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Recruitment Industry News

Millennials want SMEs over big companies


47% of millennials think SMEs are the ideal business size to work for, more than double the 19% who believe larger companies are the ideal size.

Millennials want SMEs over big companies


"Millennials have captured the interest of academics and business leaders alike, but this is the first time we can definitively say that SMEs are their natural home and in fact, their preference. "
Iain McMath, CEO, Sodexo Engage



The new research from Sodexo Engage surveyed the working preferences of all generations and compared these with their perceptions and expectations of different business sizes.  

The data shows the benefits most valued by millennials and the perception of these in different business sizes:

Flexible working hours 
Benefits valued by millennials: 60%    
Benefits expected more in SMEs than in big: 43% 

Career progression   
Benefits valued by millennials: 56%    
Benefits expected more in SMEs than in big: 38%

High salary
Benefits valued by millennials: 51%    
Benefits expected more in SMEs than in big: 21%

Friendlier company culture
Benefits valued by millennials: 33%    
Benefits expected more in SMEs than in big: 79%

Ability to work remotely
Benefits valued by millennials: 32%    
Benefits expected more in SMEs than in big: 23%

Individualised attention e.g. training
Benefits valued by millennials: 32%    
Benefits expected more in SMEs than in big: 62%

Employer size preferences by generation are: 

16-24
Prefers SMEs: 48%    
Prefers big businesses: 12%

25-39
Prefers SMEs: 44%    
Prefers big businesses: 24%

40-54
Prefers SMEs: 43%    
Prefers big businesses: 18%

55+
Prefers SMEs: 45%    
Prefers big businesses: 12%

Iain McMath, CEO, Sodexo Engage, comments: 

“The future of our economy depends on SMEs and having a productive workforce. Millennials have captured the interest of academics and business leaders alike, but this is the first time we can definitively say that SMEs are their natural home and in fact, their preference. The results show that the demands of this generation match the expectations of what life in an SME is like. On the other hand, businesses face a reputational challenge to prove that those seeking a friendly company culture and ability to lead a more flexible lifestyle can do so in corporate giants.” 

However, the research also showed that millennials are more likely to jump the SME ship after four years of service, whilst commitment to employers of bigger sizes stretches beyond the five year mark. 

McMath continues: “Although big businesses are having trouble attracting the best candidates, they’re more likely to keep them once through the door. SMEs must do more to increase loyalty amongst the workforce if they want to retain the best talent. It can often be harder for employees working for these smaller organisations to see a clear progression path after reaching senior positions, and the added benefits that come with larger employers can be a big draw. However, considering the diversity of today’s workforce, businesses of any size need to ensure that every individual always feels motivated and appreciated.”

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