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Why the start-up experience is invaluable to graduates

For final year university students, the pressures of securing employment as soon as they graduate pushes the majority towards typical grad jobs in big firms. Often, these grad jobs are subject to fierce competition, and can be relatively restrictive and overly structured in terms of training. In pursuing a the prestige of working for a well-known company, opportunities for more dynamic roles in small companies are often missed.

Recently, however, there’s been a significant trend of graduates securing jobs at start-up companies, which are pitched as being more exciting, more collaborative, and offering graduates far greater opportunities to learn and progress. With record numbers of new start-ups year on year, there are plenty of opportunities out there. So what exactly is the appeal of start-ups, and why is the experience invaluable to graduates?

Start-ups offer graduates the chance to try their hands at a range of things

The dynamic, fluid nature of start-ups means that job roles are often equally as flexible. For students daunted by the 9-5 regime, this is a huge part of the appeal. Graduate recruiters who work to drive graduates into start-up roles often promote this to first time job seekers. The opportunity to take on a 360 degree role has been listed by London based Instant Impact as the first of five reasons to work at a start-up.

If, for example, you’re employed to coordinate a company's social media marketing, it’s very possible that the scope of your job role will quickly expand to cover other forms of marketing. You may find yourself experimenting with elements of printed content and web marketing; You might even make the leap across the office into design or development. 

Ultimately, this means that your experience working for a start-up will develop and broaden both your skillset, and your understanding of the industry you are entering.  

Start-ups invest in people

The old adage ‘hire for attitude, train for skills’ has become something of a mantra for start-ups, who give special consideration to how each candidate may contribute to the existing culture of the team. This is, in part, because start-ups tend to operate with far leaner teams and fewer employees, which makes the candidate’s ability to gel with the team a specific concern of employers. 

If you are successful, this means that you are likely to find yourself working alongside other young professionals from a vast range of cultures, experience and backgrounds, but who all share a common drive for the company to succeed. It can make the atmosphere feel a little less formal, but ultimately more cohesive. Everyone is respected as an individual, and for each bringing something a little different to the table.

Start-ups shun bureaucracy

Some organisations that employ a large number of graduates can treat entry-level staff as just another resource. This makes for a rather bureaucratic approach to staff management, with newly hired graduates feeling like anonymous cogs in a machine. Vamsi Varanasi, a graduate working with an electric scooter start-up explains that the key difference between established companies and those in their early stages are the levels of hierarchy with which they operate. "Most startups have a flat organization where even founders and senior management is approachable," she adds. 

This is important for graduates who are looking for a friendly and approachable company culture, one in which they feel as though they are valued by senior management. Working in a more intimate office environment, start-up directors and managers take a vested interest in each and every member of staff with whom they are in contact with every day. Working for a scaling start-up can also bring you to a position of leadership (as a manager or executive) in just a few years.

Start-ups offer great employee perks

Perhaps the biggest appeal of working for innovative, young start-ups are the perks employers offer their teams. Start-ups are known for their quirky perks culture, which can include everything from casual dress codes to dog-friendly offices and even free beer on tap. 

At the other end of the scale, perks of working for a start-up also include the ability to work from home, take longer periods of annual leave, and comprehensive corporate wellness culture. At Eventbrite, for example, employees are treated to regular in-office massages, chiropractic treatment, and acupuncture sessions. It’s important to remember, too, that as the opportunity for personal and company progression is larger, salaries are likely to increase alongside start-up growth.

This article is sponsored content.