Article: Senior professionals would prefer working with a startup than a large corporate: Survey

Employee Engagement

Senior professionals would prefer working with a startup than a large corporate: Survey

CoffeeMug’s latest talent report reveals that 74% of senior professionals would prefer to work for a startup than a large corporate, citing growth opportunities as the main reason.
Senior professionals would prefer working with a startup than a large corporate: Survey

When it comes to making a career choice, 74% professionals would take the same offer from a start-up as opposed to a corporate, says a talent survey by, a community of over 2,50,000  founders, investors, CXOs, and business leaders.

Having surveyed more than 1250 senior professionals from the CoffeeMug community, the report gleaned important insights into the preferences of senior-level professionals against the backdrop of the Great Reshuffle in India.

Key influences on decision-making

When asked about the reasons why they would choose start-ups over corporates, a vast majority (74%) of CoffeeMug’s senior professional base cited growth opportunities as the main reason. More than half of the respondents (57%) also claimed that a more diverse experience attracts them towards start-ups. Further, 53% of the leaders said that they would prefer start-ups over corporates based on the impact they could make in the workplace. Other factors that play a role include flexibility, culture, and flat hierarchy. This clearly highlights the factors that start-ups need to focus on while devising their talent acquisition strategy,

What can start-ups offer?

While the choice between start-ups and corporates is abundantly clear, CoffeeMug also delved into the attributes that senior professionals consider while assessing start-up offers. The top three decision-making factors as per the report include the business idea (79%), the founder’s profile (67%), and the growth trajectory of the start-up (62%).

Takeaways for corporates

Start-ups have taken a lead when it comes to senior professionals choosing the next step in their career paths. However, to offer a holistic view of their mindset, CoffeeMug also noted the key reasons that could make them choose corporates over start-ups. The top factors included leadership positions (53%), work-life balance (46%), and perks and benefits (42%). Focusing on these attributes can help corporates manage and retain their senior professionals in the current scenario.

Focus on flexibility

The new-age talent base prioritizes a positive work-life balance which is why flexibility has become a key factor for retention. As per the survey, 87% of the senior professionals agree that flexibility is important to them. Apart from this, flexibility in work timings (69%), flexibility in work location (60%), and the process of work (57%) also hold sway as determining factors for start-ups and corporates to retain talent.

Long-term goals

CoffeeMug aimed to understand the long-term goals of senior professionals who prefer start-ups over corporates. It was found that 47% of the respondents want to start their own ventures down the line while 37% want to rise through the ranks and hold CXO positions in the long run. In a lucrative start-up environment such as India’s, it is no surprise that a majority of senior professionals aim to go on to become founders themselves.

“As of 2022, the start-up and corporate market is betting big on hiring top talent to overcome the growth lost during the pandemic period. What started as the Great Resignation has metamorphosed into the Great Reshuffle as professionals have their pick of amazing offers from both new and established companies. At CoffeeMug, we decided to gauge the preference, and it is interesting to see that most of them would choose start-ups over corporates for their next career move. The report is a deep-dive into the evolving needs and goals of top-level professionals, and can help both start-ups and corporates understand what makes them choose one over the other,” said Abhishek Sharma, Co-Founder and CEO,

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Topics: Employee Engagement, Talent Acquisition

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