The Advantages of Getting Your First Job at a Large Company

By Roberto Angulo

The benefits that come with working for a large employer are many, and they vary in importance. Here are some of the pros of working for a large company.

Teams

More employees means more teams. As part of a team, you get to interact with others who will help you gain knowledge. At the same time, you get to interact with other teams. For example, if you’re a project manager in a team of project managers, you’ll get to learn from some of the senior members on your team. And as a project manager, you’re probably working with cross-functional teams of engineers, programmers, and finance people within the organization. You may also work with client teams.

All these interactions do two things for you:

  • You’ll meet people from whom you’ll learn.
  • You’ll expand your professional network, which will come in handy as you eventually look for your next job or project.

Learning resources

Although not exclusive to large companies, many large employers tend to have educational assistance and tuition reimbursement programs. Employers offer these programs in order to retain employees, attract new ones, and ensure workers keep their skills up to date.

An example of an employer offering tuition reimbursement is Procter & Gamble. As of the writing of this book, it reimburses up to 80 percent of tuition and qualifying fees on courses that relate to your current or future assignment at the company, with a cap of $40,000 over the span of your employment with the company. Children’s National Health System, based in Washington, D.C., is another organization that provides educational assistance. It offers assistance after six months of employment and your education must lead to a degree.

One thing to look out for when considering an employer that offers tuition reimbursement are the repayment terms. Often times, when you leave an employer before a certain amount of time, you may have to repay part or all of your tuition assistance.

Benefits

Benefits are prevalent at most employers. But when you join a large organization, these benefits tend to be richer. Retirement saving and investment plans are one of these benefits. At companies, the most common benefit is the 401(k). At nonprofit institutions, these plans are called 403(b) plans, and at government agencies, they are referred to as 457(b) plans. These non-glamorous names come from the sections of the U.S. Internal Revenue Service code where the programs are defined.

The advantage of these plans is that you get to save money for retirement from funds subtracted directly from your paycheck, before taxes. This is a big benefit in itself because it’s rare to be able to use pre-tax money for savings. The higher your tax rate, the more you can benefit from these plans.

Again, many employers offer retirement plans. But large companies tend to offer better matching for your contributions. Yes, this is what you think it is. For every dollar you contribute to your 401(k) plan, the employer will contribute a matching amount as well, up to a certain point, usually up to 6 percent of your pre-tax income.

Perks

Companies also tend to offer special perks to outdo other employers in order to retain employees. For example, companies like Salesforce.com, based in San Francisco, offers a free iPhone to qualifying employees, with a fully paid call plan. Other employees tend to offer other gadgets. For example, LinkedIn, at one point, gave free iPads to all its employees. Google, which is one of the largest and most well-regarded employers in the world, offers free lunch and access to a full gym to its employees.

These perks can also include free transportation to and from work. In the San Francisco Bay Area, which has a lot of traffic congestion and not enough transportation between cities, large companies like Apple, Google, and Genentech offer bus service from various points in San Francisco to the South Bay and to Silicon Valley. These buses are often more comfortable than public buses and they include free Wi-Fi.

Brand recognition

Large organizations, especially consumer-facing ones, tend to have good recognizable brand names. Examples of such employers include Google, Apple, and Facebook, which touch most people’s daily lives. Other brand names include companies like Oracle and Salesforce.com, which sell to other businesses. The you have government agencies like the National Security Agency (NSA) and NASA. Working for organizations such as these provides you with a good brand name that you can put on your résumé or profile, and can help you down the line as you look for your next job.

Working for a brand-name employer can help get you in the door of a future employer.