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Why should you work for an SME?

Posted by: Ian Piper

People are often drawn to the allure and excitement of working for a big brand that shouts about its progression opportunities, meaning that SMEs can sometimes get overlooked.

An SME is a small-medium sized enterprise and is defined by having less than 250 employees. SMEs tend to be lesser known companies than the big household names we come across everyday. These household names receive three times as many job applications than their lesser known counterparts. This is a real shame because SMEs have so much to offer employees.

SMEs now represent the fastest growing sector of the economy. Last year the House of Commons business statistics report declared that over 99% of businesses were classed as small or medium, all employing under 250 staff in the UK and that 95% of these businesses are actually classed as micro, employing less than 9 members of staff. The report also showed that only 20% of SMEs are female-led.

A survey conducted by TUC in association with YouGov, confirmed that employees in small businesses, those with less than 50 staff, are in fact the most satisfied at work. The survey also found that small business employees showed the most loyalty and commitment to their organisation. These employees also felt the most engaged with their job, had the most freedom to choose working patterns, showed lower stress levels and had fewer complaints about longer working hours.

The Federation of Small Businesses added “in terms of the way they treat their staff, small businesses consistently out perform their bigger counterparts. Small business owners know that the greatest asset they have is their staff and they are more likely to treat them as individuals and recognise their needs. By having a committed and loyal workforce that has a say in how the organisation is run, the smallest business has a bigger advantage.”

A real advantage of working for an SME is being able to make a genuine contribution and see the impact your work has on the business. This also means that your successful ideas and hard work are more likely to be noticed. Working for an SME can often mean that you can achieve a higher profile within the business more quickly and with that comes more responsibility and a greater freedom to make decisions. An SME is less likely to have individual departments for every function so this allows you to take on a variety of tasks and responsibilities, making your job more interesting and giving you a wider understanding of the business as a whole and how it functions. With this hands-on experience and level of involvement, you are much more likely to boost your overall skill set.

Because SME’s have smaller numbers of staff, you are much more likely to have regular contact with the senior members of staff and therefore have more opportunity to impress them. In larger companies there tends to be a rigid structure with regards to receiving pay increases and promotions; however in an SME you are more likely to influence these elements because you work more closely with the decision makers, and promotional and pay structure is less likely to be complex and bureaucratic. 

So what do SMEs look for in employees? SME’s look for people with a can-do attitude and a willingness to just “get stuck in”. Being flexible with regards to tasks and an ability to learn quickly and work with minimal supervision is also key. Common sense and a practical approach to problem solving is also highly sought after.
Do you have what it takes to be part of an SME? Join our team today.!


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