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From SME to corporate company: how to deal with the culture shift

We all like freedom, don’t we?

Six of the first 10 amendments of the United States Constitution mention the word freedom…

Wham! had a number one hit about it in 1984…

Mel Gibson yelled about it in Braveheart…

And freedom is one of the reasons why you might be reluctant to move from an SME to a large corporate company. SME’s are flexible places to work, where you are your own person rather than a number. At an SME there’s opportunity to make big contributions to a small team that is vital to the company’s success.

In contrast, larger corporations are far more rigid. With hundreds of employees, your role might be more set in stone, with not much room for manoeuvre. Likewise, there may not be as much personal success or gratification. 

So it is easy to understand why a career change from an SME to a corporation might not be that appealing. In some regards, it’s like going from being single to being in a relationship and the culture shift that comes with it. When you are single, you have far more control over what you are doing. Want to pop out for a few drinks on a Saturday night? Just do it. You’ve got the freedom to do what you want and you don’t have to worry too much about anything else.

When you are in a relationship, you lose some of that freedom as you become part something bigger. But normally, taking the plunge from being single to deleting all those numbers you’ve picked up from girls you’ve drunkenly told you are an astronaut or an extra on Doctor Who or some other wildly exaggerated story to impress, turns out to be worth it.

Still convinced that moving from an SME to a sensible corporate company is going to be like giving up the fun of Spring Break for life in a nunnery? Then here are five advantages that big businesses might have over SME’s.

corporate building and sky

Big Companies are spread around the globe

An SME is by its very nature a small business which probably means the chances of you moving around to different offices are slim. Big businesses can be spread over countries, continents and even over the planet. If you like to travel, then you might find yourself popping off to the Berlin office or the Singapore arm of the company. Carrying out business over a glass of champagne in New York is a lot more appealing than working on a trading estate outside Yeovil.

new york sunrise skyline

Corporations have more sectors for you to move into

An SME is likely to be focussed on just one area. What if you get bored of that specific area? With a big company who have many fingers in many pies, you could move from one department to another without having to go through all the hassle and upheaval of leaving the company entirely. It also gives you the opportunity to broaden your skillset which will give you an edge if and when the time does come to move on.

Established companies can offer more security

If a company has been going for a long time and is a success, then they are obviously doing something right. The world is changing so fast around us that a business with a solid track record and that has enough confidence to employ a vast array of people is unlikely to become a failure any time soon, which gives you good job security.

 corporate boardroom


Name recognition

When you are at that party and somebody asks what you do for a living, it would be pretty cool to say “I work for Google” or “I work for Apple”, as opposed to an SME that only the postman has heard of. And it isn’t just on social occasions that you can drop in your big name employers to impress – having a hugely successful and recognisable company on your CV would make you stand out from the crowd in the future.

Money, money, money

Corporations are corporations because they bring in the profits. Chances are, working for one will give you a bigger pay cheque than an SME can. Then there are other perks they can offer – corporate tickets to sporting events, private healthcare, pensions. It’s not all about the money, but we would like a little more to spend. And maybe a company Ferrari.

Looking to change your job from an SME to a corporate company? Here are 5 top tips to land the job you want.