6 Reasons Why Irish Employees are Choosing Startups over Corporate Roles

November 20

In the modern work place, startups have become increasingly popular for Irish employees, with many, especially skilled talent, being drawn to them. In a recent survey almost 70pc of Irish workers stated that they would like to work in a small to medium-size enterprise (SME) or a startup, with respondents believing that startups and SMEs offer the best office culture.

Although existing corporations big and small continue to drive the economy and lay the groundwork for development, startups represent a broad range of alternate options ready to put their mark on commerce. Today, we look at some of the reasons why – and how corporate organisations have started to respond.


As small companies getting started, startups are known for flexibility. While not always the case, many startups offer flexible hours including holidays, remote working and relaxed dress codes. As the modern world continues to evolve, this kind of flexibility is key to attracting people who want to do a great job without feeling bound to what they may see as arbitrary rules.

Sense of belonging

Employees perceive themselves as integral team members with a company that will work with them as they work for the interest of the startup. One of the central myths of the modern ethos is that of the person who gets in at the start of something great and later gets to look back and think “I was an integral part of the success story.” Startups can offer this sense of being part of something in a way big corporations often cannot.

Startups recruit differently

Another reason skilled talent may look to startups is that these same startups are looking at them – and looking at them differently. Where major corporations may focus on diplomas, alma maters, and CV’s, startups are looking for drive, experience, and a proven demonstrable skill set. After all, someone may look good on paper but not really have the drive and skill needed to excel. Smaller companies can often drill down deeper and then target desired employees more precisely.

Challenge and motivation

As a general rule, although not always, employees seeking financial gain with minimal effort tend to seek comfortable positions in big business. Employees who truly care about their work regardless of reward are more likely to want to take the risk of joining a startup venture. For some, the hard work and challenge is its own reward. These employees, the kinds of people desired by both corporate entities and startups, can tend to gravitate toward startups first.


Together with small size and a sense of belonging, startups often offer employees glimpses into the inner workings of a business rarely available in a big corporation. Where a big business can often seem mysterious and monolithic to its workers, startup employees often have a sense that they know what is really going on, for good or ill.

Personal and professional development

Last but not least, many skilled workers choose to work in a start-up environment because they consider them good places to build their skills and learn their craft from skilled professionals. The founder and founding members of a startup generally have valuable industry knowledge and a drive to share those skills with those in their team. Whether a new professional just starting on one’s career or someone coming to a startup out of years of experience, working with a startup can present a unique opportunity to try something truly new and hone one’s skillset in the process. Again, this is another reason startups tend to draw driven and motivated individuals.

Startups and the future of corporate organisations

Obviously, the rise of startups in the modern marketplace does not mean the downfall of the corporation – or that corporations no longer draw talented minds to join them. In fact, the hope of many startups is to become the major corporations of tomorrow. In reality, the distinction between startup and corporation is largely one of convenience. Both are businesses and all businesses in a capitalistic economy are competitors. As such, corporations can and are studying their latest competitors, especially those successful in recruiting the kind of employees they would like working for them. Based on observation, corporations continue to make changes, such as more flexible working hours and an enhanced sense of community. Corporations are now more than ever interested in giving employees opportunities such as paid training and mentoring programs with skilled professionals. Lessons learned in the seedbeds of so many startup companies grow to become knowledge available to all, including to big corporations, who can watch, learn, and adapt as needed to thrive.

About the Author

Orla Doyle

Orla Doyle

Head of Marketing & Communications

odoyle@lincoln.ie+ 353 ( 1 ) 661 0444

Orla Doyle is the Group Marketing and Communications Manager at Lincoln Recruitment Group. Orla graduated from the University of Limerick; she was awarded a Bachelor of Business Studies specialising in Accounting and Finance and subsequently a Master’s of Science in Financial Services. With a background in Accounting and Finance, Orla has previously worked with a Top 5 Accountancy firm and a large multinational bank based in Ireland before taking up international marketing opportunities. While working for reputable international companies, she gained her 6-year experience in marketing and communications and developed her excellent skills related to events management. She also holds a Diploma in Strategic Digital Marketing from the Marketing Institute of Ireland.

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