Why SMEs are becoming today’s employers of choice

By truly understanding employee needs and goals, it is no wonder SMEs are winning the talent attraction and retention battle – when it comes to employers of choice, company size really does matter.

Across digital marketing and sales recruitment we have observed a major shift in both junior and senior candidates’ preference for SMEs as employers of choice. Gone are the days when workers preferred large companies with the all the resources, money and time to spoil them, and they turn to disruptor and challenger SMEs with flexible cultures. Whether the employees are junior or senior, most high-quality candidates want to join a business with positive momentum, an inspiring vision for the future, and somewhere they can practice their craft free of political shenanigans.

This is great news for SMEs. When most candidates come to see us to discuss the next stage of their career, they have a negative view of the large corporate environment. High-quality senior talent, in particular, often say they have “seen it all before and don’t want it again.” Their view is: why maintain the status quo when you can drive actual change? These people want to make an impact, use their diverse skill sets in broader roles, get things done and not get caught up in politics and continuous reorganisations. The young, smart and energetic millennials want a challenge where there is a fast-track career progression by working closer with senior people, an entrepreneurial and collaborative culture and all the added benefits of state-of-the-art workspaces and flexible working.

With all these in mind, it is no wonder SMEs are winning the talent attraction and retention battle. When it comes to employers of choice, company size really does matter.

Why the corporates are missing out

Here we are listing five reasons why the big corporates have lost their appeal:

  • Focus on cost cutting – Goodbye training and development, and an increase in politicking as everyone watches their backs.
  • Lack of momentum and poor culture – It can feel like they’re stuck in a different era with the bureaucracy and endless meetings.
  • Little growth opportunities – It can be hard to get a promotion if you are competing with many colleagues.
  • Constant change (in a negative sense) – They restructured last year, and the year before.
  • Direct recruitment model – In-house recruitment teams have often lead to them missing out on high-calibre people as CVs “get lost in the system” and the hiring process is very slow and drawn out.

Hello fun, flexible, forward-thinking SMEs

Here are some reasons how today’s SMEs are recruiting the best and the brightest junior and senior talent, and what others can learn from to fulfil employee goals:

  • Prioritisation of growth and career progression 23 They reward talent and performance with opportunity.
  • Disruptor-style structure – Yes, they’re tech savvy, agile, innovative and have flexible working conditions.
  • Entrepreneurial environment – They encourage entrepreneurial thinking and experimentation with no fear of failure and very little politics.
  • Better work-life balance – With flexible working hours and job share roles if needed, all hail career flexibility as a priority.
  • Fast and seamless hiring process – They often use an external recruiter to source key talent due to their experience and breadth of search, and they keep the hiring process simple with a keen focus on culture fit.

Mark O’Connor, Co-Founder, Perceptor

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