Start-Up vs Corporate – Where Do You Fit?

When it comes to choosing a job after graduation, there’s a well-known battle between two popular avenues – startup or corporate.

While you’re probably aware of the basic pros and cons of each, how do you know which one to go for? Here are a few insights into what each type of business can offer, to help you make the decision…


When it comes to your monthly wage, it’s more common for bigger, corporate companies to offer higher monetary temptations. It’s obvious – the bigger the company, the more money they have to negotiate with, so you’re more likely to land a better base salary in the corporate world.

Startups, however, have to have tighter purse-strings – after all, everything they pay out has to have a return for the business to succeed. If you do your research and bring the right experience to the table, some startups can match corporate salary offers if they think you’re worth it!


The most popular thing about startups is the abundance of perks you seem to get. Where they are often beaten on the salary front, they make up for TWO FOLD with their perks!

Pensions, insurance, and childcare vouchers may be the likely benefits in the corporate world, but free food, dog-friendly offices, free gym memberships, travel costs covered and training will be on offer at most startups.

You need to weigh up what’s most important and balance your benefits options with your salary to decide what’s best for you.


Corporate companies are great if you work well in a structured, routine environment. 9-5 working hours, set holiday days, and the same commute each morning is common among corporates.

Startups, however, offer A LOT more flexibility. Your working hours aren’t usually set between a certain window, and the option to work from home is more accepted.

Whether you’re an early bird or a night owl, you can choose when you will be most productive. Hard work is measured by results, not bums-on-seats.

Startups usually have a much more laid back approach when it comes to things like appointments, too, allowing you to make time for important life-admin when it’s needed.


In a corporate environment, there’s usually a set hierarchy for your progression. You start at the bottom rung of the ladder, and work your way up from entry-level, to executive, to manager, and beyond.

At the start of your career, you don’t have a great deal of influence when it comes to decisions and final say, but the harder your work and the more you learn, the more influence you gain.

Startups, on the other hand, are known for their open-minded approach to everyone’s ideas, no matter how experienced they are. Because they have a smaller team to call upon, creativity is rewarded and acknowledged by beginners to CEOs.


These are just a few of the pros and cons of each type of company, but if you speak to anyone who’s worked on both sides, they could list a dozen more. My advice? Do your research. Check out the company website, their social media feeds, the social dynamic… you’ll soon get a feel for where you’ll be happiest!

Rachel Cleverley writes for Inspiring Interns, a recruitment agency specialising in all the internships and graduate jobs London has to offer.