Why Graduates Should Kick Off Their Career In A Young Company

19 May 2017 | Kathy Marshall | About a 4 minute read
Tags: andi, ANDis, bootcamp, graduate, Startup, tech, tech start up, Times 100 Best Small Companies, young company

It’s been four months since I made the move from little New Zealand to the buzzing, fast paced metropolis of London! And after loving my past four months at AND Digital, I have been thinking about graduate career paths and why I would recommend working for a young company or “unicorn” (a high value technology-centric startup).


Only recently has there been a shift away from graduate ambitions being centred around the “big four” or banks or top law firms, and yet they still seem to epitomise what is considered ‘success’ in a post-graduate role. I think we need to see more of this shift away, and share the value that working for a young company  offers to a graduate looking to enter the workforce.


The number of new startups in the UK increased by 4.6% in 2015, and 2016 demonstrating further growth with over 600,000 newly registered businesses. The UK also hosts 14 “unicorns” that are valued at over 32 billion pounds, and more specifically, London is acknowledged as the best support base for digital entrepreneurs. On top of the excitement and buzz connected to the ever growing presence of these young companies, there are many more reasons why graduates should look into joining one post-university.


Young companies tend to align with millennial expectations of work:

For instance, 15% of students plan to start their own business after graduating based on being able to be in control of their own ideas and time. This drive, ambition and confidence is unable to be satisfied in larger, more established  firms due to red-tape, hierarchy, bureaucracy and set roles and progression systems; all in which are disrupted by startups and young companies who break these norms.


Young companies want graduates:

Millennials offer employers an abundance of sought after traits due to their digitally-savvy and driven nature. Millennials also are less riddled in out-dated, traditional work practices and are more open to new ways of working.


Young companies give their people  a voice:

University students are accustomed to an environment of creativity where ideas are valued; an environment which is uncommon in larger firms without having tenure or rank. Young companies rely on their employees’ innovation, ideas and initiative to grow and maintain pace. This is often fostered by a flat structure, allowing open lines of communication and also, due to the smaller number of employees, means there is less of a chance for employees voices to be drowned out and more of a need for them to speak up!


Young companies have ways of working that allow employees to be empowered:

Similar to having a voice, there is a strong presence of easier decision making without the formality of it being passed through line managers up to the top tier of the company, only for the decision to be altered and trickle back down the line again with potential miscommunications and errors.


Young companies allow employees to have ownership of their work:

By this I mean that your role is not defined and a direct match to the last person hired into the same position, it comes with flexibility and opportunity. A massive part of this is the rise in learning and development investment; something AND Digital takes very seriously and has been awarded for accordingly. This can also again be attributed to the absence of hierarchy and like in other larger firms, it’s use to dictating progression and direction. Not only this, but to retouch on the point earlier about startups hiring graduates, means the inevitable outcome of responsibility and getting to take on projects with a real say in how it is done, a role in doing it and being recognised for doing so.


Finally, all of these mentioned factors stimulate a remarkable culture fuelled by passionate, driven and able staff who work hard AND play hard – a common desire for graduates entering the workforce.


Based on these present aspects of my job, I urge any future graduates to move away from thinking about joining larger, more well known firms and to look to joining young company, startup or “unicorn” due to the large value they can offer.


I am extremely happy with my choice of deciding that the digital industry was where I saw the most growth and possibilities for the company and myself – a vision which has not been failed since joining AND Digital!

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