Choosing to work for a large company, a small company, or starting your own business can impact the quality of your life. These days there is a lot of advice out there about working for yourself instead of a large company. Certainly, there are benefits to working for yourself but there are also benefits to working at a large corporation, especially when you are a recent graduate. Here are a few advantages for working at a large company as a young professional.
Opportunities for Career Advancement At Large Companies
Most large companies have specific criteria for advancement. At times, this may seem bureaucratic. But, you’ll clearly know what you need to do to get that promotion. For many jobs, there is a clear career path. If you start in inside sales you can clearly see two career paths: advancement to outside sales and advancement to an inside sales manager position. If you’re in professional services like accounting or audit there is a clear career path leading up to partner or a clear path to get promoted to a certain level and then go in-house.
Career Development Opportunities
One advantage of working for a large company is the amount of career development opportunities offered for free. If you work for a large corporation your team likely has money for training and internal training available. They also likely offer training internally, ranging from company specific training to skills training that’s easily transferable. Some companies also offer LinkedIn Learning for free. Don’t hesitate to ask your manager about what training options you have available through your company, or what opportunities there are for external training / certifications.
It’s important to continue learning and acquiring additional skills. You’ve invested in yourself by attending college, but it doesn’t end there. There are other professional certifications and additional degrees that can significantly increase your earning potential such as MBA or another Masters degree, CPA, CFA or PMP. If the external training / certifications will help you in your current job your employer may be willing to partially or fully pay for it. While a large corporation may not pay 100% of these costs, they may have programs that can help partially cover these costs. In fact, this is how I was able to avoid student loans and get my MBA.
It’s important to surround yourself with people you admire. Find someone that has the job you want and learn from them. Surround yourself with people that you learn from, have positive attitudes and you enjoy being around. When you work for a large corporation there are plenty of opportunities to network and find people you admire. Leaders in your company may host lunch and learns. Companies also have employee resources groups and community service opportunities. Both of these serve as opportunities to meet coworkers that you don’t work with day to day.
Additionally, find advocates within your company. At large corporations getting put on projects that are high visibility will help expand your network of advocates. Another way is to join a large corporation as part of a leadership development program. Many decisions will be made about your career when you aren’t in the room. Have people who are in that room that will advocate on your behalf. Sponsors will advocate for you to be put on good projects, considered for new roles and for promotions. They will help push you in the right direction, put you in meetings to help you get executive visibility or expand your network. You are more likely to get a job through an employee referral and will have even greater odds if the person referring you is one of your sponsors.
See Also: 10 Pieces of Career Advice for Young Professionals
Sponsored Attendance at Conferences
Large corporations sponsor industry and leadership conferences and usually host their own conferences as well. Some conferences can cost over $1,000 per ticket plus travel expenses. Advantages of working for a large company include getting to attend these conferences for free. Learn what conferences your company participates in and talk to your manager about how you can participate in the one that interests you most.
Conferences provide an excellent opportunity to network and improve your skills. Women’s leadership development conferences will help you network with other women, how to get through barriers in the workplace that affect women and improve soft skills like leadership skills.
Other conferences, like industry conferences, will help you stay on top of the latest industry trends and network with other people in your industry. These conferences provide an excellent way to expand your network into other companies in the industry that you may want to work at one day. These conferences will also help your business acumen in your current job.
Formal Mentor Programs
Many companies offer formal mentor programs that you can sign up to be a part of. Mentors will help give you career advice when you don’t know how to navigate a situation and help guide you on topics you discuss. Think of a mentor like a coach. Career advice is especially important for young professionals because the visibility you have so far is limited. Those with more experience or have greater visibility to the bigger picture can help you dream bigger.
Large Global Companies Offer Experiences Working with Different Cultures
When you work for a large corporation you likely have a much broader customer base and coworkers located around the globe to support that global customer base. There may even be opportunities to travel abroad!
It’s very beneficial to work with different cultures when you’re first starting your career. Diversity of thinking, creativity and access to talent anywhere were the top three benefits of global teams found in research conducted by SHRM. The diversity of thought helps you see situations from a different perspective and broadens your mindset.
