Now that graduation is over, many of you are no doubt thinking of your next steps into the workplace. While the structured graduate schemes of the big well-known companies can be a great option, you should also consider the opportunities available at small and medium-sized organisations, known as SMEs. According to Prospects, more than a third of students and graduates are looking to start work in SMEs, and while many won’t run graduate schemes, they will have graduate positions available.
What can an SME offer?
- Although SMEs by definition employ fewer than 250 staff members, they make up a massive 99.9% of all enterprises in the UK- making them a great place to find graduate opportunities.
- Their selection processes tend to focus less on grades and more on the skills and work experience of their candidates.
- Their selection processes are often simpler and less time consuming than larger corporations and vacancies become available throughout the year, compared to the set dates of recruitment schemes.
- You are more likely to be a part of a wide range of projects- making your job more flexible as well as giving you an opportunity to build different skills.
- Opportunities for you to take on more responsibility and advance can often become available earlier on.
- In a smaller team, you will have more direct personal contact with senior management.
How to locate opportunities at SMEs
- Unlike large organisations, SMEs often advertise in local, regional or specialist publications. Many employers also use recruitment agencies or their own industry’s professional body.
- Approximately a third of SMEs rely on speculative applications from individuals who have researched the company and expressed their interest in working with them in spite of there being no advertised vacancy. Proactively seeking an employer can lead to a job.
For more information about SMEs and advice on identifying relevant employers and vacancies, visit the Careers & Enterprise Centre in the Queens’ Building, WG3.