What is Better For You: An SME or Large-Scale Company?

By Kinexus on 21 February 2019
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As a Naval Consultant I am often asked by Naval Sector professionals of the main differences between working for a large scale, often multi-national Defence Industry company, and working for a small to medium-sized or SME company.

While there is no right or wrong and both can be great; I’ve outlined the main differences between the two and how each can benefit your career moving forward.

Large-Scale Companies

With it being such a vibrant time within the Australian Defence Industry, the larger scale companies are involved in numerous projects, to a degree we haven’t seen historically. Whether it is as the prime system integrator, or as a subcontractor on one of the numerous Defence Sector projects, the opportunity to find interesting work with a large-scale Defence Sector company is plentiful.

There are numerous advantages to working for a large company, the most prevalent being:

  • The amount of interesting work, often with the ability to work across numerous projects.
  • The chance of promotion and the ability to advance your career with the company, due to the number of job opportunities that the company will have.
  • The chance to work in larger engineering teams and to work alongside highly skilled Defence Sector engineering professionals. This often presents mentorship opportunities, with more highly skilled and experienced engineers working closely alongside more junior engineers at the earlier stages of their careers.
Small-Medium Enterprises (SMEs)

The fact that work is so plentiful within the Australian Naval Sector has also opened many opportunities for small to medium-sized companies to become increasingly involved in numerous projects. SMEs account for approximately 50% of Defence Sector employment and now is a great time to consider them as a potential future employer.

Advantages of working for an SME in the current climate are:

  • Increased autonomy and flexibility. SMEs often offer their employees greater flexibility within their roles and within the company as a whole. If you can showcase your skills in different areas, SMEs will often give you the opportunity to mould your role and your career into exactly how you want it to look.
  • Stability. Historically, the amount of Defence Industry opportunities haven’t been as widespread as they currently are and will continue to be. This means that SMEs are increasingly able to offer unique, interesting work, safe in the knowledge that they have a guaranteed workload moving forwards.
  • Emphasis on company culture. Working in smaller teams and for smaller companies means that SMEs can place a stronger emphasis on their company culture. They will not only ask whether a defence professional is able to perform the role, but also what this person will bring to the team and the wider organisation. This means that people considering a role with an SME are now able to closely align their personalities and strengths with a company in which they can develop and flourish.

Working closely on a daily basis with both large-scale defence companies and SMEs, if you are interested in discussing opportunities moving forwards in either, feel free to reach out for a confidential conversation.

By Tom Butters

Photo by Anthony DELANOIX on Unsplash

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