So let’s start with the basics – what is an SME?
Quite literally, SME stands for Small and Medium-sized Enterprise. In the UK, this refers to a business with fewer than 250 employees, and a turnover of less than £50 million.
Did you know that the combined annual turnover of all UK SMEs is £2 trillion? Or that over 16 million people are employed by SMEs in the UK? So as you can see, an SME might be small in name and reputation, but their impact is massive!
Big businesses offer some great benefits – but bigger doesn’t always mean better. There’s an abundance of opportunity to develop your career prospects with an SME.
Here are just 7 benefits of working for an SME:
1. Move up the career ladder quickly
Smaller companies tend to have smaller teams or departments within them compared to big businesses. This means that once that golden opportunity for promotion presents it self, there won’t be a high volume of internal candidates vying for the same position. Not to mention the specialist experience you will have gained during your time there, putting you head and shoulders above the competition.
2. Work more closely with senior leaders in the business
Working for a smaller business will likely mean that you have better access to senior leaders. For example, very few staff at Apple will work alongside the CEO. However, with an SME, it’s a very real possibility. This could be a great opportunity to showcase your skills to key decision makers. You might even be able to seek some support directly from the head of the company and ideas you might have.
3. Move quickly on your ideas
Working in a large business environment can sometimes represent a challenge when trying to pursue your new ideas. A big hierarchy of decision makers can mean that moving forward with an idea can be frustratingly slow. An SME is often be a great place for getting your ideas to the starting blocks as efficiently as possible. You’ll often be given ownership and responsibility for driving your ideas forward too!
An SME can often offer greater flexible working than larger companies. They tend to have less such stringent rules on things such as dress codes and working patterns. This can be great for anyone who might require the ability to work from home every so often.
5. Millions of businesses to choose from
It’s easy to be blinded by all of the graduate schemes that big organisations such as the BBC or IBM offer. However, only around 5% of graduates actually go on to secure these limited spots. So what happens to the other 95%? The answer…SMEs! That’s right, with over FIVE million SMEs to choose from in a range of industries, you’ll never be stuck for choice. They may not be names you recognise right off the bat, but they can offer massive potential for career growth.
6. Speculative applications
They don’t have the job i’m looking for listed on their careers page – they must not be hiring…right? Wrong! Speculative applications are a great way to get on the radar of a company you’d like to work for. This method tends to work with better success with SMEs. You may not land a paid job right away. However, a foot in the door and an opportunity to build invaluable work experience could lead to something big in the future!
7. Take on tasks from across the business
Working in an SME can often present opportunities to develop your skills with tasks not typically associated with your job role. A smaller workforce tends to result in a need for multiple skills within one role. This means SMEs can be especially keen to develop their workforce, and will trust them to take on new tasks in an effort to hone new skills. It’s important to see this as an opportunity for personal development, and a great way to show that you’re not just a ‘one trick pony’.
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