The Pros And Cons Of Working For An SME

After finishing your degree, you may be faced with the daunting prospect of deciding what type of career you want to purse and in what type of company. Although working in a well-established corporation with a good salary and work benefits sounds most appealing, there are many reasons why you should give the underdog a chance. SME’s and Startups are newly created companies in the phase of development and research for markets. Being small compared to others means they can offer a variety of benefits and drawbacks.

The Work Environment:
SME’s / Startups offer a more inclusive work atmosphere, as they will usually have a small number of workers for a company. There is less of a hierarchy because of this, so you could find a senior manager interacting with a graduate for example, making the workplace more integrated and friendly. Having a workplace that acts like a close-knit community would certainly make going to work more bearable.

More Freedom:
The job description in a SME/ Startup is not usually restricted to one specific role. You may be asked to do several tasks throughout the day, which could vary from being mundane or challenging. But you won’t be limited to on position, giving you more of a hands-on experience and a variety of skills to add to your CV.  

Credit Where Credits Due:
Career progression is more likely in an SME/ Startup, meaning you can work your way up faster than you would in a large corporation.  This is because a good performance in a small workspace will not go unnoticed, unlike in larger companies where there is more competition, which is great for your work attitude as you get credit where credits due. However, it can also work the opposite way if you make a mistake. This is a good thing, however, as this will develop a more focused and positive work ethic to avoid making mistakes.

However… there are some disadvantages to working in a SME / Startup.

Less Financial Stability:
The salary of a job can be a deal breaker for a lot of people. As SME’s make less money, they can’t pay higher wages compared to the larger companies that do to remain competitive against rivals. Therefore, pay and bonuses will, naturally, be lower. In addition to this, SME’s may be more susceptible to economic pressures and find it hard to cope like larger companies, running the risk of shutting down altogether. The uncertainty of the future of the company may not appeal to everyone.

Lack of Mentorship:
As a graduate, you may lack work experience and will be looking for some form of guidance when starting your new job. However, this may not be always available to you. As there’s less people working in the SME/ Startup, there will be less people to ask for help as they could be busy completing their own projects and, most likely, only one senior staff member.

Long Work Hours:
SME’s /Startups commonly have long work hours, as their founders want to be constantly working on their project or developing it. Therefore, the workload should not be underestimated, as you could be working late at night and even on the weekends. As a young graduate this might not be the most appealing, as the hours can be unsociable.

So, what is our verdict?
Although there are some disadvantages for working in a SME / Startup, they do offer a good opportunity for experience and personal growth. Being free to do a job where it may include various roles gives you the chance to see what you do prefer doing in the workplace, as many new graduates are still unsure of their desired career path. Even though they aren’t the most secure, you will undeniably walk away with a set of new skills and a unique experience to help you find your next job.

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Written by Cassie Walker