There is a huge myth that graduates are only successful if they secure a role on a graduate job scheme as they believe that this is the only route open to them. This is reinforced by a recent survey which indicates that only one-third of 16 to 25 year-olds leaving full-time education had aspirations to work for Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (SMEs). So what are SMEs? The term refers to businesses which have fewer than 250 staff and a turnover of no more than £50 million.
Recent research from Santander Business Banking, suggests that SMEs have generated more than two and a half times as many jobs from 2013 to 2017, compared to larger firms. So, it’s important to realise that graduate schemes are certainly not the only route to success. If this trend of job creation continues at this level, it is predicted that by 2030 SMEs could surpass larger employers as primary employers.
Some advantages of working in SMEs include:
- Early responsibility and the chance to broaden your skill-set
You’ll get to take on a wide variety of responsibilities quickly when it’s a smaller team; there’s no time for endless days of shadowing other people so you’ll be able to get ‘stuck in’ and take real ownership of your work. This will also allow you to develop transferable skills.
- Opportunity to stand out
SMEs are more likely to take on a few graduates at a time, which means you’ll really have a chance to showcase your talents and have a higher profile within the business. You aren’t a small fish in a big pond, so if you perform well, this will be noticed.
- Access to senior management
You may even find yourself sitting across from the managing director – this opens up amazing opportunities to learn more about the company and if you’ve got ideas, you can take it straight to management. If they like the sound of your idea, you may get the chance to implement it.
It’s a great opportunity to start building a professional network. Keep in mind that everyone you meet could be a useful resource at some stage in your career.
- Career Progression
Rather than being tied to a 2 year graduate scheme that dictates your progression and salary, small businesses allow you to progress on merit – at a rate that you deserve!
Has this good news inspired YOU to consider working for an SME?
If so, a great starting point is our Employ.Ed in an SME programme. The Careers Service has teamed up with a number of SMEs to offer exclusive paid internships to undergraduates, postgraduates and recent graduates of the University of Edinburgh. Applications for summer Employ.ed in an SME internships will be advertised from 18th March on MyCareerHub. Exciting times! Find out more about this programme and how to apply here.
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