Choosing the right company

Don’t choose your employers solely on the brand names alone. Several factors will and should affect your final decision.

If you are currently looking for a job in Hong Kong, you might ask yourself “SME vs MNC, what’s the best career move?” Whether you’re a fresh grad or at a career crossroads, this question is a dilemma often faced by jobseekers. Indeed, there are pros and cons of working for a multinational company or working for a small company. Try answering the simple quiz below to figure out which work environment will be the best fit for you.

  • When solving a work problem, I prefer:
    a) Sticking to tried-and-tested methods.
    b) Trying out different methods to see if they are more efficient or effective.
  • The most important thing to me about a job is the:
    a) Salary and benefits I’ll receive.
    b) Training and experience I’ll get.
  • When it comes to interaction with the bosses, I prefer:
    a) As little face-time as possible.
    b) Working closely as a team.

If you answered mostly A’s, you’re probably better suited to work in an MNC. Here’s why:

Working for a multinational company in Hong Kong affords you the prestige of working for a renowned brand, and this typically translates to attractive remuneration and cushy job perks. Your job scope also tends to be highly specialised, which means you’re trained to be the master of your trade. However, this is not to say that you won’t be able to diversify your skill-set. You can request for a transfer within the company, but this may be a comparably longer-drawn process compared to smaller organisations where there is less bureaucracy.

Another point to note about working in large companies is that it can make you feel pretty insular. It’s like living in the city versus the suburbs. In the former, it’s impossible to get to know everybody, which could also bleed into you feeling a little insignificant. Of course, you can always remedy this by initiating inter-department collaborations or participating in company-wide activities, such as corporate sports leagues or community work.

The biggest gripe most people have about working for MNCs tend to be the red tape, but the truth is, highly motivated workers won’t let that stand in their way. Go-getters do not sit around waiting for senior management to plan their career path for them; they know what they want and have a game plan on how to achieve it. So, if you play your cards right, the wealth of resources available to you at an MNC may be just what you need to achieve your career goals more swiftly.

If you answered mostly B’s, you’re probably better suited to work in an SME. Here’s why:

In this age of start-ups in Hong Kong, the corporate landscape is quickly shifting, with more and more jobseekers drawn to the appeal of working for a smaller company. Firstly, working for small companies tends to be more nimble in terms of corporate culture. There is less rigidity when it comes to rules and Standard Operating Procedures (SOP), which means more room to exercise creativity and innovation.

Secondly, small businesses tend to cultivate a more cohesive work environment, one where employees have to be in regular collaboration with colleagues from other departments. Also, because job scopes may not be as defined in SMEs, you get to try your hand at many different roles, which beefs up different skill sets. For example, you may be working in the marketing department of a small tech start-up, but in the months leading up to a product launch, you could be dabbling with everything from research to design and maybe even simple coding.

And lastly, career growth tends to be faster in smaller-scale businesses. In large corporations, there’s typically more competition within the same rank to contend with whereas in smaller companies, your competency is quickly and more easily recognised.

When deciding which company to work for, it’s always important to take into consideration the following: Your preferred working style, your career objectives, and the stage of life you’re at. After all, your preferences may vary at different stages of your career so it’s always important to seek out the organisation that best matches those needs.

Take a look at our find a job hub for more job search tips and advice.