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Why Company Size Should Matter in Your Job Search

When you’re planning your next career move, there are lots of things to weigh up; your salary expectations, what role you want and, of course, the type of company you’d like to work for.

Deciding whether a company is right for you may involve more aspects than you think – different companies all have a different ethos, individual cultures and working environments.

A question I’m often asked in my role is: “is it better to work for a large company or a small company?” But that’s like asking “what’s the best food?” or “what’s the best music?”

It’s a subjective matter. The choice all depends on you, your personality and goals.

We spend a lot of time at work, so this is important to think about.

To give you a hand figuring everything out, I’ve jotted down some of the benefits to consider based on my experiences working with both big and small companies.

Small Businesses are a Great Challenge

The advantages of working for a start-up or smaller company like Acutus Medical, New Valve Technology or Laminate Medical Technologies are plentiful. For one, you’ll feel involved in the bigger picture.

If you’re like me, you’ll find it incredibly satisfying to be valued by your employer.

At a smaller company you’ll find yourself naturally higher up the ladder and closely involved with important decision making. It also represents the opportunity to grab a piece of the pie for yourself.

That’s because an attractive long-term benefit of joining a small company or start-up is the opportunity to have a share of the spoils if the company thrives.

That could mean stock options or equity which, should you be acquired, could make you a lot of money. For example, numerous St Jude Medical employees significantly benefitted from the Abbott merger earlier this year.

On the same token, working at a smaller business can bring opportunities for great career progression.

As smaller companies and start-ups are often looking to grow and rapidly expand, especially in the early stages of their development, there could be opportunity for you to progress up the ladder more quickly than your peers.

For example, it’s common to see someone in a stand-alone sales role develop into a regional, national or even head of sales role within a short space of time.

That might mean you have to follow some classic Richard Branson advice: “Say yes then learn how to do it later”.

Leaving you with no choice but to broaden your skillset.

Smaller companies tend to adopt an ‘all hands-on deck’ attitude, due to their more streamlined structure.

This can provide you with valuable opportunities and extra responsibilities which will take you out of your usual comfort zone.

Not only will this expand your professional skill set – which is always handy for the future – but it will also lead to higher job satisfaction and mean you’re less likely to get bored.

But Bigger Can be Better...

Let’s not pretend that it isn’t great to have a big name on your CV like Medtronic, Boston or Abbott to show that you work for one of the ‘big guys’ in your sector.

One reason for this is the amount of brand equity that their name and products carry. Working for a renowned brand and industry leader can be a great competitive advantage. Commercially speaking, devices often sell themselves.

For example, imagine trying to sell Boston’s Watchman device which is well-established in more than 70,000 patients and known to have a success rate of 95%. If you’re in sales, your commission might just go through the roof.

Working for a ‘big name’ is also beneficial when it comes to your future job searches. Industry leading companies always look impressive on a CV and will attract future employers.

Money talks. It can sometimes even shout when seeking a new role, which is when a higher basic salary can be a big plus from working at a larger company.

What I’ve often found – for those who put their salary at the top of their priorities– is that they’ll be happier at a larger company where basic salaries can be much higher.

There are also other perks like health care, pensions, childcare and corporate discounts. You can also get more time to develop your skill set and become a specialist in your niche.

That’s because larger companies like Abbott and Medtronic have larger workforces and therefore more support functions like marketing, product management and L&D.

These departments mean that you will have more time to focus on your personal role and skillset. You will be able to develop your niche and become a true specialist.

This is different to the more well-rounded roles that you’ll find at smaller companies, where you would likely have to wear a lot more hats.

Whilst you can spend time on one product area, my last advantage of working fora multinational is freedom to relocate. It can be a great option to know you can move around with a business and, if you do get bored, larger companies tend to have different divisions or sectors you could move between.

When assessing your current or future employment options, size can, and should matter, depending on what your needs are at that time.

There are an abundance of advantages to working at both smaller and larger companies. The task is finding which benefits are a priority to you and your situation.

Should you wish to discuss your options within your sector or sub-sector, please feel free to give me a message, as I’m working with a range of large and small businesses.

Do you agree with what’s been said? Have you worked for both and think I’ve missed something? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

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