Should I Join an MNC or SME?

Question: 
I am a fresh graduate who currently has multiple job offers from various companies. For my first job, which would I be better off joining: a Multinational corporation (MNC) or a Small and Medium Enterprise (SME)?

Answer:
Firstly, congratulations on your graduation! Now that you’ve achieved a major milestone in your life, it’s time to take the next big step – your first job.

As the corporate culture found in an MNC and SME is vastly different, choosing which to work at rests heavily on what your interests, priorities and long-term career goals are. Let’s take a look at some differing characteristics between an MNC and SME:

MNC
Prestige is the greatest weapon MNCs possess when it comes to attracting potential employees (such as yourself) to join them. In fact, you probably would have heard of these corporate giants back in your student days, and have quite a number of schoolmates who aspire to work there.

With a strong brand name and corporate image, MNCs also possess the resources and capital to offer their employees job stability and a sterling starting salary. And should you ever consider a career change in the future, you get the benefit of listing the MNC’s name on your resume.

MNCs usually boost multiple departments and a large pool of staff, complete with a standard set of operating procedures which have been tried and tested over the years. Everything is justified clearly, making your job scope narrower and more specialised.

However, a large company structure with strict hierarchy could translate into a greater occurrence of office politics, and you may find yourself at the mercy of employees who have the backing of powerful patrons within the company. To move up the corporate ladder, finding a good mentor and building strong interpersonal relationships may be unavoidable.

Furthermore, a lot of red tape may be involved in an MNC, which means that the company could be resistant to new perspectives. There might be less freedom for you to do things your way and this can be stifling, especially if you are an adventurous person who constantly seeks new opportunities to develop working methods and ideas.

SME
SMEs may be smaller in size as compared to MNCs, but this usually leads to a reduced emphasis on hierarchy, which can create an open work culture where you’re encouraged to interact frequently with the senior management, even if you’re a new hire. Better communication between you and your superiors can help you to get your work done and receive recognition for it.

The smaller workforce typically means that SMEs (supposedly) have lesser office politics, so you don’t have to constantly watch your back at work. Employees get to gain exposure to a diverse range of scopes through frequent job rotations. Generally, there is also greater freedom for you to explore your own working style, since there are fewer measures cast in stone.

Yet, this lack of standard procedures can leave many new staff feeling lost when they first start work. You will be expected to learn new things independently from the ground up and may often find yourself doing work which doesn’t fall within your job description.

The starting salary and benefits which an SME provides would also usually not be comparable to that of what a MNC can offer, so if you plan to make your first million by the age of 30 or plan a long vacation with your annual leave, you might have to reconsider your options.

Know what you really want
At the end of the day, do your research, speak to people and gather as much information as you can to aid you in making an informed decision.


Contributed by JobsCentral Pte Ltd