300,000 people graduate from UK universities each year. However, only a few of them end up working for a small firm. However times are changing. There’s still a strong attraction to large corporates, but graduates are always looking at other options.

In 2015, the number of graduates that started their own business grew by 34% to 4,603 and about a third of graduates went on to work for a small and medium-sized enterprise.

Small vs Large

Large businesses are known for being well organised with recruitment. With their various stages, tests, seasonal recruitment, graduate training programmes, etc. large organisations have it covered. However, smaller firms can also provide great opportunities for graduates.

The advantages that a small business have been that students can get to know the business inside out from working in different areas. From the start, it gives them the opportunity to increase their skills in the industry they are passionate about. This is very different from being one of 50 graduates recruited onto a set programme tied to specific areas of a large business.

Cost and training

A lot of smaller businesses are pushed away from the idea because of the expectation of costs.  Businesses generally think that that graduates are going to want higher wages and much more training. Students may need training at first, but they are likely to pick things up quickly, be keen to succeed and want more responsibility.

Most graduates will have already gained experience from workplace internships and work during holidays and weekends. This will have given them a more professional approach to work. Many don’t expect the same salaries and perks that some large employers offer – instead they’re focused on the other benefits working for a small business can bring like experience.

Business benefits

Universities spend a lot of time ensuring that graduates are employable. Leaving their academic knowledge aside, what do they bring to the table? The academic programme teaches students to research, manage their time and think critically. It develops their analytical skills to enable them to think about issues and the consequences of actions.

University careers services offer a range of initiatives to develop students’ transferable skills, which boasts commercial awareness, communication skills, teamwork and other things. The result is highly capable and confident people who can take on responsibility and quickly develop their skills.

Graduates can bring a fresh perspective, which can help you to identify where your business can improve and maybe even tap into new opportunities. Graduates are usually highly driven and focused, they want to prove their worth. Their enthusiasm can be infectious – it can lift the rest of your team.