Why work for an SME?
What is an SME?
If you’ve been looking into the business and financial world, you’ll almost certainly have come across the acronym "SME". SME stands for "Small and Medium Enterprises", and this is defined differently across the world. In the UK, to be classified as an SME, a business must fulfil two of the following three criteria:
1) It has less than 250 employees.
2) It has a turnover of less than £25 million.
3) It has gross assets of less than £12.5 million.
It has been estimated that over 99% of all UK private sector firms are classified as SMEs, so there’s plenty of options for you if you decide this is the route for you!
What's appealing about working at an SME?
While the big graduate recruiters are the more obvious route—with their prestige, training facilities and big salaries—SMEs offer a more relaxed and personal, alternative to the big hitters. Here, your training will generally be better tailored to your needs, and you’ll start making the decisions that actually mean something to a business a whole lot sooner.
SMEs have smaller teams and a more transparent structure between management and employees, giving you earlier opportunities to start handling real opportunities. Although the salaries aren’t as impressive as they are for those on graduate schemes, the experience is second-to-none and can be either a stepping stone to a larger corporation (if that’s your aim) or a fast-track route to a more senior financial position within the SME market.
So if you’re comfortable with independent work, are happy to be flexible with what you’re working with, and looking for real-world experience rather than just prestige and a top-rate salary, SMEs could be the making of your career!