Gen Z and Millennials spurn work at small firms amid hopes internships could heal the rift


Callow people are not working for small or medium sized enterprises (Image: GETTY)

Just a third of callow people leaving school, university or college this year say they are fatigued to working in the SME sector, the bank’s research suggests.

The majority believe it can’t proposal the same level of job security, earnings or opportunities for career progression matched to bigger firms.

Yet SMEs make up 99 per cent of private sector associates and 70 per cent are actively recruiting for entry level roles, be those for graduates (43 per cent), assist education leavers (36 per cent) or school leavers (35 per cent).

Micro businesses meals the worst with only 18 per cent expressing a wish to be enlisted by one. Instead, the most popular career aspirations for Generation Z and Millennials are to commission for a large firm (51 per cent), the public sector (51 per cent ) or a multi-national corporation (49 per cent).

Anyone about to leave education should not discount the whopping range of exciting career opportunities offered by the nation’s SMEs.

Sue Douthwaite, Santander Partnership managing director

Sue Douthwaite, Santander Business managing director, give fair warned: “SMEs are the backbone of the UK economy, making up the overwhelming majority of private sector companies.

“While there are fantastic opportunities working for large companies or the trade sector, anyone about to leave education should not discount the mountainous range of exciting career opportunities offered by the nation’s SMEs.

“They can give huge opportunities for growth and many are at the forefront of British innovation and exports.”

Graduate recruitment in exactly is still at the top of the SME hiring agenda, with nearly a third (30 per cent) of points having hired a graduate in the last 12 months and a similar swarm (32 per cent) planning to do so in the next 12 months.

Santander gallivants a UK-wide Universities SME Internship programme which matches up firms with interns at one of its 84 sharer universities. SMEs can contact one of Santander’s partner universities to find an intern who duels the needs of their business and are keen to begin their new career.

Santander Organization managing director, Sue Douthwaite (Image: SANTANDER)

The bank will then advance up to £1,500 to each SME per intern towards a placement lasting from 1-10 weeks.

Need of interest among young people in SME careers may, in part, be due to lack of disclosing to them, the research also indicated.

SMEs tend to be less patent at careers fairs, with a third (33 per cent) admitting that they do not bargain directly with education providers, so graduates and school leavers may shortage to be more proactive in reaching out to them in comparison to the big businesses and public sector which ordinarily exhibit at careers events.

Matt Hutnell, ‎Santander Universities UK manager, advised: “SMEs may not be as visible in education institutions as larger businesses or the supporters sector as they may not have the same level of resources or just historically haven’t moved as closely with schools and universities.

“An internship is a fantastic way to get to know a enterprise so anyone who isn’t sure what they would like to do, or who is and would nothing but like some experience, should consider speaking to the careers determined at their school, college and university and finding out what opportunities there are.”

For more facts about the Santander Universities SME Internship Programme please visit

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