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Pros and cons of large and small businesses

When looking for a job, it can feel like employers are in control of your destiny. But, it’s important to remember, you choose where you work, as much as they choose you. So, when it comes to finding the right company for you, what are the pros and cons of working for large and small organisations?

Benefits of working for large companies

Large companies can be a fantastic place to work, with plenty of perks and opportunities.

Higher salaries and bigger perks

The more successful a company is, the more chance there is that there will be countless benefits for employees, like higher salaries, more resources, regular bonuses, incentive schemes, days out and even perks like on-site gyms, free lunches or treats (because let’s face it, who doesn’t love free food?).

Strong structure

Bigger businesses usually have a robust infrastructure, which can have a number of advantages. From an effective HR department to escalate and resolve any concerns, to a clear line management system that avoids any complicated situations, it can feel reassuring to be part of an established hierarchy.

Be inspired

Individuals who work for a big company often feel inspired to work alongside leading experts in their field.

A larger company can also be much more diverse than SMEs, so you’re able to meet and work with a variety of people from different backgrounds.

Career progression

Finally, a large company can offer employees a number of opportunities to further themselves, through training and development. Plus, they often have clear progression paths so you can map out, work towards and be supported to achieve your professional goals.

Disadvantages of working for large companies

While some people love the feel of a large company, others can experience disadvantages when working for a big corporation.

Office drama

Often, larger companies have heightened office politics, which can be difficult to navigate.

Whether it’s working with a tricky team member, or handling disputes between different departments within the company, a daily dose of drama can be a regular fixture within big organisations.

Stifled creativity

Other people have reported that the structure of a larger organisation makes it more challenging to get new ideas and projects signed off, as they have to be approved by a series of senior management figures.

Many companies are set in their ways, so creativity can feel stifled – something many individuals can find frustrating.

Lack of appreciation

Depending on the size and setup of a large company, employees can feel undervalued and lost in the system if their work isn’t understood or appreciated by superiors.

Too much competition

Equally, while opportunities for progression may be plentiful, there can often be much more competition, making it harder to hit your personal career goals and timelines.

Benefits of working for small companies

Working for small companies, from startups to SMEs, can have plenty of advantages.

Feel valued and motivated

Usually, a small team means everyone is valued and appreciated, and it can feel more motivational when you all work together towards a common goal.

Positive team spirit

You may well feel more invested in the success of a company when it’s just starting out and you understand its founder’s vision, compared to a global, multimillion-pound corporation, which makes for great team spirit and a positive working environment.

More creativity

Often, creativity is more nurtured, encouraged and rewarded in smaller companies, as creative solutions tend to be considered regularly without the need for proposals to be signed off by a distant and cautious board.


Working for a startup or small business can mean there’s a lot of flexibility to take on new responsibilities and carve out your own path to progression. You may start out as an admin assistant, but you could soon put yourself forward to take on all kinds of duties like social media, web design, sales, HR or finance. Without the rigid structure of a large organisation, you could be free to make the role your own and take it much further than originally planned.

What’s more, a small company may often have more of a relaxed vibe where you can dress casually and work more flexibly.

Disadvantages of working for small companies

Of course, every company has its pros and cons, so there are certain disadvantages to working for some smaller companies.

Lack of opportunities

While some small companies may give you the flexibility to take on more responsibilities to further your career, others may lack progression if the business isn’t growing quickly enough. There may not be a clear path for you to progress, unlike in a larger company, so without the opportunities to carve out your own, you could be left in limbo.

Similarly, small businesses may lack the funding to finance training or invest in resources in areas where you’re keen to progress, which could put the brakes on your career development.

Fewer perks

Many small businesses will have low-budget perks like dress down days and early finishes, but they’re unlikely to offer big bonuses, gym memberships or free team lunches. Salaries may also be lower, as they lack the budget for higher wage brackets.

No structure

In a small company, it’s often common for there to be a lack of structure, so there’s no HR team to listen to any concerns or complaints you might have, for example.

Without formal policies for every eventuality, you could end up feeling frustrated and unsupported if something goes wrong.

Job insecurity

Many startups and small businesses grow rapidly and reward employees handsomely, but sadly, other SMEs can struggle, which could leave you feeling vulnerable about your position.

A reported 20% of businesses fail in their first year, with 60% folding within three years, so accepting a job with a small business can pose a risk to your professional future.

How to decide on the right company for you

Ultimately, whether you work for a large or small business is down to personal preference, opportunities and chemistry. Whether you feel most at home within a large organisation, or you’re more suited to the feel of a smaller business is up to you to decide.

Every business, large or small, has its own unique atmosphere and ethos, so make sure you feel comfortable in a workplace before accepting a job there.

Trust your instincts – if it doesn’t feel quite right, you probably won’t be happy there in the long term, even if it seems like a great career move on paper. However, learn to understand the difference between a bad feeling and simple nerves, as it’s natural to be nervous before starting a new job.

If you’re wondering what the next move is for your career, the Lupa Recruitment team can help. Give us a call or drop us a line and we’d love to help you in your mission to find the perfect job. Call 0151 665 0380 or email

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