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IT Professionals: Should You Only Be Targeting Startups?

Recently, General Electric aired a humorous new commercial that shows how the 139 year-old, multinational conglomerate corporation is keeping up with the times. The commercial, which features a young coding professional trying to explain his new job to his old school parents, closes out with “The digital company. That’s also an industrial company.” Though the commercial is very funny, it’s worth a watch for more than its comic value; in fact, it’s a great representation of the general attitude toward old, large companies today in the IT industry–and how that attitude itself is quickly becoming outdated.

It makes sense that, in an industry that’s constantly changing and evolving, smaller companies and startups have become the target employers for young IT professionals. Many who are just starting out in their career are looking for a company they can grow with and that easily adapts to new technological advances, rather than one that stagnates and resists change. But according to Lisa Samson, a Director at ES Technology, a division of The Execu|Search Group, many old and/or large companies are no longer fitting that latter profile.

“While there are many benefits to working in a startup environment, including great work-life balance, vibrant company culture, and access to cutting edge technology, these are no longer exclusive to startups,” says Lisa. “Many larger companies are now taking note of what younger candidates are looking for—especially now that baby boomers are retiring and need to be replaced—and plenty are realizing that job seekers’ priorities have shifted over recent years.”

This means that companies like GE, which may seem ancient to younger job seekers, are now offering great benefits like better work-life balance through flexible scheduling, better growth opportunities, and more autonomy on the job. What’s more, bigger companies are recognizing the need for up-to-date technology not only to appease candidates, but to run business more effectively; 45% of our non-startup clients have said that they have migrations, upgrades, and new projects on the horizon for 2015-2018 and are innovating and trailblazing into new ventures.

These companies are also looking for potential employees with an entrepreneurial spirit, which many don’t expect of them. “We find that many candidates who are interested in working for a startup are generally looking for entrepreneurial opportunities and independence,” says Lisa. “Staying open to all kinds of employers can still lead to those opportunities, as larger companies are now offering more creative space and are encouraging innovation and creativity more than ever. In fact, in 2015, 88% of our non-startup clients have asked for an ‘entrepreneurial candidate’ that has the ‘startup’ mentality.”

If you’re new to the job market, it’s also important to remember that Fortune 500 companies and global organizations are great resume builders. Startups can be risky, so even if your dream is to eventually take a startup from meager beginnings to global status, you may be best off starting your career with an easily recognizable name that carries a lot of weight. Name recognition, especially for junior candidates, can be a great career booster.

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