4 considerations to make when choosing to work for a startup or a corporate

Are you suited to a startup or a corporate? Photo: Oli Scarff/ Getty.

If you’re currently between jobs, or are looking for a new one, choosing the right company and work culture can play a big part in deciding what is right for you.

Large corporate companies and newer startups offer difference experiences, and more importantly varying challenges and perks.

So how do you decide?

Business Insider asked Jo Sabin, the head of community at DesignCrowd.com.au, for her thoughts.

“Working for a startup is very different to pursuing your career in the corporate world and the differences extend far beyond the size of the business or its budget,” Sabin said.

Here are the four areas she says to consider when looking for a new job, and a new working environment.


Startups are all about taking advantage of opportunities before anyone else does, which means everything from decision making through to product development happens fast. Big corporations, on the other hand, take a more measured approach to everything in order to minimise risk, which means changes happen slowly.

If you are the type of person who thrives in a fast paced, high pressure environment working for a startup can be a great chance to show what you are capable of, but if you prefer a more stable situation the corporate world may be more your speed.


Many are attracted to startup culture by tales of those who have gone from rags to riches overnight, but the truth of the matter is that 3 out of every 4 startups fail.

In fact, the whole point of startups is trying something new and taking a few risks, which obviously won’t always pan out for those on board. By comparison, large corporates are risk-averse by nature and tend to take the safest possible route at all times, making them a far more stable option for long term employment.

However, it is worth keeping in mind that many corporates, take Kodak as an example, have folded in recent years due to their inability to change with the times.


When you enter the corporate role, you generally have a strict job description and know what to expect, making it easy to settle in and concentrate on your specialty. With startups, the opposite is true.

Startups are changing and adapting on a daily basis and require each staff member to be flexible and ready to handle any situation. While this constant change and flexibility can lead to all sorts of opportunities, if you have your heart set on a specialty you’d be better off in a corporate role that allows you to focus on it.

As startups grow they look for specialists BUT the specialists still need to be flexible and experimental.


While you can certainly get great satisfaction from working at both startups and corporates, the smaller size of startups can make your role a lot more gratifying. Not only will you be closer to the action, you will be more involved in decision making and make a bigger impact on the company. You’ll have more responsibility for those successes and failures.

This is certainly not the case in the corporate world where top-down structures mean individual workers are less likely to know what is going on, let alone be involved in making important decisions.

Regardless of what you do for a living, in order to thrive you need a working environment that suits your style and personality. Whether you join a corporate, a startup or offer your services on a freelance basis, for the sake of your health and happiness, make your choice carefully.

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