Startups and small companies generally have difficulty recruiting and retaining staff. Often-cited reasons include less competitive salaries and fewer staff benefits, as well as financial instability of the company.
Indeed, company size does have an impact on salary levels. According to the results of ZDNet Asia's IT Salary Benchark Survey, IT professionals in midsize and large organizations are generally paid better than small businesses that employ fewer than 99 employees. For example, Hong Kong respondents who work in medium-sized companies command average annual salaries of US$49,533, or 17 percent more than those who work in small companies. The average annual salaries at companies that employ more than 1,000 employees are higher--US$61,004.
What does this mean for small businesses? Are they doomed to hire less-qualified talent because they are not able to compete with larger organizations in attracting the best?
I know of several talented people who work in startups and small businesses. They chose this path not because they couldn't find employment in multinational corporations, and it certainly wasn't because the small-business owners offered high salaries.
Working for a startup or small business may not be a bad move; there are advantages, too. Here are six reasons why:
1. Easy access to management
Not everyone realizes this, but being able to walk up to the boss to seek his or her views about a new idea is a plus. Most startups and small companies do not have long reporting chains, and staff report to and work directly with the boss. 2. React faster to change
Small businesses have the advantage of making fast decisions and responding to business change more quickly than big corporations which have corporate guidelines to follow, and changes must pass through several levels of approval. Don't like the design of the corporate Web site? Speak to the boss, and get it changed! 3. Varied roles
Often, workers in small companies get to roll up their sleeves and be involved in more than one aspect of the job. Positive thinkers see this as a golden opportunity to learn and to take up a new challenge. 4. Be a pioneer
Working in a startup can be exciting as it looks for the next big thing. Think of Asian startups like online search engine Recruit.net which are using new technologies to break new ground. And what about Amazon, Yahoo and Google: These successful companies started out with simple, innovative ideas and turned them into billion-dollar businesses. 5. Gain startup experience
Working in a startup environment is different from climbing the corporate ladder in a large multinational corporation. The beginning is always the toughest for any startup, but the growing-up experience is invaluable. Working in a small business gives you an opportunity to pick up business, financial and management experience that may not be offered in a big corporation. And even when a business fails, how many times have you heard people say they walked away with a great experience? 6. You get noticed
It is easier to get noticed when you are working in a small business. Do a great job and it would be hard for the boss not to notice your contribution. Career advancement opportunities abound, too. Are there other advantages of working in a startup or small business?