There is a big difference between working for a major UK FTSE company or a SME, so it’s a good idea to do your research when looking for a new job to find out which would suit you best in terms of your career and where you’d like to go next.
More job opportunities in SMEs
Right now, according to Octopus Investments, it’s SMEs that are creating the most job vacancies. One in every three new jobs are created in an SME, while FTSE 100 companies are faring less well due to volatility in the wider global economy.
But aside from the number of available vacancies, there are many other factors to take into consideration when choosing what size of company you work for. In a small, but growing SME business, for instance, there could be the opportunities for fast career progression, while a big FTSE company could possibly offer more security.
Stability in the FTSE?
While there’s a lot to be said for the security that comes with working for a big FTSE company, many of these well-established firms are seeing downturns due to disruptive technologies and new ways of doing business. M&S recently dropped out of the list of FTSE 100 companies for the first time since the index was established in 1984. With sales down 40%, it’s just one of many big companies that aren’t having a great year. Critics believe that M&S was slow to adapt to e-retail and bring new digital technologies on board, while newer, fast-growing online start-ups have been stealing market share from the big UK retailer and others. This power shift is taking jobs away from the big corporations and replacing them with new jobs in SMEs.
Of course, a position in a company with global reach also increases the possibility of travel if that’s something you’re looking for. Other attractions include better benefits packages, including pension and healthcare schemes. Smaller SMEs simply won’t have the resources yet for such offerings. On the downside, you may have to deal with a lot more red tape and admin than you’d find at an SME.
Or progression in an SME?
Working at an SME, you’ll be called upon to perform tasks outside your job specification more often, so you’ll learn more and gain experience you might not get at a bigger company. In this respect, working at a smaller business might be better for people early on in their career. Here too, there’s more chance you’ll be working directly with management, even in a junior role. Being a bigger fish in a small pond means you will be quickly recognised when it comes to your achievements and progress faster.
On the flip side, fewer staff means you could be doing a considerable amount of unpaid overtime. This will certainly be in the case in a start-up while the company is trying to become established. And as half of all businesses fail in the first year, there’s the risk that you could be out of a job sooner than you expected if things don’t go well.
In the end, finding the company that’s right for you is a lot about where you are in your career, what you’d like to gain from the role and how the company’s operations matches with your own interests and predilections. For the best jobs in both UK FTSE 100 companies and SMEs, don’t forget to start with a job search on Zoek.
Interested in finding out more about the subjects raised on this page?
Simply click on the tags below to read related blog posts...