Students heading off to university apparently aren’t too worried about the quality of teaching – or even the £9,000 they will have to shell out every year.
Researchers at Edinburgh University found that students favour older Russell Group institutions with an impressive history and reputation over more modern ones, whilst effectively ignoring factors universities can control, such as price and degree content.
Similarly, graduates may be tempted to go for large, well-know companies in their hunt for a job; firms with an ample history and a solid reputation. This certainly has its benefits:
- In general, large companies offer bigger starting salaries. They also offer extensive employee benefits such as health insurance, pension plans, on-site gyms and even company cars.
- You are sure to meet a lot of people, guaranteeing a substantial network of useful contacts.
- There tend to be more opportunities for promotion, especially if the company is expanding.
- Big companies offer stability, as they are unlikely to run out of cash anytime soon. Having more money to play with also means they can happily afford to pay for employee training, which will enhance your skill set and make your CV look pretty damn good.
But before you are seduced by popular, attractive companies with big salaries, take a minute to consider the merits of working for a small-or mid-sized company. While striding suited and booted into a high rise tower in the centre of London may feel awfully glamorous and grown-up, smaller firms do have a lot to offer:
- First off, you are probably in with more of a chance of snagging a job at smaller companies because there are generally less applications per vacancy.
- You are more likely to have your work noticed. Added to which, you will feel that you are making a real contribution to the company and actually making a difference – which is reflective of today’s graduates being more concerned about their ability to make a difference than their salaries.
- You will get to know a smaller team of people very well, which is potentially better than having a large network of contacts you barely know.
- Roles at small companies are less likely to be rigidly fixed, meaning the work will be more varied and giving you the opportunity to take on more responsibility. The informal atmosphere sometimes spills over into the dress code – you may be able to swap ties and high heels for t-shirts and trainers.
In the end, it all boils down to personal taste and what you value in a career. Would you be more inclined to take graduate jobs in a small or large company?