Should you be looking at large companies with hundreds of employees and a well known brand or are there benefits to working at a smaller organization when you’ve just graduated?
Last year we published an article about the pros and cons of working for a large food organization. We offered 5 reasons you should and 5 reasons you shouldn’t ‘go big’. In the food industry these are your Maple Leaf Foods, Kelloggs, Ferrero’s etc. The organizations that you have seen on career day or actively recruiting at job fairs.
Large companies have the marketing dollars to make sure you know who they are and what they produce. They also have dedicated staff that focus on internal internship programs to ensure they are ‘front of mind’ when it comes to applying for jobs to keep their talent pipeline full.
But what about the small and medium organizations?
Small businesses engaged in food and beverage manufacturing continue to account for a larger share of total establishments in the food and beverage sector. In 2013, small businesses with less than 100 employees accounted for 90.2% (1,036) of total food and beverage establishments and that number is continuing to grow.*
It would seem that you would have a greater chance of getting hired at a small/medium company just based on the number of organizations alone, but instead of me listing all the benefits of applying to small companies’, I thought it would be better to hear from someone who started out in a large company and now works for a much smaller organization.
Ann McDonald, Manager, Product Innovation at Furlani’s shared her thoughts now she is going into her 7th year with a smaller employer.
Benefits to New Grads
In her role she works closely with Sales and Marketing on the development of new innovative products. Ann supports Sales and Marketing by attending new product presentations to customers.
Ann said that she works in a fairly non-bureaucratic environment that allows her to work independently on innovative new product ideas. She went on to say, someone who has just graduated would really gain invaluable experience working at a smaller company like Furlani’s. It is very hands on and grads would be exposed to many aspects of the business, not just one area of expertise.
I have worked for both very large and small companies over my career in the food industry. Although larger companies can be more structured I find that this can sometimes hold back ideation. I have found that in smaller companies I have more freedom to do what I am most passionate about, product innovation.
In a smaller company you are sometimes developing new products “by the seat of your pants”! I find that I have always gained more personal satisfaction in what I do working for a smaller less bureaucratic company”.
When Ann started in the food industry she worked for a large company. Although she gained a lot of valuable experience she found that she was becoming too specialized.
When I left that company I worked for a much smaller business and found that I gained a wealth of experience in many areas of expertise.
Ann’s advice for those just starting out is to seek out a smaller growing business that would offer freedom to do what you are most passionate about–this provides the platform to make a real contribution as part of a whole team, not just a department.
Benefits of Hiring Grads
A new grad would bring a fresh perspective, sometimes when you have been doing something for many years you take things for granted and can’t “See the wood for the trees”. In smaller companies the R&D departments are very small and you don’t always have internal resources to tap into. Enthusiastic, tech savvy millennials can offer new ways to face an old problem.
The salary an entry level person can expect versus an experienced professional in any size organization differs too. New grads are paid lower wages which for start-ups and smaller companies is often the only way they can grow the team/company. As experience and skill sets increase, so do salaries.
Employers always need to be hiring, training and developing the next generation of their work force. Especially in a Food organization where there is a great deal of specialized experience and expertise. If not passed along will walk out the door, heading to the competition or into retirement heaven! Check out more great reasons to Hire Grads from Work It Daily.
Do you have any comments about small versus large employers for new graduates? If you are interested in hiring grads email me, we are happy to help.
More about Furlani’s….
The culture at Furlani’s is great! It is a family operated business and they are willing to go to any lengths and expense to launch new products to grow the business. They invest in their people and the environment they work in. They have been voted as one of the “Best Employers in the GTA” – Ann McDonald
*Source: Canadian Business Patterns, Dec. 2012-2013.
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