|Does Size Matter When It Comes to Choosing An Employer?|
When choosing a company to work for, most young engineers spend a lot of time considering which firm is "right" for them. Everyone wants to make the "right" decisions to advance their careers, and one of the largest issues young engineers consider is whether it is better to work for a large or small firm. In order to provide further insight into this question, the Met Section's Younger Member Forum (YMF) chose "Engineering Firms: Does Size Matter?" as the topic for the Eleventh Annual CEO Forum, which was held at Columbia University in Manhattan on March 6, 2012.
The panel of speakers was made up of executives representing small firms, large firms, and public agencies that included:
The panel discussion was moderated by Chi Zhang, PE, who is the YMF President and a Senior Project Engineer at GeoDesign. Over 160 people were in attendance, which is the largest turnout of any CEO Forum to date. The event kicked off with a networking reception that included cocktails and hors d'oeuvres. Afterwards, the attendees enjoyed an enlightening panel discussion on how company size influences engineering firms. Since most of the attendees were young engineers and students looking to gain knowledge on the "right" career path, the majority of questions related to how company size influenced the office work environment and job security, especially with the current state of the economy. The insight provided by the panelists was very informative.
One of the major themes that could be taken away from the discussion was that there is no "right" size company to work for. Many speakers emphasized that the culture of the company was a more important factor than size. A lot of young engineers want to work for companies that will value their work, encourage them to learn new skills, and give them opportunities to advance their careers. There are both small and large engineering firms that have this culture. In regards to job security, the size of the firm is not necessarily important either. There is engineering work for both large companies that do many things and small companies that are more specialized. During tough economic times, a smaller firm might have the benefit of having fewer employees to float through a period of less work, and a larger firm might have the benefit of winning a larger variety of projects and having other sources of financing. Regardless of size, a good company to work for is one that is able to win jobs and complete them well.
In addition to there being no "right" size company to work for, the speakers also emphasized that there is no single "right" career path. The panelists all had very different career paths. However, they are all very content with where they are now. Some engineering executives work for the same company for their entire career, while others work for several different firms/agencies, including fields outside of the engineering profession. Since there is no single "right" career path, young engineers should not worry too much about making the wrong choice when deciding what firm to work for. Instead, they should position themselves for the next step in their careers by gaining experience, learning new skills, and striving to be leaders.
Article by: Eric K. Basu, PE, M.ASCE
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|Tuesday, May 21st, 2013|
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