Start-ups; an Increasingly Viable Career Opportunity for Upcoming Professionals

By Dr. Apoorv Ranjan Sharma, Co-Founder & President, Venture Catalysts.
Start-ups; an Increasingly Viable Career Opportunity for Upcoming Professionals

The Indian concept of a good career traditionally involved either working in a government job - typically as a doctor, engineer or lawyer - or being associated with a multinational corporation in a similar position. However, as digital technology sweeps through and revolutionises all aspects of life, even the employment landscape has witnessed a widespread transformation. No longer are comfortable government jobs with fixed timings and a steady pension considered lucrative, nor is a middling position in a globe-spanning MNC considered the height of one's professional ambition. The young, vibrant pool of talent in the country today has evolved and matured to look for careers that suit their dynamic & passionate approach.

“Being a Part of  a small  team at  a start-up can often  result in great professional growth for an individual  particularly if the  start up itself  scales  up and  achieves growth.”

Needless to say, the start-up industry, one of the most challenging as well as rewarding sectors of the economy, is emerging a big favourite for the upcoming generations of working professionals. But why are start-ups hitting all the right notes when it comes to attracting the best of talent? Here are a few reasons that explain why new-age professionals are increasingly opting for a lucrative career in a start-up over a job in an established company:

1) Scale vs. Opportunity: The biggest draw that a start-up has over the more established businesses is the promise of growth and opportunity. Being a part of a small team at a start-up can often result in great professional growth for an individual, particularly if the start-up itself scales up and achieves growth. It is not tough to find 20-somethings leading entire teams, handling entire business functions and working at a CXO level at a start-up. These experiences also come in handy in case an individual looks to switch jobs and seeks an association with another company.

2) Complacency vs. Novelty: Many of the new-age tech-enabled start-ups are often very disruptive in terms of market presence, and believe in creating something new to either address an existing market gap or to solve a completely untapped area of opportunity. As such, there is always a tangible feeling of being associated with something new that can make a positive difference to the consumer. This excitement of being a part of a fresh approach or vision is what drives many a young professionals to join the start-up industry.

3) Functional Learning vs. All-Around Learning: Start-ups typically have small teams, and as such each and every member within a start-up is usually skilled in more than one function. This not only helps in maintaining the leanness of the team, but also results in more comprehensive strategic planning and execution. The employees too gain valuable exposure to skills and knowledge not necessarily of their own domain; an IT professional who is good at coding might get a chance to learn the basics of other functions such as business development, sales and marketing. This nurtures a comprehensive, well-rounded growth for any professional associated with a start-up.

4) Stability vs. High-Risk & High-Return: Any business is a risk-driven proposition; a start-up is even riskier. However, as opposed to an established business, a start-up has higher chances of growth and scale, and the return on the risk is much higher. This high-risk high-return proposition serves to attract talented, driven individuals who are not afraid to take risks in order to reap rich dividends later.

5) Steady Salary Increments vs. Massive Esops, Hikes & Perks: The inherently output-driven atmosphere at a start-up may result in higher work pressure than a typical corporate setup, but the employees are also rewarded with several perks and financial incentives to compensate for their dedication when a start-up grows. Employee Stock Ownership Programmes or ESOPs are very common in a start-up venture, as are frequent pay hikes, multiple promotions within a year and several other perks for top performers such as an offshore holiday. These incentives make working for a start-up extremely rewarding for today's young professionals.

6) The Formal vs. The Disruptive: The start-up culture is very different from a typical corporate enterprise in terms of its agility and dynamism; very rarely should you find a start-up CEO wearing a three-piece suit to the workplace. What also differs is the approach taken by start-ups to almost all aspects of business functioning; while corporate players often tend to find a solution to a business problem, start-up ventures seek to address the root cause of the concern. This dynamic, disruptive thought process gets inculcated within the entire team and fosters innovative, out-of-the-box thinking for a better, more comprehensive professional development of an employee.

India, today, is one of the youngest countries in the world; various population estimates and surveys suggest that by the year 2020, the nation, with a median age of 29, will be the youngest country across the globe. Needless to say, this growth in the number of young professionals willing to take on challenges has led to the exponential rise of the Indian start-up community. While working in a start-up may have more risks associated with it and can often be very demanding on an individual, it is also very attractive and rewarding to those who are associated with it. All that matters is finding the best company to suit one's working style and expertise.