Big fish or little fish - which are you?

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Big fish or little fish - which are you?

Working for a little or large company can have a big impact on your career. Different sized businesses offer different cultures, day-to-day working conditions, and opportunities, all of which can feed into your overall job satisfaction.

So, what would you rather be, a big fish in a little pond, or a little fish in a big pond? If you’ve only had exposure to one or the other, or you’re brand new to the job market, here are a few pros and cons of each to help steer your career hunting efforts.

Working for a small business

Big fish pros

More visibility: more often than not, you’re less of a number and more of a name in a small company. Because there are less heads to oversea, managers and even the CEO are more attuned to what’s going on, on an individual level, meaning your work’s noticed from the bottom all the way to the top.

Diverse experience: because there aren’t always dedicated job roles for specific tasks, there can be more opportunities to dip your fingers in more skill-learning pots. The end benefit to you? More skills + more experience = makes you more employable.

Close-knit feel: if you’re somewhere with 100s or even 1000s of employees under one roof, it’s near impossible to get to know everyone. Small companies can offer a more close-knit camaraderie - both professionally and socially.

Big fish cons

Less progression: if you had to generalise career progression, you could say it looks something like this: team member > team leader > manager > director. Quite simply, the smaller the teams and the less of them there are, the less career progression opportunities there might be.

Fewer perks: small businesses don’t always have the disposable budget available for nice-to-have perks, like Christmas parties, eye care, awards, rewards, or incentives.

An unknown entity: the big names out there have a built up reputation. Before you even turn up to an interview, you can have a pretty decent idea of what they’re like to work for, what they stand for, and where your career could lead. With small brands, there’s less certainty with all of the above.

Working for a big business

Small fish pros

CV material: having a big name brand on your CV just looks good. It’s as simple as that.

Attractive benefits: from paid-for training courses and qualifications to healthcare perks and competitive incentives, more often than not, large organisations have more money to throw behind their benefit packages.

More structure: if you’re a fan of clearly defined job roles and expectations, a big business is probably right up your street. You’ll likely work in a single department, have a designated manager, and things like reviews will be more formalised.

Small fish cons

Less autonomy: because there are more employees to keep in check, there’s usually more need to have documented rules in place. For some people, this can feel too regimented and controlling.

Slow decisions: quite frankly, the decision-making process in big businesses can be a complete pain in the ass. With so many layers to go through it can be slow, and by the time your idea’s been passed around executives, managers, and stakeholders, it might not even resemble what you originally put on the table.

A number not a name: it’d be a tad unreasonable to expect the CEO of a 600-employee strong company to know the name of everyone on their books. Because of this, expect to be more of a number than a name in a big pond.

Big or small, we’ve got you covered

Whether you’re a big or small fish, live in the north or south, specialise in sales or insight analysis, head here to see what opportunities we’ve got up for grabs at the moment.