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Mountain or Molehill

Sometimes small is better

While listening to a roomful of job seekers recently, we noticed something quite interesting. When asked to name their “target” companies, virtually all the responses noted large companies – large as in a minimum of 500-1,000 employees.

Small businesses employ more people than large corporations.

While there is nothing wrong with that – except for one thing. Most people don’t work for large companies. In fact, data shows that most Americans work for small businesses.

The SBE Council reports: “Among employer C corporations in 2015, according to the Census Bureau’s Statistics of U.S. Businesses, 84.9 percent had fewer than 20 employees, 96.4 percent fewer than 100, and 99.0 percent had less than 500 workers. If we add in nonemployer corporations, then those with fewer than 20 workers come in at 89.5 percent of all C corporations.”

Maybe if you’re struggling finding a job, it might be time to invoke the notable 1930s bank robber Willie Sutton. When asked why he robbed banks he replied, “Because that’s where the money is.”

If you’re looking for a job, maybe it’s because you’re not looking at the companies who do most of the hiring – that would be small businesses. Granted, it’s a lot easier to find large companies and to find out a lot about them: what they do, who works there, etc. Similarly, many small companies tend to fly under the radar.

What that means is that you might have to do a little more digging; reach out to few more contacts; do a lot more probing and studying and researching. But with the overly large proportion of people working for small businesses, it just might be worth it.

Of course this doesn’t mean that you should abandon pursuing larger companies, but if such a large number of workers are employed by small businesses, maybe that’s an area to look into a bit more diligently.

Our favorite analogy about job seeking is that you need to look under as many rocks as possible. Those rocks may include non-profits, temp-to-hire positions, large companies and, now, small businesses. Just one more rock to overturn.


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