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Job Security - are you better off in a big or small company?

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Emma Gregory job security, recruitment agency, big company vs small company...

On top of the majority of our candidates wish lists when looking to make the move in to a new company is that much sought after “job security”. Quite rightly people get nervous about leaving a job in which they feel their position is stable and secure, despite an overwhelming feeling that they need to make that next step for their own personal development and satisfaction. And they often cite the differences between a small company and a large organisation when deciding how secure they believe a job to be.

So, what are the things to be considered when you are offered a new role at a company that differs in size to your current one? Does a small independent equal a greater risk of a “last in first out” policy? Or does the big organisation mean you’ll be all too easily replaced as you’re “just a number” to them?

There really is no right or wrong answer when it comes to choosing between the two and in our opinion, neither poses a greater risk than the other.  The decision should go far deeper than the number of employees somewhere has and we’re here to offer some advice on what to consider when negotiating the muddy waters of big vs small.

 

Learning potential:

Small companies: You’ll learn A LOT: Your responsibilities may well be much more varied and your job will almost certainly extend past the limits of your basic job description. As there aren’t hundreds of departments you’ll be much more responsible for your own work and your skill set will increase ten fold. But you will be expected to keep yourself up to date on industry changes, learn “on the job” and often, be expected to slot in to the role relatively quickly.

Big companies:  Opportunities to be fully trained via a specially designed course aimed at increasing your confidence in the job role are much more likely with a big company. You’ll have the support of a team of Learning and Development staff and area’s of improvement will be recognised and dealt with. On the flip side, you might find you want to learn something new but as it’s not in your job role, a larger organisation may not have the inclination to develop individuals on an ad hoc basis.

 

Success and promotion:

Small companies: Your success is noticed. In a smaller organisation you won’t be able to blend in to the background and do the bare minimum required to scrape through your probation. Now, whether you consider this a good thing or not is purely personal! But when you work hard and it is recognised by the CEO (who also sits in the same office as you), the sense of achievement and pride that follows is inevitable. And this instils motivation and drive which lets face it, is a definite factor when it comes to job satisfaction. Progression opportunities within the company itself may be limited, you’d possibly have to leave to take that next step but that’s not always a bad thing! You will have gained valuable experience and transferrable skills during your employment.

Big companies: It may take  you a while to get “noticed” but when you do, rewards and progression opportunities could be rife. There is often a structured pathway for promotion and you could probably see quite clearly what you need to achieve to be in with a chance of landing a more senior role. Benefits packages are often alluring and can really make a difference to your work/life balance. You may however find yourself getting frustrated that other less motivated colleagues are on the same salary as you and appear to be doing far less work and slipping through the net resulting in a resentful attitude towards your company.

 

Overall stability: 

Small companies: They don’t hire unless they  need to. If you’re taken on at a small company it’s because they need a member of staff. It’s not a numbers game, they aren’t going to employ 20 people at the same time with the mindset they only really need 10 to succeed. You need to look at their productivity, are they actively out winning new business, how do they do this, what is their position in the marketplace and what growth do they expect to achieve over the next 5 years?

Do they keep up with and invest in new technology?

Do they have one large account they’ve been looking after for 10 years but if that got poached by a competitor what would happen? Do they have enough other business to keep the company afloat?

It can feel more risky joining a small company somehow because we often associate big with success. And success means money and money means security. But success is also about determination, less overheads and the ability to adapt a business quickly to meet changing needs – all of which smaller companies often possess in abundance.

Big companies:  There is no doubt that the sheer scale and impressive growth of a big company can offer a potentially stable working environment. There is likely to be a HR department, a Trade Union Rep and a structured development programme in place for you to achieve your goals. They are hungry for new business all the time and know the importance of having to keep one step ahead of the competition. They have larger budgets to invest in staff development, the latest technology in the industry and know tried and tested methods of winning and retaining business.

They can however, find themselves going through laborious tender processes on a regular basis to win new accounts, constantly trying to drive down costs to make themselves appear competitive. Losing accounts can result in whole teams being made redundant, regardless of job title. Todays market is a tough one, clients expect champagne service on a lemonade budget and larger companies have high overheads to contend with.

Ultimately, the company you choose should come down to much more than a question of size. It should be about where YOU feel you fit best – some of us aren’t designed to thrive in a mass corporation and some of us feel stifled in a small working environment very quickly.  But don’t feel that you have to make a choice based on stability alone - In today’s world we can’t make those 10 year life plans anymore. With the changing economy, lifestyles and the ever increasing need to move away from stress and city life, it could be prudent to focus on the immediate future and a 2-3 year skill development plan instead, wherever that may be.

To talk to us about your next career move within the travel market please contact Emma or Caroline on the below email addresses and we’ll arrange a time to chat to you! emma@urbanberry.co.uk   or caroline@urbanberry.co.uk

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