Graduate jobs are usually associated with high-profile graduate schemes in huge corporations, however this doesn’t have to be the case. Small and medium enterprises, or SMEs as they are commonly known, are organisations with up to 250 staff and can be a great place to start your career for a huge number of reasons. We advertise a range of opportunities on LSE CareerHub and here we look at the top ten benefits of SMEs vs. the larger organisations, and how they can affect both your day-to-day life and career progression.
1. Increased responsibility
As there are fewer staff, you’ll get more responsibility as soon as you go in. SMEs need people who don’t have to be supervised intensely for the first few months and can ‘hit the ground running’, so if you’re that person then go for it. Smaller businesses will be happy to give you more responsibility faster, which in turn will increase your skill set and make your job more enjoyable.
2. Contact with upper management
As SMEs have 250 employees or fewer, your interaction with managers and beyond will be increased. Your line manager will have fewer people to manage, so will be able to help you more personally, and their managers are more likely to be accessible to you. This means that you have more opportunities to make an impact on the people running the organisation, and because of that you will have a much more open place to work where your ideas are as important as those at the top.
3. More variety
This is one of the biggest draws for working at a smaller organisation. SMEs are usually the next step up from being a startup, and it’s likely that they’re trying to do something new and exciting. This means that you’ll probably have the opportunity to be experimental and do more interesting things.
There is also much more possibility to be involved in projects outside of your remit. This is an ideal way to broaden your skill-set and give you a chance to try something outside of your comfort zone. Having a good understanding of other parts of a business will also make you more attractive to potential employers for when you want to move to a different organisation.
4. Job flexibility
This is linked to having more variety in your daily work too. As you’ll be in a smaller team the responsibilities will be shared. You’ll be able to help implement projects that aren’t technically your remit, and equally you’ll be able to share your projects with colleagues that you wouldn’t necessarily have contact with in most situations. This is great for expanding your network and your skills, and will mean that your daily work will be much more diverse.
5. Faster job progression
In a smaller organisation, there’s less competition. This is a simplification of the situation that you’ll be in, but it’s true. As you have fewer people fighting to get the top roles, you have a better chance of faster progression. Your skills will be noticed sooner (but more on that later), and as you’ll have a closer relationship with the organisation’s management you’ll have more opportunities to impress them.
6. Increased team camaraderie
In a smaller team it’s usually easier to make friends. You’re all pulling together for a common goal that you all believe in, and that fosters great relationships in addition to excellent networking possibilities. These connections are great to have for future career prospects, as your colleagues will be able to recommend you further down the career line when they move on, and vice versa.
7. Your skills are recognised more quickly
As previously outlined, you’ll be able to have more contact with upper management and you’ll have less competition for career progression if you work for an SME. Due to this, your input into the organisation will be realised much faster than it would in a huge organisation. Even if you decide you don’t want to move up within that organisation, impressing someone important within it will make for great references, or even a recommendation for when you’re ready to move on.
8. Higher profile
Working in a smaller enterprise means that your individual input will be much more important for the organisation than working in a larger business. This will undoubtedly make your work feel more satisfying, as you know that you’re making a difference. Your work will have a significant impact on the achievements of the organisation. This should open up more opportunities for you in itself.
9. More autonomy
In an SME you’re likely to have a lot more control over your own work. This means being able to set your own deadlines, work at your own pace, and being able to make your own decisions. This freedom will help you find out a lot more about the way you work, and your strengths and weaknesses. You’ll be able to give your thoughts on existing processes and really be part of the organisation’s continued growth and success.
10. The potential is endless
Remember: Google was an SME once. Working in an SME means that you’re probably working on something new and potentially amazing. SMEs are often more open to ideas from new staff, which means you could help take them the distance from, to use Instagram as an example, a tiny app that let you put filters on photos, to the billion dollar social media powerhouse it is now. Everyone’s got to start somewhere, so find an organisation you believe in and help them achieve both your shared dreams.