Working for a large multinational employer used to be synonymous with having good career prospects, good benefits, great training opportunities, a solid reputation and working with the most talented people. The landscape is now quite different and being a big company no longer guarantees success in recruiting high quality candidates. A key reason for this is the vast number of dynamic, creative small and medium sized enterprises that are competing for the same talent.
A recent study by the FBS, reported that the number of private sector small businesses had increased in the UK by 46,000 since 2014 alone. The number of employing businesses also increased by 35,000 in the year.
It will come as no surprise to anyone that there is a desperate skills shortage for individuals with new and emerging digital and media experience. The creation of more SMEs and subsequent job opportunities will have increased the competition for specialist skills in what is already a shrinking pool, making it even harder for firms to attract the right talent to their business.
Candidates are generally much choosier at all levels of the career spectrum when looking at job opportunities, but we’ve noticed that more and more of them are deliberately choosing to work in smaller enterprises. So what can make working in a small firm more appealing? Here are some of the reasons why our candidates have said that smaller is a better option for their career.
- Culture / Team
A smaller work environment, and indeed workforce, means you’re more likely to be integrated much more quickly and work closely with other colleagues. The Employee Outlook 2015 survey, published by the CIPD in partnership with Halogen Software, found “the vast majority of employees want to work for a firm that has a ‘family feel’. This closer proximity that accompanies working for a smaller business can provide such a culture which could be wholly absent in larger organisations. There is also a common perception that smaller firms support individuality more than larger firms, which in turn allows room for creativity and innovation.
- Promotion/ Responsibility
Working within a smaller company means that you are more likely to feel what you do counts and your work is noticed. You are more likely to work closely with Directors and Managers, than in a bigger firm and may feel that what you say has value. Whilst a larger company can offer good structured training, you may get frustrated at the length of time it takes to be promoted from one level to the next. It’s important to say here that promotion isn’t just about getting the next job title and pay, but in essence its primarily about gaining exposure to more skills and responsibility.
Working for a “boutique” which offers clients a premium service for their expertise can be very appealing to someone who is passionate about a particular product or service. You would have the chance to be surrounded by other specialists and not worry about being spread too thinly or be distracted with other responsibilities which you feel are not relevant to your interests.
- Hiring Processes
Candidates feel that smaller and medium sized firms behave generally much more respectfully towards the jobseeker and the recruitment process. Even if they have less time on their hands, they work hard to maintain open levels of communication. They generally give good swift feedback on why candidates are or are not successful, they seek feedback on what candidates think of them and often adapt their processes accordingly. On the other hand, the much larger corporations tend to be more rigid in their processes and use automated CRM / HR systems to manage these. The slow response, limited human contact and feedback can be extremely frustrating and dehumanise the whole recruitment process which will definitely not impress a high demand creative candidate .