Career Opportunities For Women: Big vs Small Organizations

By: bigduke
Before you start your job search campaign, it's smart to give serious thought to what size company is best for you.

The giant corporations have well-known names, large numbers of employees and, in general, many career opportunities for women. Yet there are, in total, far more opportunities in small organizations -- those with twenty employees or less. A recent estimate indicated that small organizations account for a full two-thirds of all new jobs.

In the matter of big versus small organizations, however, you should focus on more than the odds of finding a job. The key considerations here are the kind of corporate style you're likely to encounter, the career path you'll be asked to follow, and what the name of the organization you work for will mean to you, personally and professionally.

Let's take a brief look at some of the major differences between typical large organizations and typical small organizations.

Big organizations have names that carry prestige and tend to rub off on you, positioning you as a certain corporate type.

Training and advancement in big organizations are rigidly structured. You're generally required to move up in a controlled, predictable career path, working your way carefully up the ladder. Quantum leaps are rare.

If you remain for the big payoff in a large organization, it happens typically when you're middle aged. That's when you get the senior title, the important perks and the big-time salary.

Big organizations like to be perceived as secure places to work. In truth, layoffs, cutbacks and reorganizations are as common in the giant companies as they are anywhere else.

As an entry level person in a big organization, your responsibilities tend to be narrow and intensive. In a smaller company you'll probably wear more than one hat, and be exposed to a broader view of the organization.

In big organizations, there are people moving up most of the time, generating a flow of slots into which you might be promoted. In a small company, there may be long periods with no staff movement.

It's usually tougher to move from one department to another in a large organization, because you have little contact with the decision makers in areas other than your own. In a small company, you know everyone and everyone knows you.

Small companies are often more thoroughly entrepreneurial than large companies, because no one in a small company is very far removed from the quest for new business and profits, while most people in large companies never come in contact with customers.

In general, big organizations have the potential for higher salaries. At the entry level the differential may be insignificant, but in middle and upper management the differential can be dramatic.

You can make a good case for either large or small, depending upon your style and your personal goals. But you should be aware, before you set your job search objectives, that both are huge markets for you, though they represent very different on-the-job experiences.
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