Corporate Firm or SME – What’s Right For You?

SMEIt is often a question that many job seekers face, especially when starting out in their careers or meeting with a search consultant: Who do you want to work for?

Are you after a role in a large corporate company or do you want a position in a small or medium-sized business?


Large Companies and Corporations

Large companies are often defined as having a high annual turnover and a large number of employees. Organisations like these usually find themselves characterised by a highly driven culture, a vision to grow and succeed and a company span across several departments or locations. If you’re keen to climb the corporate ladder and establish your professional career early on in life, a large organisation may be right for you; it will give you the corporate skills you will need to succeed and it also means there is plenty of opportunity for you to move around in the company – even apply for promotions.

Key Advantages:

  • Lots of room to move and expand your skills
  • Higher salaries, usually packaged with incentives like bonuses, commission and pay rises
  • More networking opportunities within the company
  • Potential opportunities to transfer overseas (if the company is global)

Key Disadvantages:

  • Often highly competitive when it comes to gaining entry into the company
  • Can be more bureaucratic, with more stringent policies and processes in place
  • Candidates may not enjoy the corporate politics involved in the day-to-day workplace
  • Large companies doesn’t always get it right, and as a result, they can suffer from problems with company culture or issues in communication

Small & Medium Businesses

The definition of small and medium businesses differs from source to source, but generally these companies have around 50 employees or less and have a much smaller turnover than larger organisations. Smaller companies offer employees a more relaxed and intimate workplace and the main benefit here is that you will often have more opportunity to gain experience and skills more quickly. Sometimes, you can also have more control over how fast you can advance in the business; you could see yourself moving up to a mid-management position quickly in a SME for instance, while in a large firm, this move could take years. However, the main disadvantage of SMEs is that there can be much less room to move and grow.

Key Advantages:

  • Can be more intimate working in a tight-knit group, rather than with a large group of people
  • Opportunity to gain more skills and experience at an earlier stage
  • Potential opportunities to transfer overseas (if the company is global) – many small and medium-sized businesses are also branching into international markets, giving employees the opportunity to move around on a global scale
  • Office politics are usually not as prominent in smaller businesses
  • Usually less corporate more casual

Key Disadvantages

  • Limited opportunity to move and grow, especially in smaller companies
  • Salaries can be lower than those offered by larger organisations
  • Pay rises and bonuses may not be available or feasible

Which is right for you?

Your choice will essentially depend on what kind of person you are and where you see your professional career going in years to come. Many candidates may prefer to start off in a small or medium-sized business before moving into a big firm, while other executives may find that after years of working for large enterprises, SMEs suit their lifestyle much more.

Of course, nothing is set in stone when it comes to company sizes; many corporate companies can have the perks of smaller ones, and lots of SMEs offer employees the benefits commonly found in larger businesses. The choice comes down to which position is going to best for you and which role fits in better with your long term career plans. If you require the assistance of a professional resume writer to tailor your resume to suit small, medium or large companies than look no further than the experienced staff at Resumes Australia.

Good luck!
kylie hammond

About Kylie Hammond
Executive Search Consultant, Head-Hunter, HR Consultant, Executive Career Coach, Expert Resume Writer & Executive Talent Agent.

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