Potential is everywhere. Find one and grow with it whether it’s a SME or a MNC.

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It was reported in many medias today (16th May 2018) that the government is reviewing 17,000 contractual political appointees so as to reduce government expenditure. Here’s one in TheStar.  Here’s another one in Mkini. What this also mean would be that the job market may have up to 17,000 new job seekers needing a job because they have lost theirs. I think an obvious employer of choice may be SMEs because in my previous role with a prominent job portal in Malaysia, SMEs always tell me that it’s hard to hire people because the good ones prefer higher pay and thus more willing to join multinationals (MNCs). In my 20 years of working experience, I have worked with a multinational (MNC) which is very well established, to the point that even sales people are no longer paid commissions but only basic salaries! Oh yeah, my travelling allowance was calculated in US$ then (1998 – 2002). I have also worked with a SME which eventually got itself listed and today is part of a global MNC. I have also worked with a Singapore based MNC which grew very fast and is now part of a global MNC.

Why join a SME instead of the usual obvious higher salary choice; MNC? Let me share in two parts. First part is whether or not that SME is offering a career instead of a job. The reason why I joined two different SMEs in my working life is due to the potential career growth. Both the top managements shared with me the same super growth story. I started with the first one as a senior executive and left when I was a manager. The VP then who is the group CEO today told me that if I joined and performed, my career will be like a rocket. I believed him in 2002 and joined. In the process, due to its growth, I got share options and the shares were worth much more than the usual 2 months bonus for MANY years.

In the second one, the CEO attracted me with share options and a COO role which meant the whole company is under my ‘command.’ When I calculated the potential share options, it’s again worth many times more than the typical 2 months bonus of a MNC. The catch? Hey, the life’s much tougher yeah. The resources are much lesser which meant one needs to do much more than just ONE role. The benefit? The experience gained is many times faster. Plus how many of us would eventually get to play a role as a COO? Even if it’s just in a SME with a few million ringgit turnover every year and a potential to be listed in the near future?

Now, the second part. This is about the SME. As the CEO of the SME, do you see your staffs as a partner or as an employee. If you see them as an employee and you pay them a lower salary than a MNC, then rest assured that you will only hire those who could not get a place in a MNC. SERIOUSLY.  However, if you see them as a partner and you share with them the potential career growth and even share options as a minority partner, you will usually get the best from them because these people would do their very best for THEIR company. If you see them as partner, you will bounce ideas with them and many times, your employees may surprise you with a much better solution!

According to the World Bank, SMEs account for 97 percent of businesses in Malaysia and employs nearly 70 percent of the total workforce. Here’s one latest article in Leaderonomics. By the way, in case everyone now thinks I believe SMEs are better employers than MNCs, it is not. There are many things which MNCs could provide which SMEs would struggle in. Stability of a job and pay for example. Usually the job in an established MNC is very stable and even the bonus may be fixed one too. If one happened to be the top 10 percent performers in the organisation, the future is also very bright and I have friends who are already part of the management in MNCs here in Malaysia. MNCs would also provide that ‘I am with this MNC’ statement during festivals. One would feel good even when giving out name cards because everyone knows the MNC’s name / brand. Those working with SMEs may struggle to explain what their company is doing to all their friends and relatives, usually. Haha.

Anyway, who knows some of us may even set up our own enterprises and hire people ourselves? Happy finding a role that best suits you whether it’s with a SME (which may or may not grow super fast) or with a MNC. Of course, with a higher pay comes a higher potential for investment yeah. Not higher expenses.

written on 16 May 2018

Next suggested article:  Every job can be a career, stop stereotyping!

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