December 5, 2013, by Jemma Utley

Why You Should Consider Making a Big Impact in a Small Company

By, Chris Colegate, Global Labour Market Executive – UK

Graduate schemes in large national and international companies aren’t the only route into your dream job or indeed what you want to do. Small to medium enterprises (SMEs) recruit graduates into an existing role, or to work on a specific project. SMEs employ less than 249 people with an annual turnover of under £50M.

Like 95% of the business in the UK, Lotus F1 are considered to be a SME. Companies like Lotus F1 are fast growing, innovative and can offer you rapid career progression. They:

  • employ over 60% of the workforce
  • account for almost half of GDP
  • employ over 75% of graduates each year

What our graduates think

Four recent graduates of the University, now working for local SMEs, give their views on why smaller companies appeal to them.

HD Decisions (financial services)

“You’re likely to be handed responsibility from day one – working with multiple clients and contributing to business growth. An individual’s impact is more discernible in a small organisation, therefore there’s great potential to fast-track your career.”

ICN (digital media)

“I have found that friends that have gone down the graduate scheme route with larger companies do not get the chance to take on immediate responsibility. From this, they miss out on learning hands on and taking ownership for certain projects. ICN is a growing business with potential for moving forward and progression.”

Instantview (IT company)

“Working in a small team has provided me with a voice. This has been the perfect opportunity for me to speak up and make a significant contribution to the company.”

Adamson Jones in Biocity (patent, design and trademark attorneys)

“Working for a smaller organisation gives the chance to forge strong working relationships with each of your colleagues, and lets you get involved in a wide range of business activities”.

A word from the CEOs

Mark Habgood, CEO at Instantview suggests that “The experience of picking up many different skills, in a dynamic environment, across a business early in your career may help stimulate your entrepreneurial side and equip you well for the ever-changing jobs market.”

Mark’s views are echoed by Geoff Baker, CEO ICN based in Nottingham’s emerging Creative Quarter. Geoff goes on to say “What is great about graduates joining a smaller company is that if they have a good idea at 11am they can be implementing it by 11.01.  Small companies are dynamic, creative, and as early as the following day you can see whether your idea has worked.  That’s pretty exhilarating”.


If phrases like ‘responsibility from day one’, ‘taking ownership’ and ‘contributing to business growth’ strike a chord with you then perhaps a small business could be just the right fit.  You could be the next person implementing a great idea only minutes after it has popped in to your head.

Start your research

  • Come and speak to your Careers team – they have expert knowledge of the local market and will help you with speculative applications
  • Look out for vacancies with small companies on My Career
  • Keep checking on Unitemps – they recruit for local businesses
  • For further background info on local SME’s you might like to check listings on the DNCC
  • Make the most of careers fairs

All positions with these companies will be advertised on My Career, along with hundreds of other vacancies with small, high growth companies across the UK. 

Posted in Applying For Jobs