A growing trend of professionals moving from large to small companies is providing a welcome talent boost for the UK’s small enterprises, according to new findings released today by the online professional network LinkedIn. The findings – based on a sample of its 20 million UK members – showed a significant increase in the number of professionals who indicated they had changed to a position with a smaller company over the past year.
The trend points to a healthy ‘small enterprise’ culture in the UK. Between March 2015 and March 2016, the number of LinkedIn members in the UK stating they were working at a company with fewer than fifty employees (including self-employment) rose by more than 16%. This trend was particularly prominent in the professional services, technology and financial services sectors.
By contrast, there was a small decrease in the number of LinkedIn members in Britain who indicated they worked for a company with fifty-one staff or more over the same period. The largest decrease (-14.3%) was amongst members who work at a company with over ten thousand employees.
Commenting on the findings, University of Oxford economist Dr Craig Holmes said, “This new data corroborates some broader labour market trends. As well as a growing number of new start-ups, there have also been increases in the number of people engaged in the ‘gig economy’ and other forms of self-employment. The improving economic outlook will certainly have been important in the growth of small enterprises, while cutbacks in public sector is one of the factors behind the growth in independent consultants and contractors.
LinkedIn has also seen a steady increase over the same time period in both the number of professional members in the UK who stated that they are self-employed and those who identify themselves as either business owners or entrepreneurs.
Kassem Younis worked at Apple before founding his own app development company, London-based Mana App Studio, which has since grown to a team of eight. He says a big part of the appeal of working for a smaller firm is the freedom that comes with it: “I love that I am able to choose when I work, where I work and who I work with. This is not to say it’s easy but rather that everything is on your own terms. I also love the family feeling of working in a startup, it’s extremely rewarding when as a team we achieve things.”
Joshua Graff, UK Country Manager for LinkedIn, said, “SMEs are the lifeblood of the economy so it’s great to see our data suggesting that the country’s small companies are growing and recruiting more staff as a result. Whether they are setting up new ventures or downsizing, more of our members have decided that ‘small is beautiful’ when it comes to their professional lives.”
*Based on the anonymous profile data of a sample of over 3.5 million LinkedIn members in Britain. Year on year data is for the period between March 2015 and March 2016, migration data is for the period between October 2015 and March 2016.