New research from Santander UK has found that young people leaving education and looking for work may be missing out on potential employment opportunities by failing to consider working for SMEs.
Only a third of generation Z and millennials leaving school, college or university said they want to work for an SME. An even smaller proportion, just one in six (18%), wanted to work for a startup or micro business.
Meanwhile, the most popular career options for generation Z and millennials are to work for a large firm (51%), the public sector (51%) or a global multinational (49%).
Aspirations for those leaving full time education
|Aspiration for after education||Percentage who aspire to this after leaving full time education|
|Work for a large firm||51%|
|Work in the public sector||51%|
|Work for a global multinational company||49%|
|Continue my education||45%|
|Set up my own business||40%|
|Be self employed||36%|
|Work for a small to medium sized business (SME)||35%|
|Work for a charity||29%|
|Work for the family business||23%|
|Work in the gig economy||22%|
|Work for a startup/micro business||18%|
By ignoring smaller businesses, young people may miss out on a vast number of opportunities, as over 99% of businesses are SMEs.
Commenting on this, Sue Douthwaite, managing director of Santander Business said: “SMEs are the backbone of the UK economy, making up the overwhelming majority of private sector businesses.
“While there are fantastic opportunities working for large companies or the public sector, anyone about to leave education should not discount the huge range of exciting career opportunities offered by the nation’s SMEs.
“SMEs offer huge opportunities for growth and many are at the forefront of British innovation and exports.”
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The primary factor why generation Z and millennials say they wouldn’t wish to work for an SME is due to a perceived lack of job security (56%).
Salary is also highly considered as many believe that SMEs off a lower salary than larger companies (46%) and fewer opportunities for progression than large companies (33%).
In regards to graduate recruitment it is still highly sought after by SMEs, with nearly a third (30%) of businesses having hired a graduate in the last 12 months and a similar number (32%) planning to do so in the next year.
Matt Hutnell, Director of Santander Universities UK, commented: “SMEs may not be as visible in education institutions as larger businesses or the public sector as they may not have the same level of resources or just historically haven’t worked as closely with schools and universities.
“An internship is a fantastic way to get to know a business so anyone who isn’t sure what they would like to do, or who is and would just like some experience, should consider speaking to the careers department at their school, college and university and finding out what opportunities there are.”
Reasons millennials and gen Z do not want to work for SMEs
|Lack of job security||56%|
|Lack of career path / progression||33%|
|Lack of funding||30%|
|Lack of training opportunities||28%|
|Not aware of the opportunities for working for a small company||19%|
|Lack of a clear business plan||18%|
|It would not look as good on my CV as a bigger organisation or well-known brand||17%|
|Lack of ability to work abroad||17%|
|Friends or family have had bad experiences||7%|
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