Which size company is best for your career - pros and cons

Posted on 22 January 2023

When it comes to choosing where to build your career, you've got options. Small startups, SMEs, and big corporations all have their own set of pros and cons. In this post, we'll take a look at each and help you figure out which one might be the best fit for you. A recent poll by Gearing Recruitment Solutions found that 46% of people preferred SMEs, 35% preferred big corporations, and 19% preferred small startups as an option to work for to better their career, whilst enjoying the process. 

Check out the poll’s here from Linkedin: 

What type of company do you think you would enjoy working at more?

What type of business do you think is best for your career & development?

It's possible that more people chose SMEs because they potentially offer the best of both worlds. They have more stability and resources than a small startup, but still have the potential for growth and innovation. Plus, they often have more opportunities for advancement and a wider range of responsibilities for employees, making them a great choice for career development. Compared to big corporations, they may be seen as less risky with more job security and better benefits.

See below some of the pros and cons we received from the comments of the poll and in my opinion things that should be considered.

Small startups: 

Small startups are the new kids on the block. They're just getting started and usually have a small team, not a lot of resources, and a lot of uncertainty. But, they also offer a ton of potential for growth and development which can pay massively in the future. 


  • Small startups are often really innovative and dynamic, which can make for a really exciting and challenging work environment.

  • You'll have the chance to take on a lot of responsibility and have a big impact on the company's success.

  • There's a ton of room for growth and career development since you can move up quickly.

  • You'll get to learn a lot of different skills since you'll probably have to wear a lot of hats.


  • Small startups usually don't have a lot of resources, so you'll have to work with a tight budget and limited equipment.

  • Job security can be uncertain since small startups are more likely to fail than bigger companies.

  • You might have to work long hours and deal with a lot of stress since small startups are often in a constant state of change.


SMEs, or small and medium-sized enterprises, are bigger than small startups but still smaller than big corporations. They usually have more resources and a more established customer base.


  • SMEs often offer a more stable work environment than small startups, since they have more resources and a more established customer base.

  • You’ll potentially have more access to further funding for projects and advancements. 

  • Ideally, the company is on the up, has learned from its early mistakes, and is on a positive trajectory of growth, which from a career standpoint is excellent. 


  • There might not be as much room for growth and career development as in a big corporation, since there are fewer opportunities for advancement.

  • Stress levels could be higher since SMEs are often under pressure to compete with bigger companies.

Big corporations: 

Big corporations are established businesses with a lot of resources and a huge customer base. They usually have a lot of structure and bureaucracy, which can make them less dynamic than small startups and SMEs.


  • Big corporations often offer a more stable work environment than small startups and SMEs, since they have more resources and a more established customer base.

  • There are often a ton of opportunities for growth and career development since there are so many different departments and roles to choose from.

  • You'll get to work with a massive array of different talents and learn from them.

  • Resources are normally unlimited within reason giving large access to tools to help you with your day-to-day tasks


  • Big corporations can be bureaucratic and inflexible, which can make them less dynamic than small startups and SMEs.

  • Job security might not be as certain as other options since big corporations often have layoffs or downsizing.

  • You might have to deal with a lot of red tape and politics.

  • Your ideas may not have as much impact in a big corporation as they would in a small startup or SME.

In conclusion, the type of business that is best for your career and development will depend on your own personal preferences, goals, and circumstances. Small startups offer high potential for growth and development with a bigger payoff in the end, risk vs reward but also have high uncertainty. SMEs offer a balance between stability and innovation and large corporates offer a stable working environment but with less room for personal growth. It's important to weigh the pros and cons of each option and make a decision that is right for you.

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