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Why shunning the big corporates is a good choice for your career

The benefits and opportunities available when working for smaller companies are often bigger, better, more frequent and often they can provide faster career progression. Many believe going with the ‘big boys’ is the best route, but smaller businesses can provide a great platform in which to start your career.


As a franchised business, each of Winkworth’s offices is independently owned and operated; all small businesses running their teams autonomously, providing plenty of opportunity for growth, enjoyment and progression.

Here, the Guardian sets out why graduates are choosing small businesses and the benefits that come with it. 

Size isn't everything: why graduates are choosing small businesses

It’s often quicker to progress at a smaller company, and your role may be more fluid – here’s why shunning the big corporates is a good choice

University leavers are flooded with information about corporate graduate schemes to the point that many believe this is the only route open to them. In reality, these structured schemes only make up a small percentage of graduate job opportunities and they are certainly not the only route to success.

Startups and small to medium businesses can offer graduates an amazing platform from which to begin their career. From fast career progression to great company culture, here are six reasons graduates should consider working at a small business.

Responsibility from the get-go

It’s usually all hands on deck at a small company, meaning you’ll get to take on a wide variety of responsibilities very quickly. After all, when there are only a few members of staff, there’s no space for endless days of shadowing other people or simply doing admin tasks. This steep learning curve means you’ll constantly be challenged to learn and develop your skills.

Depending on the size of the company, you may even find that you don’t have a direct line manager. While this might sound daunting, it allows you to take real ownership over your work and be in charge of far larger projects than you would be involved in on a traditional graduate scheme.

Having this level of practical experience will stand you in good stead when it’s time to move on to your next opportunity, too. Budgets at small companies do tend to be tighter, so your level of external training probably won’t match what you would be offered on a graduate scheme. Then again, there really is nothing like learning on the job.

The opportunity to stand out

Some of the most well-known employers hire up to 1,000 graduates every year. With so many options to compete with, standing out as an exceptional employee can be nigh on impossible. Conversely, startups and small businesses are more likely to take on just one or two people at a time, meaning you’ll really have a chance to prove your worth and impress your employer.

Fewer hierarchies

At startups in particular, teams are often so small that you’ll find yourself working directly with the founders of the business. This opens up an amazing opportunity to learn more about the company as a whole and be surrounded by inspirational people.

This lack of hierarchy also means you’ll be able to get your creative juices flowing too. Got an amazing idea? You can take it straight to the founders and if they like it you’ll get the chance to implement it. At a larger company it can be harder for a graduate to get their voice heard.

Creativity and innovation

Startups are really paving the way in some of the hottest industries right now – most notably technology. By bucking the graduate trend and joining a small company, you’ll be at the forefront of this change.

Of course, this does mean you’ll have to sacrifice having the power of a big brand name on your CV, if or when the time comes to move on. However, the impressive list of skills and experience you’ve amassed in your career so far should help you overcome that. And who knows, perhaps by the time you’re ready to leave, the company could be a household name.

Company culture

From beer on tap to office dogs and ping-pong tables, small businesses pride themselves on their unique company cultures. It’ll certainly make the transition from university to working life a lot easier and be sure to get you jumping out of bed in the morning.

But it’s more than just cool offices – small companies take personality fit very seriously when recruiting, so you can guarantee you’ll be surrounded by a team of like-minded individuals. This should make for a friendlier and more collaborative working environment, where people of a similar mindset come together to work hard and have fun.

Fast career progression

Inevitably, the starting salary for graduates at small businesses tends to be lower than at their corporate counterparts. However, what many people don’t know is that the career progression is often much faster. Rather than being tied to a two-year graduate scheme that dictates your progression and salary, small businesses are often more meritocratic and allow you to progress at a rate that you deserve. 

Winkworth’s recruitment manager Lucy King works to recruit some of the best talent for the offices across the network…

“I have worked in recruitment for a number of big estate agency brands and I’ve found that at Winkworth there is a lot more opportunity than if you went with the big corporates. There’s room to grow and learn, progression opportunities are fantastic and there’s space to really make your mark and work your way to the top.“ explains Lucy.

We have some great opportunities at the moment so if you’re interested in what Winkworth has to offer and would like to find out more, contact Lucy King on 020 7355 0289 or email [email protected]

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