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Working at a Start-up vs. a Big Company

Working at a Start-up vs. a Big Company
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The debate between fans of Startup Vs Established business models is heating up. Each side is furiously defending and highlighting their glittering side to attract new talent. We thought of presenting an unbiased and logical analysis of their working style to present a clearer picture. So here are a few differences for you to understand and consider while making career decisions before joining either:

The Risk factor

Start-ups these days have a higher failure rate. Most of them are not funded to last even 6-12 months without generating income. The business idea they intend to market is usually something very new and untested. So overall low chances of survival or success in comparison of Startup vs Established, are considered for Startups . Accordingly, Job security and other benefits are considered more secure in an established business.    

Startup vs Established : The Special & The General

Start-ups being a small and tightly knit group of people, favour those who can do a little of everything. So at a Startup you could be performing roles and taking care of responsibilities outside your area of expertise. In contrast, big companies have strict work structures of Roles and Responsibilities. And their employees focus to perform and excel or even learn new skills only in their area of expertise. This difference is quite prominent and a noting factor in Startup vs Established debate.

Promotions and Growth

It is not uncommon to wait for many years before you are eligible for a promotion in an MNC. And even then, you face tough competition from other talented contenders in your organization for every position. Many MNCs require that you go through certain number of trainings and certifications before applying. Start-ups have a small core group that generally advances very fast in the organization as it grows. Also, there’s little competition due small size. The work style and the business model of Start-ups, fast exposes their employees to the experiences of business realities and problems. So they mature and adapt into leadership roles fairly quickly.    


Big companies spend a lot of money to communicate and engage with their employees. But the information they share is quite compartmentalized. On a general level, the employees will get to know what the general Public should know. On a personal basis, the corporate employee gets to know only that much what’s needed to do their job and their personal compensation and benefit details. As opposed to that, Start-ups being a small group of people don’t make it a culture to hide a lot. It’s also not possible because their every employee is into multiple roles and responsibilities. The employees in a Startup have a clearer picture of what’s happening in their company, be it successes, failures or upcoming or current projects, as compared to MNC employees.

Cultural differences

There are vast differences between daily working styles of MNC and Startup workers. You work 9 hour shifts, get fixed off and holidays, assured benefits like insurance in an MNC. You’ll miss these in a typical Start-up. Working hours and off may be quite erratic due to shortage of staff and talent and demands of a new business. Similarly, compensation and benefits are also constrained as the business takes time before it can generate revenue.     

Decisions that matter

In an MNC, employees make decisions mostly related to their individual job streams and projects. Also, their decisions flow through a huge hierarchy that sits on top of them. A Start-up however, trusts the employees to make decisions impacting the business on a broad and deep scale. Take for instance, during Hiring in an MNC, many departments and employees are involved, governed by many rules and regulations. No one in particular even the higher ups in their chain of command can set aside all of this structure to hire someone. But this is quite possible in a Start-up. Firstly, they have a small and flexible structure. Secondly, they greatly value the opinions and often make hiring decisions solely based on their employee referrals.

Pay grade

It is a hugely uneven playing field when it comes to Startup vs Established. MNC’s have a general reputation to offer less salary however, this may not be true for all MNC’s or even all Job Positions and Job Roles. Similarly, Start-ups were earlier known to offer huge salary and other perks to attract talent. But nowadays, offer generally less when compared to MNC. Now again, this may not apply to all Start-ups and for every Job Position or Role they are hiring for. Needless to say, market conditions like recession or growth, availability of talent and government regulations hugely decide what compensation and benefits can be offered by either MNC’s or Start-ups.

Office Politics

There’s no need to actually define the term “office politics” and the negative impressions it projects. Start-ups at least in their early years are quite immune from it. Start-up workers have a collaboration, multitasking and “we’re a family” attitude towards everything. They try to resolve conflicts, rather than getting involved in struggles of power and prestige. In contrast, turf wars and power struggles between employees and departments is quite common in big corporations.

So we hope this helps you analyse what you’ll be getting into, once you decide to jump in the Startup vs Established career choices.

Comments( 3 )

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  • ritesh 541 day ago

    Nice Article

  • Shashank 489 day ago


  • Koushikmaji 371 day ago

    The aritcal is good

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