Who should I work for – small firm or a multinational company?

David or a Goliath? Try our quick quiz to see which type of employer suits you best.

Like many job seekers, at some stage you may be faced with the choice of working for a small to medium enterprise (SME) or a multinational corporation (MNC).

Our simple quiz below can offer ideas on which work environment would suit you best.

1. When solving a work problem, I prefer:
A) Sticking to tried-and-tested methods, or
B) Trying out different methods to see which are more efficient or effective.

2. The most important aspect of a job for me is:
A) The salary and benefits I'll receive, or
B) The training and experience I'll gain.

3. When it comes to interaction with the boss, I prefer:
A) As little face-time as possible, or
B) Working as part of a team.

If you answered mostly ‘A’s

You’re probably better suited to working for a MNC. You’ll enjoy the prestige of a renowned brand, and this can translate to attractive remuneration possibly with a few extra perks thrown in. Your job scope may be highly specialised, which means you’re trained to be the master of your trade – though with the potential to extend your skill set.

There can be greater opportunities within a MNC to request a transfer within the company – even if a bigger bureaucracy can mean this takes a little longer to arrange than in a smaller firm. Don’t be put off. Go-getters never let red tape stand in their way. With a wealth of company resources at your disposal, a MNC could be just the ticket you’ve been looking for to achieve your career goals.

On the downside, the extended pool of co-workers within an MNC could leave you feeling a little insignificant. It may also seem impossible to get to know everyone but you could remedy this by taking part in – or even initiating – staff social clubs, inter-department collaborations or company-wide activities like sporting events.

If you answered mostly ‘B’s

You may be better suited to working in a SME environment. That’s not a bad thing – good things come in small packages including workplace opportunities.

Smaller firms tend to be more nimble in terms of corporate culture.  Fewer rules and less rigid operating procedures can offer more flexibility and nurture innovation and creativity. The 2015 Robert Half Salary Guide notes that 38% of SMEs across Australia are increasing their flexible workplace arrangements while larger firms may be scaling back on such arrangements.

Working for a SME can also see you called on to collaborate more frequently with colleagues in different areas of the firm, providing exposure to a broader range of projects. Indeed, job scopes are generally not as defined within SMEs, giving you a great chance to try your hand at many different roles to discover hidden talents.

With fewer colleagues to compete against, your good work may be more likely to have a greater impact – and be noticed by key decision makers. This can lead to turbo-charged career progression.

It pays to remain flexible

The bottom line is that it pays to consider which type of employer would suit you best – for your particular life stage. Your preferred working style, career objectives, and individual job must-haves will vary throughout your working life. Nonetheless, remaining open to the possibility of working for a type of firm you may not initially have considered can deliver welcome career rewards.

This article originally appeared as The SME vs MNC divide: making the right decision on roberthalf.com.sg.

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