As somebody who is in the recruitment sector, I can often see trends which impact the economy as a whole. What we are currently seeing is a lot more fluidity in the jobs market. Whereas in the past, the economic uncertainty led to people adopting a 'stay put' mentality, they are now keener to explore their options and move companies.
An interesting part of this has been the attitude towards start-ups and SMEs. There are a lot more people now who are actively willing to work for an SME. I have spoken to recruiters and hiring managers who have commented on the growing number of executives who are leaving big corporate firms and joining startups.
In a way, you can see the attraction of joining a startup for people at various stages of their career. For the executives mentioned above, there is the opportunity to get more involved with the heart and soul of a business, which they may not have done for quite some time. In a larger, more corporate organisation, there are very fixed departments and processes, which can be a necessity when you're a company of that scale. Once you become a senior figure, you won't be always be dealing with the same things you were when you first started, and some people miss this.
But smaller businesses look for people that are flexible and can take up a number of different roles, which means you have the opportunity to make a difference to all aspects of a business. Crucially, if you have been a senior figure in another organisation, you will already have strategic experience. The chance to combine this with actually getting out there and contributing to the core functions of a business only really comes in a startup.
Something similar applies to workers at the other end of the scale. If you are just beginning your career, working in this environment will significantly boost your personal skillset. You will learn a variety of skills and you will learn them quickly. Somebody who has spent the initial years of their career helping to grow an SME becomes a very attractive candidate - whether their next job is in another SME or a larger organisation. Quite simply, future employers will recognise that you know exactly what needs to be done in the critical early days of a business; this adds a whole new dimension to your CV.
Bear in mind that when working in an SME, you have the opportunity to be part of the decision making process. It doesn't matter what your role is, the chances are you will be working directly with the management and constantly be asked for your input into key decisions.
Of course there are always risks attached to a smaller business. The stability isn't the same as it would be in a larger organisation, and if you are somebody who prefers a fixed career path then perhaps it isn't for you.
But I am a firm believer that there is no more exciting place to work than a new and developing firm. If you are somebody who enjoys a challenge and are capable of adapting, moving to an SME can be a terrific opportunity at any stage of your career.
Follow James Caan on Twitter: www.twitter.com/jamescaan