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Start-up VS Corporate

Is it Better to Work for a Start-up or Corporate?

“In a world full of big slow lions, be an agile cheetah that conquers the Savannah.”

Nearly 80 per cent of start-ups are likely to ramp up hiring in 2023, a joint survey by FICCI and Randstad India has quoted. So are you wondering if you should join an agile start-up or a larger corporate?

Look no further as we do a deep dive into what is better for your long-term career success.

Flexible Hiring Policy for People from Various Backgrounds:
Kunal Shah of Freecharge has a Bachelor’s degree in Philosophy, Ritesh Agarwal of Oyo gave up the IIT dream at Kota & Bhavin Turakhia of Directi has a degree in Commerce. What matters to start-ups is not your degree but your determination to succeed.

Start-ups are constantly shifting gears, trying new things, and pivoting as they grow and adapt to the changing needs of consumers & markets. So if you are someone who can quickly learn, unlearn and relearn – without being stuck in old habits, you are a valuable asset to all start-ups.

Corporates on the other hand hire a certain type of person – with a certain degree, from a certain college, or working in a similar corporate. They may have more experience but are not flexible enough, are not that open to update their knowledge and have a fixed way of working.

Making a Difference with Scope of Work:
Are you looking to go beyond your job description? If you want a role that spans technology, operations, marketing, finance and community verticals of the business then a start-up is the best place for you. They have several roles like product managers that require you to know all these and more to ensure success. And what’s more you will probably be reporting directly to the founders or senior management.

In Corporates, departments generally work in silos, and there are no opportunities for you to move between departments or manage multiple departments. In addition, there is greater resistance to change, with an assembly line mentality, so people mostly keep doing the same thing on a daily basis without any scope for a change in profile.

Employee Stock Option Plans (ESOPs):

Employees are given a share or ownership in the start-up at no cost as an additional benefit, beyond the salary. All start-ups allocate ESOP to their employees, which can be encashed after a specific period. The higher the value of the share the greater the amount that the employee will receive.

As an employee with stock options at a start-up, you have a direct stake in the success of the business. This is a strong non-monetary incentive that ensures that your growth path is directly aligned with that of the company. Indian start-up Employees have made over $196 mn through ESOP Buybacks In 2022.

Corporates on the other hand offer you a fixed compensation which does not vary with the annual turnover of the company.

Leadership Opportunities:
Start-ups grow at a phenomenal rate, and are on the leading edge of business as they bring new ideas, new methods of execution and new customers into new markets. To make this happen the start-up culture prioritizes results and outcomes over bureaucracy and hierarchy. So the start-up founders are always looking for people who have the ability to take on leadership roles.

You will have plenty of opportunities to work closely with senior leaders and gain exposure to all aspects of the business. This is also the perfect opportunity for you to hone your leadership skills, and in future, you could also look to create a start-up of your own. In fact, many start-up founders were leaders in other start-ups before they launched their own venture.

It is no wonder that 74% of senior executives prefer to work in a start-up instead of a corporate according to

New and Exciting Businesses:
Think of all the exciting businesses that you have heard of over the last few years. All of them have been created by start-ups – whether in Transportation (Ola, Uber), Food (Swiggy, Zomato), Education (Unacademy, Byjus), E-commerce (Flipkart, Nykaa) or any other aspect of our daily lives. And this list keeps expanding every year.

As technology advances, there will be much more transformation in our daily lives – from FinTech, Blockchain, IOT & AI. Start – ups will find innovative ways to reach new customers and markets and they will be the driving force behind our progress.

Corporates however are finding that their revenues & markets are plateauing and so many times they themselves also try to buy start-ups to ensure that they stay relevant in this fast-changing world.

So if you are inspired by all the start-up success stories in the newspapers, don’t keep waiting. Take the opportunity when it comes, because the earlier you get started, the better. As Elon Musk says “I could either watch it happen, or be a part of it”.

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