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Big vs Small Business – What One Suits You?

Big vs Small Business – What One Suits You?

Job hunters that have only worked in small business environments often tell us they want to work for big corporates. The perception being that big organisations provide more career benefits than small ones. We also receive the opposite request from job hunters who have only worked for large organisations wishing to move to a more intimate sized business. When it comes to choosing who to work for – which size business suits you best?

Each organisation, big and small has unique benefits, programs and structure, and what suits you will depend on how you work best in an organisation and what you hope to achieve.  

If you like more formal business structures, you may be suited to a large organisation. Larger organisations can often provide more structured training and career development programs and better opportunities to move upwards than small businesses. However, decision making can be slower in large organisations as there are more management channels to sift through, which some people can find frustrating.

Here’s a few pros of working for a big business to consider:

HR resources
With bigger HR departments, large organisations often have talent management programs in place that employees can benefit from. In the best big organisations resources are allocated to proactively manage the workforce, develop staff and retain the best and brightest people.  People are valued!

Corporate health and wellness programs
Bigger businesses are more likely to have sophisticated health and wellness programs that employees can utilise such as onsite gyms, subsidised gym memberships, immunisation programs and social clubs etc.  

Structured mentoring programs
Larger organisations often have dedicated mentoring and leadership programs designed to nurture and develop their talent to move upwards in the business. A good mentor is not only someone to bounce ideas off, but can provide a fresh perspective and guidance on problem solving, accountability and goal setting.

Large organisations, especially internationals can often provide opportunities for employees to move sideways in the business to interstate or overseas. This can be an enriching and rewarding experience for employees, providing the opportunity to learn new skills. Plus, it always look great on your CV!


Prefer to work in a more Intimate environment where everyone knows your name? Perhaps small business would suit you best. Job hunters who are hungry for career growth and big salaries sometimes overlook small businesses due to some misconceptions about what they can offer. If you dislike bureaucracy and having multiple channels to go through to get your work approved, then a smaller organisation may suit you better.

Here are few pro’s that small businesses can offer you:

Role diversity
Roles are often more diverse in smaller companies because there are less resources to spread the work around. This means more opportunity to try out a variety of responsibilities, which is especially useful for graduates working out their strengths and weaknesses.

As a recruiter, we speak with a lot of companies about salaries and work arrangements. In our experience, small businesses tend to be a bit more open to flexible working arrangements such as time off in lieu, leave without pay and telecommuting.

Closer relationships
Working for a small business is a far more personal experience than working for a large one. There are more opportunities to collaborate with colleagues from all levels of the business, not just your department and key members of staff.

More of a chance to shine
Your successes are more visible in a smaller company. If you snag a new client or come up with a great idea, it’s more likely to get noticed by senior management or the owners of the business. You get to be a big fish in a small pond!  

Large and small business structures both have their benefits and drawbacks and each is suited to different types of people. We hope this helps you to decide which size business suits you best.