Ability to Change Jobs Without Changing Companies
Your career path is as much about figuring out what you don’t like as figuring out what you do like. Luckily, at large corporations you can try many different jobs without having to leave the company. It is easier to figure out what you don’t enjoy at a large corporation because the opportunities are endless. This also helps you build transferable skills. Finding your niche skills will allow you to command a higher salary or start your own business down the line.
Are you in marketing and think you’d like sales better? Large corporations have large departments so there are more opportunities to make a career pivot. Want to live somewhere else? Large corporations have a large geographical presence and may even let you keep your current job and allow you to work remotely.
See Also: Want a High Salary? 10 Tips to Get a Job at a Tech Company
Invest in Retirement Early
Large corporations often offer 401(k) plans and employee matches. Many large corporations offer a company match up to a certain dollar amount or certain percentage amount. For example, if you put 3% of your salary into your 401(k) plan, they will match that 3% and make an equal contribution to your 401(k) account. This is free money.
401(k) plans are also a great investment vehicle when you’re a young professional because you have less responsibilities and you have time. Even if you’re paying down student loan debt, if you don’t have a mortgage and don’t have kids those are major expenses you aren’t paying right now. You’re able to take advantage of compound interest and have your wealth grow over time, faster.
Corporate Benefits Package
Large corporations have a number of other benefits in addition to 401(k) plans. They often offer health insurance, dental insurance, vacation time, sick time, tuition reimbursement and more. Your health insurance may include additional perks like money toward your gym membership and acupuncture. Some companies also offer Employee Stock Purchase Plans which enable you to buy company stock at a discount.
Not sure how much your benefits package is worth? Benefits accounted for 32% for employers cost of compensation for US workers in June 2018.
When you work for yourself, you think you have more flexibility for when you work and hours you work. While this is partially true, it is much easier to put on an OOO on during vacation when you work for a large company. Often, you’ll have either a boss or peer that you can put as your backup and they’ll cover for you. When you work for yourself, it is much harder to unplug and take uninterrupted time off.
Steady Salary to Pay Down Debt and Invest
When you work for yourself, your salary isn’t guaranteed. If you get sick and can’t work one day you won’t make money that day. If you get sick at a corporate job you’re much more likely to be able to take a sick day or PTO.
Because you know your salary when you work for a large company, you are able to budget and start forming an emergency fund. Within your budget, you can set aside money every month to put towards tackling any debt and money to invest.
Advantages Of Working For A Large Company As A Young Professional Summary
Advantages of working for a large company as a recent graduate include career advancement, networking opportunities, development opportunities, corporate benefits and more. Even though the upside income potential working for yourself is far greater, it’s hard to start your own business right out of the gate. Many either do not have the business acumen or risk tolerance to start working for themselves immediately.
Working for large corporations isn’t for everyone. It is very structured and you are one of thousands of people but there are plenty of opportunities for advancement. When you work for yourself, you may have unlimited income potential depending on the industry, but it’s also riskier. Regardless of which path you choose initially, you can always change your mind later.
What advantages did you see working for a large company as a young professional?
Stop Ironing Shirts says
This is a great post. I have strongly encouraged people to both go work for a large company *and* go work in a large city in their 20s. I went through the big company training program at 22 then got to a big city by 25 and the built in network it gave me was unbelievable. I had 90+ people in my training class then in the big city all of the trainees from recent classes got to know each other. Add in all the clients and other coworkers I got to know and there was no shortage of career opportunities. In the end, if there was ever an opportunity I wanted, I knew someone who could endorse me for it.
The thing that helped me the most was always staying in touch with the people that were smart, I enjoyed talking to, and had an upward career trajectory. Just talking or texting a couple times a year when there was nothing I needed for them helped tremendously when I did need something from them. It was a genuine human connection.
Thanks for sharing your experience! What a great experience, training programs at large companies really provide a catalyst for developing a large network. Your point is spot in, just because you’ve built the network doesn’t mean you’re done. Staying in contact to build genuine human connections is equally as important.
Accessible Investor says
Good post! It’s not as “popular” as working for yourself but it certainly has many advantages. For me, entrepreneurship is something I’ve always thought about, but working for large companies as I have is working well, so I stay. I’ve certainly been a beneficiary of many of the benefits you mentioned, tuition reimbursement, career advancement, 401k match, and training/travel
I agree, pros and cons for each option! I stay for the same reasons.