For U.S. workers, small is beautiful

Sep 18 2006 by Brian Amble Print This Article

You might make more money working for a large company, but if you want something resembling a personal life, don't want to be unhappy on the job and like to be treated fairly, you'd be much better off with a smaller employer.

If all you care about is money, it's large companies that deliver the goods, according to the 12th Annual "Attitudes in the American Workplace" Poll carried out for Connecticut-based employee communications specialists, The Marlin Company,

But in most other respects, small companies come up smelling of roses.

The survey found that fewer than one in three (28 per cent) of US workers at large companies (those with more than 1000 employees) are strongly satisfied with their jobs compared with four out of 10 (41 per cent) of their counterparts in companies with fewer than 100 staff.

As far as annual income is concerned, however, employees at larger companies can often be significantly better off. While 17 per cent of employees at large companies reported an annual personal income before taxes of $100,000 or more, only five per cent of workers at small companies reported earning that much.

But this extra cash comes with strings attached. Staff at large companies are more likely to feel that they are being treated unfairly. Indeed, only four out of 10 of those in big corporations strongly disagreed that they are treated unfairly compared with more than half (55 per cent) of those in small firms.

The survey also reveals that smaller companies are less likely to make unreasonable demands on personal life. While almost half (46 per cent) of big company employees complained that work often interfered with their personal and family life, the same was true for only one in three working for small companies.

To make matters worse, corporate drones enduring long hours in their cubicles don't even have the compensation of good social support networks. In fact, almost a quarter (22 per cent) of those in smaller firms said that the majority of their social support network is at work, more than twice as many as those in big companies (nine per cent).

"While it is tempting to take a job offer from a large company which often can pay a higher salary and provide more resources than a smaller company," working for the little guy also has its plusses," said Frank Kenna III, president of The Marlin Company.

"Smaller companies often give employees more responsibility from the start, are less politicized and less bureaucratic."