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Large organisation vs small company - what to remember when choosing new company to join

Read time 4min 40sec

What are your deciding factors when considering a new employer? Many factors come into consideration, but one aspect that is often underestimated is the size of a company.

What you expect from a future employer depends on whether the company is a large corporate or a smaller organisation. Says Candice Wiskin, Marketing Recruitment Consultant at Recruitgroup: “Large organisations could offer you status as well as credibility, which could boost your ego, offering you a fantastic job title as well as enhancing your standing in society. Or perhaps you would prefer to work for a smaller organisation, offering you greater exposure, responsibilities, flexibility and the capacity to learn a broader range of skills?”

There are many pros and cons to working either at a large or smaller organisation. Let's have a look at these different aspects.

When considering whether to join a large or small company, candidates should weigh up the options of being just a number or seen as a valued individual and employee. Says Wiskin: “People tend to lose their independence in a large organisation, due to bureaucracy and specific policies and procedures. The span of control in a larger company is, therefore, very limited, as the company will control most things for you. In a smaller company, achievements and results seem more noticeable and employees are often recognised and rewarded for hard work.”

The million dollar question and a factor that is important to all candidates is what type of package is your future employer offering? Larger organisations do tend to offer the extra benefits, such as medical aid, a pension or provident fund and company car, as well as others; however, they don't always tend to offer a market-related salary. This is due to the fact that they might sell the status and credibility of their organisation to a candidate, thus offering a lower salary than the industry norm.

Additionally, when it comes to rewarding bonuses and incentives, larger companies usually have policies to consider, while smaller companies have greater flexibility. More pros for smaller companies are that you could probably choose your own benefits or if there are none, you can receive a higher net salary at the end of each month and choose your own medical aid, retirement fund, etc, and not have to adhere to the compulsory options that are often offered at larger companies.

More so, smaller companies would usually be more generous when it comes to other benefits, such as flexi-time and annual days leave. For this aspect there are pros and cons to both types of organisations.

Pros in a larger company relate to budget, and they usually tend to have bigger budgets for skills and development training, where they invest in formal training packages in order to develop their employees. This could be seen by many as a deciding factor when accepting a new position. On the contrary, although smaller companies might not have the capital for formal training, employees tend to be more versatile and are exposed to a variety of functional areas. This could result in employees gaining a broader range of skills and expertise through direct experience.

Additionally, larger companies could offer more growth and movement within the organisation. It could be easier for employees to move up the corporate ladder by either being promoted within their department or transferring to another division. Larger companies could also offer national and international travel, which could also be a deciding factor for many candidates. Smaller companies usually don't have national or international offices or merely don't have the budget to cover travelling costs.

Another factor to take into consideration is stability. Says Wiskin: “The global economy has just had a major downturn, and companies within South Africa are still recovering from the recent recession. So what happens when the going gets tough? Larger organisations tend to close down in-house departments and consolidate their resources, allowing for tighter control during tough times, whereas smaller companies tend to retain staff as they have a lower staff count and it would be too costly and time-consuming for them to replace and train new employees.”

Stability is therefore not always a given at a larger company.

The size of a company also mirrors the type of company culture and environment that is embedded. You need to decide whether you prefer to work independently in a smaller company where they could offer you flexibility and autonomy, or perhaps you would prefer more structure and definition that a larger company could offer.

Furthermore, employees working in a smaller company tend to interact with colleagues in other functional areas, resulting in a more sociable culture.

From the above you could determine whether your expectations for future employment should materialise from either working for a large corporate organisation or a smaller company.

Finally, Wiskin goes on to say: “Deciding factors such as growth, development, flexibility and company culture should be taken into consideration when accepting a new position, as the size of the company you work for could determine the size of your career.”

Editorial contacts
Recruit IT Solutions Candice Wiskin 011 465-3360
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