Get in touch

8 Reasons to Choose a Startup Over a Corporate Job


With the highest employment rates we’ve known for years and many industries growing at phenomenal speeds, the climate has never been more favourable for candidates. This is just as true of traditional industries as it is of emerging sectors such as life sciences, biotech and fintech. A skilled, motivated graduate or anyone embarking on a new career will find many more opportunities than were available just a few years ago.

The rapidly changing and diversifying environment means that long-established, high-profile corporations are now sharing the employment space with a new generation of startups and scaleups whose success is making them very attractive to young, ambitious workers. But how can you be sure that throwing in your lot with a startup is worth foregoing the apparent security of corporate structures?

Biotech and the life sciences have always been unique and vital parts of the economy. Their contribution is not to consumerism but to health, well-being and the future. In seeking to protect those three essentials, they underpin much of our routine lives. Without a healthy future, we cannot enjoy the benefits of consumerism. In the past couple of years, the global devastation caused by the Covid pandemic has sharpened everyone’s focus on the importance of a thriving life sciences industry. The record-breaking development and roll-out of several vaccines has reminded us all that the life sciences industry is literally a life-saver.

The speed of this response and the quality of the outcomes demonstrate the value of adaptability. While the giants such as Pfizer and Astra Zeneca managed to pull it off in extreme circumstances, this kind of flexibility is part of the modus operandi of a life sciences startup or scaleup. Although the endless search for venture capital funding is a familiar challenge for early stage European biotech companies, their overriding commitment to innovation makes them perfect homes for the future leaders of the life sciences industry. 

Here are just 8 reasons why:


1. Variety

When you join a startup, the structures and procedures are likely to be works in progress. You’ll have the chance to be involved in a whole range of activities and responsibilities: the right person for a task is not someone with the matching job title, but someone who is most willing and able. It’s a time of experimentation, when invention and initiative are at their most valuable.

2. Culture

In the same way, the working culture is not yet fixed as it is in a corporate firm. Rather than having to fit into a defined regime, you, your colleagues and your employers are creating it as you go. The culture of a company is now recognised to be a major factor in the performance of its employees. In a startup, this will be largely conditioned by the most effective working practices rather than notions of conventional decision-making and communication channels.

3. Teamwork

By their nature, startups begin with a small team. When they reach the scaleup stage, they inevitably encounter the complexities of recruitment, but they will always have that foundation of the pioneers that sparked that success. In the early days, you will enjoy all the advantages of working closely with like-minded collaborators who share your vision and energy. The opportunities for sharing are matched by those for learning, as each of you grows in your skills, insights and experience.

4. Diversity

Most of the younger generation of workers, particularly in the life sciences and other emerging sectors, value diversity in the workplace. The days of stale, pale, male dominance are over, and in the most progressive industries, the old school tie has ceased to be a currency. What employees want and what they will find is dynamic new companies who care little for who you are or where you come from but see only your ability, commitment and potential. While companies on the FTSE 100 are still struggling with systemically embedded gender imbalance, let alone ethnic diversity, for startups this simply isn’t an issue. The resulting environment is mind-broadening, empowering and in terms of creativity, positively electrifying.

5. Personal Development

The value of an excellent education cannot be under-estimated and academic qualifications will always play an important part in the recruitment process even for startups. But unlike corporate bodies, they do not automatically assume decisive status. It is the combination of drive and ability that really matters and while good exam grades may be desirable, they are only a helpful starting point. The real learning and growth happens on the job, quickly and comprehensively, across all levels, so that in a relatively short time, your real-world qualifications could far outstrip the advantages of obtaining an MBA.

6. Making a Difference

In even the best corporate environments, it’s hard to avoid feeling like a cog in the machine. If you work for a life sciences corporation then even if you are involved in a truly life-changing development, your contribution is likely to be circumscribed and much more limited. In a startup, although the work and hours may sometimes be demanding, what you bring to a project can be highly significant. There is nothing quite so rewarding as knowing that you have made a measurable difference to the health and happiness of the public. You can point to the results and tell yourself ‘I helped make that happen’.

7. Breadth of Experience

In a startup everyone tends to have at least half a dozen jobs. When something needs to be done there’s no dedicated department to which it can be delegated. Some just has to do it. This means you will rapidly gather experience in a range of disciplines from product development to sales, marketing and even finance.

8. Fast Progression

Every successful startup moves on to the scaleup process and sometimes even hypergrowth. If you are in at the start, you are in prime position to be given more power and freedom with greater responsibilities because you are a trusted member of the team that set your company on the road to success.

Book a Discovery Call today and let us know about your career needs to see if we can help you find your next big challenge!

ScaleX Consulting offer consulting and business management services to life sciences companies, ready to take the next step in their journey, particularly with life science recruitment. Whether you’re a setup, startup or scaleup you will benefit from our knowledgeable and expert service.