Why millennials duck MNCs to hit the startups    

Despite the comfort, brand, and job security offered by large MNCs, millennials today prefer to kick start their careers in startups. The reason – this breed of youngsters hate a couple of things. They hate the regular 9 am-5 pm shifts, routine work, hierarchy, and bosses. Well, everyone hates bosses but millennials just refuse to work “under” anyone, they detest being told what to do.

And, that’s the key reason they are attracted to startups. Most startups don’t have hierarchy – meaning there are no bosses in the traditional sense of the word. Yes, there are people to monitor the work but there’s nobody bossing around, no micro management, no fixed timings, dress codes, or set nature of work. The flexibility is immense.

Apart from flexibility, the learning opportunity is one of the key reasons why millennials are attracted to startups. “Given the nature of a startup, the opportunity to think differently, learn and do new things, and actually work on several ‘real’ projects is extremely high. The thrill of working on something real time provides hands on experience that no ‘project’ can ever do,” says Senthil Natarajan, co-founder at OpenTap, a Chennai-based alternate finance company. “Combined with that is the feeling of ownership – everyone in a startup is responsible for their own work – there is no one to fall back on, no one to blame if something goes wrong and absolutely no place to hide!”

At OpenTap, most of the team is built with fresh graduates or people who are relatively fresh with few years of experience. The average age of the team is around 25 and out of their small team of 20, only five of them are of the “older” variety. Rest all are millennials, a lot of them in their first jobs, says Natarajan. “We believe it is easier to mould fresh minds to think and work in a specific way. On the job training helps them learn way quicker than they would otherwise.”

Tanniya Bose, 23, who recently joined a Bengaluru-based startup immediately after completing her MBA, says she wanted to learn fast and grow faster. “I wanted an environment that lets me think and work freely without being told what to do…I want to learn something new every day…comfort zone is for the faint hearted,” she says.

Ashwarya Pratap Singh, CEO and co-founder, Drivezy says that when you join your first company, nothing feels better than making an impact at your workplace and startups make this happen. “At a growing startup, you are part of a small team. There’s a high probability that no two people in the team have the same set of skills. It’s impossible to ignore a job well done in such an environment. Your achievements get instant credit. This boosts your morale and gets you pumped up. It’s difficult to achieve that in a multinational. If you are part of a big company, chances are that your hard work might get ignored or it might take a series of achievements to get the recognition you deserve,” he says.

Bengaluru-based electric automobile startup Ather Energy is also a young team of passionate and curious creators who love building products – the Ather S340 being the first product in their journey. “Our culture encourages teams to experiment, learn and unlearn fast making it one of the most sought-after places to work in. Traditionally companies would drive product decisions and company strategies top down. The culture here allows every opinion to make its impact and every individual in the company has complete freedom to shape the product decision,” Sunitha Lal, Head, Human Resources, Ather Energy told The Startup Observer.

Millennials like to work in futuristic technologies and be seen as doing something out-of-the-box. Startups like Ather Energy provides that opportunity. “One of the important things we look for when hiring, is the ability to see the future. Talent that comes to Ather has to come with an outlook that what we build today has to be relevant for the next couple of decades,” says Lal.

Not surprisingly, traditional large companies today are no longer in the “most sought after” list in campus recruitments. “Our biggest competition during campus recruitments is not the peers you would typically expect…it’s the startups because they promise an entirely different work environment, which we are still unable to project ourselves as,” an HR of a large IT services company said on condition of anonymity.

Clearly, startups seem to have the leading edge when it comes to attracting the millennials. Especially at a time when traditionally large companies including MNCs and IT services companies are making headlines for all the wrong reasons like massive layoffs, startups seem to be a good bet. The risks of getting laid off can be as high in a startup but the adrenaline rush is worth the risk!

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Ayushman Baruah
Ayushman Baruah is the founder & Editor-in-Chief of The Startup Observer. With 10+ years of rich experience in journalism spanning across newspaper, magazine, and news wire, Ayushman takes a conscious effort to stay away from the rat's race and the noise of breaking news. The Startup Observer is a noble initiative to serve the readers with ideas that go beyond news. In 2013, Ayushman won the prestigious 15th Annual PoleStar Award in jury's category for excellence in technology journalism. He loves writing, public speaking, observing, travelling, aquariums, and anything that makes him think. He believes in keeping his feet on the ground but eyes on the stars.