This paper uses three surveys of graduates' and undergraduates' evaluations and perceptions of the conditions of work in small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the U.K. The first survey addresses the relationship between the actual career profiles of graduates and their perceptions of work in small vis-à-vis large companies. The second survey is a large-scale national study of U.K. graduates' employment patterns. The third survey asked undergraduates how they expected working conditions might differ across firm size. The distribution of graduates across firm size is presented; this shows graduates to be disproportionately employed in larger firms. The work of graduates across firm size is then described in terms of earnings; work bargaining and fringe benefits; training and the internal labour market; and the work environment. For each facet, perceptions about work conditions are also explored. The evidence shows the working conditions for graduates are lower quality in SMEs and that graduates broadly perceive this to be the case. The implications for policies which overlook these conclusions are discussed.
Small Business Economics – Springer Journals
Published: Sep 30, 2004
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