The Pros and Cons of Working at Large Companies vs Working at a Smaller Company

Isaac Agumba | 6th May 2021

Career Development
The Pros and Cons of Working at Large Companies vs Working at a Smaller Company

The Pros and Cons of Working at Large Companies vs Working at a Smaller Company

Isaac Agumba | 6th May 2021

Career Development

The Pros and Cons of Working at Large Companies vs Working at a Smaller Company

Much like choosing anything or making a major life decision, choosing whether to work for a large and established company or an SME can impact the quality of your life and career, and as such there is always a motivation to and against working at a large or a smaller company.

There’s no middle ground to which one is better. However, there are pros and cons to consider in working for large companies eg an established multinational vs working for a smaller company eg a start-up.

Defining Large or Small Companies

Large and small enterprises are always differentiated along the lines of the average number of employees the company has, its average financial performance etc. The general cutoff for a large company is making at least Ksh 700 million in annual revenue and 500 employees.

The definition of what a large or small company is to someone may also sometimes come down to an individual jobseeker’s perspective. For some job seekers, 45 employees would be a “large” company to them, and for others, 250 employees would be “small.”

Advantages of Working for a Large Company

  • Lots of Perks

Most large companies can offer a range of benefits eg insurance cover for their employees, allowances, compensation and benefits. One may also stand a better chance negotiating for better employment terms and deals eg remote work options and flexible work schedules than in the case of an SME.

  • Resources

Large companies can offer their employees more because they simply have more resources, than what employees at a small startup get. For example, large companies can offer their employees higher salaries, bonuses, work resources eg technical support, staff welfare eg employee training etc.

  • Opportunities

Working at a large company gives you many professional opportunities. For starters, you will have access to a larger network, which can be good for your career at that company or even later in your career life.

  • Stability

While any company can be affected by economic factors as a result of regional or global phenomena like the current COVID-19 pandemic, large companies tend to be more stable. You are assured of job security, and even when worse comes to worst, you can always be compensated well.

Disadvantages of Working for a Large Company  

  • Great Places to Work Back Talent Development

While it may seem all too rosy working at a large company, there could be a lot you are missing out on! You miss the opportunity to have a hand-on expreince and apply, engage as your learn more about your career and boost skills set which are necessary for talent development

  • Less Creative Thinking

Large companies are usually less open to change because they are risk-averse. While this helps maintain company stability, it also implies the company can be slow to change. It can take forever to get things done due to the complex corporate structure, policies, and procedures.

  • Its Harder to Get Ahead

While one of the pros of working for a large company is the opportunity for your individual career advancement, promotion and a climb up your career ladder, it usually does not come easily. This is because success in a large company usually has a specific definition, and no matter your individual performance review, if they’re not on “the list,” they may not count.

Working for a large company also means you work with a lot of people, hence there may be a lot of competition.

Advantages of Working at a Small Company

  • They Promote Creative Thinking

Small companies tend to encourage creative “outside the box” thinking and are more likely to embrace change. Being able to apply creative solutions allows you to shine as an employee and advance in your career, experience and skills set.

  • Lots of Opportunities

At a small company, you’ll likely wear a lot of different hats. For instance, working as the social media/content strategist/part-time customer service rep exposes you to a lot of experience and aspects of the business,  you’ll end up having unique skills set that an individual working at a large company may not readily be exposed to.

There’s also a good chance you’ll work closely with senior employees and even upper management, which exposes you to invaluable professional experience.

  • Sense of belonging to a Community.

Working at a small company you get an opportunity to know all of your coworkers and work with them closely. You get the feeling of community, a sense of belonging and the chance to develop deeper relationships.

Disadvantages of Working for a Small Company

  • Career Advancement May not be Easy

Small companies don’t usually have a list of accomplishments you have to achieve before you get a promotion or even a raise, and that is if you even get to, in the first place. This means you may not have a clear road map of how you can advance your career or even what the next step at the company is for you.

  • Fewer Resources and benefits

While this may not be the motivation for some people, small companies have fewer resources and generate less revenue.

Fewer resources can also mean smaller or no health insurance, allowances, and other benefits.

For a jobseeker, knowing the pros and cons of working for a large or a small company can then help you better target your job search and opportunity mapping criteria, and help make sure you don’t end up at a company where you don’t thrive.

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