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What size company is the right fit for you? 

Chris Dottie MBE, Managing Director, Hays Spain


When a friend of mine told me she was changing jobs recently I congratulated her and asked what she was going to do. “I’m going to work at (insert name of technological mega-brand here),” she answered enthusiastically. I was polite enough not to remind her that she wasn’t answering the question I’d asked, but that seemed irrelevant to her in any case. Her new job title could have been ‘Apprentice Shoelace Tier’ and she still would have been extraordinarily happy because of the famous name of the company.

This sort of attitude is not uncommon. There is a glamorous thrill attached to mentioning a well-known and respected company as your employer, regardless of what your role actually is within the business.

There can indeed be many benefits to working in a large, successful, well-renowned organisation, but there is also the risk that the dazzle of the brand can blind workers to other aspects of their working situations. There is no one-size-fits-all business. Big and small sized businesses benefit different people in different ways. What role you are suited for depends largely on your personality, your ambitions and what stage of your career you’re at.

Would you rather be a big fish in a small pond or a small fish in a big pond?

When job searching, it’s important to understand the many advantages of working in both larger and smaller companies, here are just a few:

Larger companies

  • Better training resources
  • Global mobility prospects
  • Usually a better benefits and support system
  • Better networking opportunities
  • Formal processes and methodologies
  • Specialised job functions
  • Often greater job security
  • Greater investment budgets

Smaller companies

  • Opportunity to progress more quickly
  • Greater responsibility, and thus wider experience
  • More autonomy
  • Often better atmosphere
  • Increased interaction with senior figures
  • Agility in decision-making and development

So, when considering a job offer, ask yourself the following questions to assess whether it’s the right size fit for you.

7 questions to ask yourself

1. What resources will be available to you?
  • What budget will you be allocated for projects?
  • What are the key measures of success in your role?
  • Will your position be focused on maintaining and implementing current procedures or innovation and invention?
2. How much responsibility will you be granted?

In a larger company you will have the opportunity to liaise with large clients from around the globe, however your role may be more specialist and your contact limited to junior stakeholders. In a smaller company your remit is likely to cover a wider breadth of responsibilities, which is appealing if you’re looking to expand your skillset. The levels of bureaucracy in smaller companies also tend to be reduced, meaning that you have greater scope and less oversight on your projects.

3. What are the options for global mobility?

Larger companies will have multiple offices across the country, and often the globe. Are you someone who values global mobility opportunities? Larger companies are always better able to offer these.

4. How will future employers regard the role?

Are future employers in your desired vocation likely to appreciate a bigger brand name on your CV or a varied skillset gained through experience working at a smaller company? Often to reach a certain level you will need to demonstrate a variety of types of experience – what are the gaps that you need to fill?

5. What are the prospects for career advancement?

One of the big advantages of a larger company is that you can evolve your role without actually having to leave the company. There will be plenty of opportunities for sideways career movement, should you wish to modify your role, whereas in a smaller business this is often impossible.

6. How well will you be paid?

Bigger companies can typically afford to pay their staff better; however keep an eye out for sharing schemes that smaller companies may be offering.

7. What type of person are you?
  • Do you respond well to pressure or shy away from it?
  • Do you appreciate a range of responsibilities or a more structured task list?
  • Do you value change or stability?
  • How important is the social side of work to you?

Only you can know the answers to these questions, and it’s up to you to match these against the advantages and disadvantages of larger and smaller businesses that have been identified in this article so far.

So, what’s right for your next move?

Often different size businesses will suit you at different points in your career. It may also depend on what industry you are currently working in. For example, if you are employed in a specialist industry you may not have the luxury of choosing from a wide range of larger and smaller businesses.

However if you do, consider all of the above factors and questions when assessing your next career move, and decide what’s right for you. At Hays we offer roles of all shapes and sizes, contact your local team here.

Listen to our podcast on deciding which company size is right for you:


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A native of Liverpool, Chris joined Hays in 1996, working in the UK and Portugal before arriving in Spain in 2002. He is Managing Director for the Hays group in Spain, with offices located in Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia, Bilbao and Seville.

He has a degree in International Business and Modern Languages from Aston University, including a year’s study at l’École Superieur de Sciences Commerciales d’Angers and has since completed Executive Education courses at Ashridge Business School and IMD. He is a regular public commentator on the world of work and international trade.

For the past four years Chris has served as President of the British Chamber of Commerce in Spain and currently serves as a Non Executive Director on the Board of the British Chambers of Commerce. Chris was awarded an MBE for services to British business on the New Years Honours List in 2020.



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