There has been a growing body of evidence and research over the last couple of years that millennials prefer working for and shopping with SMEs.
Too often we hear about the difficulties and obstacles SMEs face, such as excessive red tape and disproportionate taxation, but it should be remembered that they account for more than 99% of all businesses in the UK, and recently, Secretary of State for International Trade Liam Fox called UK SMEs “the future of the UK economy”.
As such, it would be foolish for millennials starting out on their careers to ignore the potential opportunities SMEs could offer, and indeed, according to research carried out by Sodexo, it seems that 47% of this young cohort see them as the ideal business size to work for compared to 19% who put their faith in larger companies.
Among the benefits they saw in working for SMEs millennials in the survey they cited flexible working hours, the ability to work remotely, career progression and a friendlier company culture.
Research for the software firm WebOnBoarding suggests that new staff settle in more quickly at smaller businesses and newcomers found people friendlier than in larger companies.
Other benefits to millennials from working in SMEs
In a small business there is more opportunity for both hands-on experience as well as a wider variety of tasks.
As a SME grows, the opportunities for advancement are likely to be greater than they would be in a larger business with a more formal structure and the small business also needs to be agile to survive and flourish, which arguably allows from for more innovative thinking and contributions from all members of the workforce.
This gives younger employees the opportunity to develop their skill set much more quickly than they could in a larger organisation and also tends to give them more responsibility.
While the SME may not be able to afford to pay the large bonuses paid by some larger companies, they can be creative in the ways they reward employees, such as by offering a day off for a sporting activity, a luxury spa treatment or an early end to the working day on Fridays during the summer.