Many employees are turning in their keycards at large companies in exchange for the opportunity to make their mark at small companies, according to a recent LinkedIn report.

People moved from one company to another, according to the survey, in search of a “better career opportunity,” cited as the number one reason for taking a new job by 59 percent of respondents.

Across the globe, small organizations (<500 employees), where employees can feel like they are making a direct impact on performance, are gaining talent. By contrast, large organizations (5,000+ employees) are experiencing the opposite trend, with a net loss of talent.

Working with a career coach can help you discover the best professional path for you. Part of the process involves considering whether your best career fit aligns with a smaller or larger organization.

small versus large company advantagesThe Small Company Advantage: What’s Attracting So Many Employees?

A lean organizational structure that lends itself to innovation, efficiency and progress — not to mention a cooperative spirit among a close-knit group of employees — is the ultimate recipe for success. Whether or not all small companies can achieve it, employees seem to be attracted to the notion of being a part of it.

Working for a smaller company or organization also provides the following benefits:

  • Greater impact — People who work for smaller companies tend to feel like their work matters — and that their efforts contribute to the company’s overall mission and bottom line. In addition, employees usually feel a strong emotional connection to the organization, with a “we” mentality and a strong company culture.
  • Higher efficiency — With no (or fewer) corporate politics or bureaucratic hoops to slow the process, decisions affecting the organization are often made and implemented more quickly. New policies can be considered with greater flexibility and, often, with input from the team. Projects can usually be turned around faster, with all hands on deck when and if necessary.
  • Opportunity to be a generalist — No worries about getting bored at a small company, where people often have the chance to wear many hats, and to act as more of a generalist than a specialist. Not sure whether your abilities best align with being a generalist or specialist? Working with a career coach who is certified to administer aptitude testing (we recommend Highlands Ability Battery) can provide powerful awareness in this and many other areas.
  • Challenge — Working for a smaller organization can offer greater challenges — and rewards — due to the higher level of involvement in both minor and bigger-picture undertakings. As such, you may be required to learn as you go, whether by conducting online research, making trips to the library, attending workshops/webinars or finding other resources to help you learn a new skill.

Small Fish in a Big Pond: Advantages of Working for a Large Company

large companies offer career benefitsWorking for a small company isn’t right for everyone. With fewer roles to fill, there is less room to move around a smaller organization, or to advance within its ranks. Moreover, many people simply enjoy the hustle and bustle of a large organization, as well as the social opportunities it affords.

Working for a large company tends to offer the following benefits:

  • Room for advancement — The combination of a heftier budget and more job levels may translate into greater opportunities for you to climb the ladder at a larger company or organization. Bigger coffers can also impact raises, salary boosts and increased benefits that often accompany such promotions.
  • Opportunity to try different areas — When you work for a larger organization, you have the chance to move from one department/team to another. Inter-company moves can be an excellent vehicle through which to try working in a new but related area, or advance your career without having to “start over” at a new company. It can also be a great way to survive a corporate downsizing should your department be targeted.
  • Chance to specialize — Working for a large organization means each employee may be assigned a very narrow focus, which translates into the opportunity to specialize in that one specific area. Over time, this specialization allows you to develop expertise.
  • Career potential — Because of their larger budgets and stronger affiliations with industry associations, larger companies sometimes offer more opportunities for training and professional development. Through strong and wide networks, they also may provide frequent occasions to meet with colleagues and industry influencers.

What advantages have you found in working for a small or large organization?

Stuck in the wrong career - four steps to get unstuck