If you are currently looking for a job in Singapore, you might find yourself asking, “start-up vs corporate, what’s the best career move?” Whether you’re fresh out of school or are at a career crossroads, this question is a dilemma that many job-seekers face.
The start-up culture has attracted a lot of attention in recent years for being fresh, relaxed, accommodating and vibrant, and hence, is seen as quite cool overall. But all that glitters is not gold, and hardships that start-up employees face are not nearly spoken about enough.
In this article, we look at some key points you should consider when deciding on your next career move when choosing between a start-up and a corporation:
Learning curve and career exposure
In a large corporation, you are likely to start off with a specific job scope with clear guidelines, and perhaps even a defined path within the organisation. So, if you’re the type who thrives in a more structured environment, then the corporate life might be a surer path for you.
Meanwhile, those working in a start-up might find themselves in a much leaner structure in which each individual plays a critical role in building a business. This means more work, but also more ownership of your portfolio and with it, comes greater exposure and experience.
The start-up route would likely be more suited for those who see themselves in entrepreneurial roles, who crave for the satisfaction of seeing their efforts directly impacting the business, and those who are not afraid of getting their hands dirty.
Risk vs stability
The truth of the matter is, nine out of 10 start-ups will fail. Even the most promising start-up darlings have been known to end up in the start-up cemetery. So, it goes without saying that working for a start-up can be a riskier option for a candidate.
However, it also means you have more control over how a business is going to turn out, considering you are one of the main drivers in your role. If the business takes off, you will benefit from the successes too.
While the general perception is that a corporation would be a more stable environment than a start-up, it is important to keep in mind that change can always happen. In recent years, we witnessed many large organisations go through major restructuring, with many moving their shared services to lower cost countries. M&A activities have also seen the consolidation of roles between mergers. With such constant and dynamic changes, it is important to remain agile, resilient and flexible. Showing that you are highly adaptable and able to multitask will help you stay relevant.
Compensation and remuneration
In terms of compensation, a start-up may not be able to offer packages that are as attractive as what a corporation can offer for a similar position. But what it lacks in compensation can potentially be made up for in other areas such as unique growth opportunities.
For starters, having to take on diverse roles in a start-up will help you develop resilience and the ability to thrive in an ambiguous environment. This will add value to your overall profile as a professional. When it comes to moving to your next career post, you will be seen as a very attractive candidate to potential future employers and will stand out over your peers.
Other perks could include the flexibility to work from home or an open leave policy. Sometimes, the benefits are more abstract, and stem from the satisfaction of a job well done.
At the end of the day, there is really no right or wrong decision in choosing either path. But you might want to think twice about choosing your employers solely based on brand names alone.
Instead, go for something that you know will add value to your career, something you are passionate about and something you will be proud of when you look back.