities within?
  • How much responsibility will I have?
  • What sort of remuneration can I expect?
  • How will this role be regarded by future employers?
  • Will I achieve my professional goals here?

Who you are will also come into effect in determining if you’re best suited to a large or small company. For example, if you like routine, then perhaps you don’t want to work in a small organisation where you are likely to where many hats. If you find structure and stability to stagnate your motivation, then a small business may be just what you are looking for as an evolving environment will continually feed your passion.  Or maybe life will influence your decision. Young and single? Then a world adventure may be on the cards. Raising a family? Well, a stable position with a large corporation looks like an ideal fit. Different size businesses will suit you at different points in your career and life.

The obvious distinctions between a large and a small company matter. To the development of your career and your personal aspirations that is. Don’t simply take any job that is offered to you because it is important or necessary to be employed, but because it is important to the development of your career and the achievement of your ambitions. There is no right or wrong answer, just the best answer for you and your career, right now. Enjoy the journey.

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