BIGGER IS NOT ALWAYS BETTER

Patricia Redmond, Practice Manager at Rosscot, shares her experience of working in a smaller firm and explains the rewards of being an important part of a small team.

What type of company would suit you? Do you think that to have the ultimate career you need to start out with one of the big names? Individuals focused on a career can often disregard smaller companies in their hunt for the perfect role but they would be discounting a sector with a multitude of advantages and opportunities for rapid career development.

95% of employees in the UK work for companies that employ less than 100 staff. The CIPD Spring Employee Outlook Survey UK revealed that employees in small business are more satisfied than those working for larger organisations and that those working for micro organisations are the most satisfied. In the same survey over half of the respondents specified that they would like to work in an organisation with a family feel, held together by loyalty and tradition.

Working for a large company is a bit like being a part of a large machine. You only get to operate one part until such a time that you are promoted or transferred. Working in a smaller organisation enables you to see the bigger picture and understand how the end result is achieved. Additionally, seeing the whole machine helps you identify what part you want to be next. On a more personal level, I have found that working for a small to medium business such as Rosscot means it’s a lot easier to get to know all aspects of running the business and have real hands on experience.

In a close knit team you will find you have a better understanding of your own role and you may also get the opportunity to help out in other areas, which helps broaden your skill set. You will gain greater insight into the business as a whole whilst learning and gaining valuable transferable skills. You may even get to try something completely new which may send your career in a different direction to the one you envisaged. Ultimately, this may provide you with greater job satisfaction.

It’s easy to get caught up in corporate culture where your career progression is on a track with scheduled stops along the way. For example, if you were on a three-year professional examination route you may only be given new areas of responsibility when you reach certain levels in your study. For three years you can get pigeon holed into one area and find that, despite having the exams under your belt, you don’t have the breadth of experience to decide which direction your career path should take. In a smaller business, you are able to move more easily from department to department to gain that greater knowledge. This gives you the information and confidence you need, to know which area of business you would like to explore further.

When we are recruiting at Rosscot we are often asked about training opportunities. It is a common misconception that the bigger companies provide the most comprehensive training. In fact, smaller firms have the advantage, as they are able to tailor make training programmes to the individual, rather than follow a ‘one size fits all’ process.

There are of course pros and cons of working for both large and small organisations. Working in a larger team could mean more room for growth due to number of departments, positions and expanding hierarchy of roles. However, with this comes heightened competition and you could easily fade into the background and get overlooked in a large company.

If you are the type of person that works better in a small group then a smaller company may be better for you. You tend to find that within this environment you work towards a single goal and that can help give direction and a sense of stability. Don’t get me wrong, smaller companies can also be tricky to navigate. There’s little room to hide and your attitude and how you conduct yourself can have a knock on effect across the company. Being under the microscope means it is important to always give your best and it also means you tend to get recognised for it when you do. It’s very rewarding to work in an environment where success is easily identifiable and there is greater opportunity to shine.

When looking for that career, do your homework and try and find a company that is right for you. Don’t discount the smaller firms as bigger is not always better.