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Candidate Advice

The pros and cons of working for a scale-up vs multinational company

By Peter Wharton

I’m lucky to be in a position where I work with both large global corporations and ambitious young scale-up companies that have just succeeded in their second or third round funding. It can sometimes seem a bit daunting leaving a resource rich multinational which may count tens of thousands of employees or more to go to a company in scale up mode that can be anywhere from 25 to 100 people.  

I know candidates can be concerned about these companies being robust to weather difficult times, especially in circumstances like those we have now, career growth prospects and earnings potential.

These are valid concerns obviously, but large corporations have their risks and limitations, too – regular restructuring due to pressure of meeting quarterly targets, many competing colleagues vying for that one senior management role that comes available every couple of years and the risk of stagnating in the same role for many years. 


Benefits of working at a company in full scale up mode

1. There is always a lot of excitement and satisfaction in being part of something new and building a business from humble beginnings. Most of the companies that I work with have an incredible buzz the moment you walk through the door where the excitement and commitment is highly motivating.

2. As the company grows, there is can be more opportunity for your career to develop - - new markets, countries, and just the general growth in business. Joining a relative young company usually means that you are one of few people in that role and so automatically you are considered a senior member of the company and well positioned to either see your team grow as the business grows, or if hired as an individual contributor,  be given the chance to build a team

3. On joining you would be automatically considered an expert in your field, speaking pearl of wisdom, bringing experience that no-one else has and contributing to the success of the company, helping define strategy as well as execute.

If you do have the opportunity to work for a scale up company but are hesitating do your homework 

1. Check out their product and services in detail and do your own analysis compared to the competition

2. If they have received sizeable funding they usually have a proof of business concept so ask the hiring manager about the size and growth of the current business and what he or she sees are the opportunities and challenges

The rewards can be considerable from the satisfaction of building something special with a close knit team, remuneration can be interesting especially if a share scheme is part of the package, and you’ll also be building your CV  and so enhance your chances of finding a great job elsewhere if you decide to move.



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