The benefits of working at startups and SMEs

CareerLunch Team
CareerLunch Team
3 min read
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When choosing a career path, everyone wonders if they should seek out a traditional corporate job or if joining a startup or SME (Small and Medium Enterprises) would be the right choice. On the one hand, big corporations offer a fancy workplace, great employee benefits, and a prestigious company name. However, getting noticed and implementing big changes in big organizations is easier said than done. While there is no right choice, startups and SMEs certainly offer a great opportunity for personal and professional growth.

Here are 6 reasons why you should consider working at a startup or SME:

Jack of all trades

Rather than having a specific job description with clear responsibilities at a large company, at startups and SMEs you will likely get to do a variety of tasks. Not only will this give you an opportunity to learn different skills, but also ensures you’ll never get bored of your day-to-day work life. Getting to juggle many responsibilities will keep you on your ‘A’ game and allow you to develop a broad skillset.


One of the most attractive benefits of working in smaller organizations is that you can work with your own flow and have greater room for flexibility. After the pandemic, the possibility to work from home became a key benefit for many people. Startups and SMEs found it easier to adapt to the new working environment and offer the desired way of working post-pandemic. Another key to flexibility is time. Some people are early birds that prefer to start their working day at 7 a.m. and finish by 3 p.m., and others like to sleep in a bit more. Startups and SMEs tend to be open to accommodating their employees’ preferences. How about dress codes? If you’re not a fan of the suit and tie and prefer comfortable clothing, then go for the rising stars!

Your actions matter

Not that the actions and changes you implement in large corporations don’t matter, it is just that sometimes, they can feel less noticeable as the company has hundreds of decision-making processes every day. In startups and SMEs, you get autonomy and creative control over your ideas and incentives. The outcome may bring a sizable benefit to the company, and you get to gain experience first-hand as a decision-maker.

A full 360

If you are not sure exactly what you would like to do, but you know the general direction you would like for your career, working in a smaller organization could be the right choice. Without being confined to one department, you will get to experience all angles of the business. You can quickly recognize what you would like to focus more on, and find your strengths, while at a bigger company, you may never have the chance to figure that out.


These days it is important to give employees an outlet to be able to experiment and have an impact with their creative ideas. A big hierarchy often stands in the way of you moving forward with your creative ideas for the business. It can be even discouraging as you need to convince multiple people across several departments and wait a long time until your idea gets approved. Small companies not only encourage this, but are happy to hear your ideas on how the business can grow and flourish. Just make sure you are ready to see your big ideas through!

Employee centricity & connection

At startups and SMEs, employees get to know each other and you get to work closely with senior leaders in the company. You get to showcase your skills and get support from key decision makers. Moreover, team size in SMEs and startups are relatively small. Therefore, you get to work closely with people across the whole company and develop close connections with your coworkers.

It’s clear there are both benefits and setbacks to working at a large corporation or at startups and SMEs. This is why it is best to reflect on the options, and choose where you feel the most comfortable and have room to grow. But if you’re undecided about what you would like to focus your skills on, if you want to have more control over your work, or you simply want to experiment and work in an ever-changing working routine, why not see if meeting one of our Rising Stars would be the right fit for you.

How to meet SMEs with big opportunities

Overall, company culture is a great determinant of a great work environment. The key to getting a feel of a company’s culture is to meet them in an informal setting, such as having a chat over a lunch or coffee. To provide such an opportunity for informal meetings, CareerLunch and Swiss Life have partnered together and created a platform where you can connect with the Rising Stars among SMEs. Discover many career opportunities in various fields on the Rising Stars page and book a free lunch with an SME here.