There’s a lot of stereotypes surrounding start-ups. Like rollerblading through the hallway to your Thursday afternoon happy hour with your boss or asking for a day off on the day you want it off. If you’re a graduate or student confused by start-ups, we’ve got everything you need to know from start-up salaries, how a start-up differs from an established business and what you can expect from a start-up working environment.
Why choose a start-up over an established business?
Although you’ll initially earn more from an established business and you may have extensive benefits, there are some great reasons for why you should work at a start-up, especially as a graduate. The first is responsibility. A start-up is usually a small group of employees which means although you're hired for a specific role, you’ll likely be dipping into other areas of the business too - letting you learn more about the business as a whole and what functions it needs. At a start-up, your work is recognised because there are fewer employees to tend to, and each employee’s work can have a massive impact on the successes or failures of the business. Learn how to get into a start-up.
You’ll be given more opportunities at a start-up. Rather than incentives based on salary, it’s based on opportunities for you to grow and expand your skills. Working at a start-up offers time for self-growth, not just in the role you’re hired for but other areas too. Depending on how much spare cash your start-up has to spend on employee incentives, they may offer professional training that can help you progress or become more qualified in your field. Read should you work in a start-up? Here’s what you need to consider first.
Finally, because start-ups are small, you’ll work alongside the founder or creators of the product or service you sell. Unless you worked your way up the ranks or became a personal assistant, it’s unlikely you would have the same experience in an established or corporate environment. You can learn a lot from this as it will give you an insight into what it would be like to start your own business - they might pass their innovative nature onto you! Or, if you want to be your own boss from the get go, look at our Academy module on how to start your own business to make your business idea into a reality.
How much do established business and start-up salaries differ?
If you get hired by a start-up, you may quickly realise that money is tight. You might not earn as much as you, your skills or degree is worth compared to an established business. But, they pay what they can for the talent they’re desperate for. An entry-level start-up job earns between £20,000 to £27,000, depending on your role, how long the startup has been running, how many employees they have and the industry it’s in. Learn about the skills growing start-ups are looking for.
For graduates, start-ups don’t offer highly-paid graduate schemes or trainee programmes like the other top established or corporate businesses. But, it can be difficult to get promoted or noticed by your line manager at a large corporate firm. If you have the drive and determination to impress at a start-up, you might be promoted into a higher-paid position faster than at an established company. Just be prepared for mounds of responsibilities that don’t always come under your job description! Read why you should work for a start-up early in your career.
Is a start-up working environment different to a corporate one?
You might be thrown into the deep end from day one at a start-up. But, they’re all about positive work culture and creating a happy work environment where employees can thrive. Start-ups often promote a casual work environment, compared to a corporate business where everyone is suited and booted 9-5. They might let you come to work in your socks and sandals! Discover the leading graduate employers in Entrepreneurship and start-ups.
Start-ups rely on their employees to help them grow and innovate the business - this is why they use a stimulating work environment. This can mean free pizzas on Friday lunchtime, comfy office spaces, shorter working weeks, flexible at-home working and a Thursday happy hour with the team. This casual and stimulating work environment encourages bonding between the team and can lead to a more tight-knit group who all share the same vision of success for the business.
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