Imagine the scene: you’ve finished school and now you’re wondering “what’s next?” Everyone keeps talking about finding a job. But there’s just one problem… you don’t know where to start. How are you supposed to land the right job, in the right company to kick-start a career that’s right for you, and fast? 🥴
For this year’s World Youth Skills Day, we wanted to explore how Marshmallow helps tackle those challenges by upskilling young employees, allowing them to take ownership of their careers. We spoke to a range of people across the company to hear their experiences first-hand. Here’s what we discovered 👇
💪 Startup culture vs corporate giants
So, you’re considering your options. And everyone’s career advice is the same: “Go for the big, traditional company. It’s the sensible choice!” But, for many of our Marshmallowers, taking the “sensible” route in a large-scale corporate environment left them feeling like a tiny fish in a vast pond. Intimidated, isolated and a bit undervalued 🎣
Take Marta, a People Executive here at Marshmallow. She studied Management at London School of Economics, where “pretty much everyone does consulting and investment banking, and goes to the really big companies. You’re kind of seen as a failure if you don’t.” Naturally, Marta took an internship at a consulting firm, seeing it as her big break. After 8 weeks of low-impact work with little space to develop, she realised the corporate atmosphere wasn’t right for her. She wanted a job where she was trusted to do meaningful work, with lots of responsibilities. Marshmallow provided that chance.
Though she’d never worked in HR before, Marta’s teammate Niamh joined Marshmallow as People Operations Executive, excited to get stuck in at a company where her voice would be heard. “There’s a danger of you blending into the background in more traditional companies, doing admin work that doesn’t challenge you. Whereas, for me here, I’ve been able to take ownership of the People Operations at a startup, and I’ve not even been working in HR for more than a year!”
For Dominika, startups trumped more corporate companies as a place to launch a career because of their open-minded and flexible approach: “Startups are very flexible, a lot of people move sideways, upwards, and there’s always room to learn about other teams. There are more yeses than nos in your career journey.”
Dominika worked in the Fraud team at Marshmallow for a year, but soon spotted the position of Junior Compliance Officer being advertised. She applied, seeing it as a role that aligned more with her Philosophy and Politics degree.“I wasn’t confident that I was going to get the role — I didn’t have any experience at all. But in the interview, I emphasised that I was willing to work hard, to get used to new systems and to pick up a lot on the job. It’s about having the soft skills, the confidence and the curiosity.” You’ll be pleased to know, she got the job. And she’s doing great. In fact, she even leads compliance training for all our new starters 👏
That’s the beauty of startups. You’re not locked into your previous experience, and you’re trusted to take on lots of responsibility from day one. If you’re willing to learn on the job and work hard, you can carve yourself a career that works for you.
💡 Upskilling and problem solving
At Marshmallow, we champion people who take the initiative to master new skills that’ll benefit the business. Sometimes that can lead to discovering a new career altogether, which is exactly how Ellie, our Junior UX Researcher, landed her current role. After university, Ellie spent her early 20s jumping between different jobs in different sectors, searching for a role that excited her beyond the 1-year itch. She was determined to get her career moving forward, quickly. And Marshmallow’s core value, “Move fast”, struck a chord.
She joined as a Customer Operations Executive, and it only took her a week to start spotting innovative ways to improve our processes. For her Focus Area (an initiative that allows people in Customer Operations to explore new areas related to customer-facing work), Ellie wanted to learn more about the customer journey. She designed a customer journey map to give her team a better understanding of the customers they were chatting to. (A map that’s still being used today, we might add! 🤩) Then, in her next project, Ellie set out to improve the chatbot so that it could better answer a number of customer queries.
The design team soon spotted Ellie’s talent for analysing user experience, and asked her to work on the redesign of the Help page. Fast forward a year, and now Ellie is thriving in the company’s first researcher role. It just goes to show, if there’s a business need for a new role and you’ve taken the initiative to learn the skills, sideways moves are entirely possible here at Marshmallow.
🤓 Getting the right training
We like to think of ourselves as a company that can spot great talent a mile off, and nurture it, too! Take Holly for example. While working as a Credit Controller, she decided to brush up on her coding skills (specifically SQL and Python) to help her analyse data better. Jenny (Head of Finance) and Guy (Head of Finance Strategy) quickly recognised her potential, offering Holly a hybrid role combining elements of her Credit Controller position with more data-driven tasks. The result? A shiny, new title: Finance Operations Analyst. “It was a total surprise, when Jenny and Guy came to me about the [Finance Operations Analyst] role. I’m so glad they did! It’s been a great opportunity.”
Whether or not you’re launching a totally new career, or continuing your career on the same path, we love it when people actively want to enhance their skill set. So, we offer our employees the time to master new skills — from providing learning days dedicated to training courses, to running internal workshops. An initiative that Holly sums up pretty well:
“What I find so great about Marshmallow is they’re willing to give you the time to take courses. I’ve done a few Udemy courses, and I’m so grateful for that. One of my objectives for the year is to develop my business analytics skills, so attending these training courses is part of my role. Now I feel really confident in the skills I’ve learned.”
🙌 How Marshmallow empowers young employees
- Focus Areas — In Customer Operations, team members choose a focus area to explore which compliments their customer-facing role.
- Learning Days — All Marshmallow employees get two learning days a year when they can attend courses and workshops to develop their skills.
- Breakfast & Learn — Every Tuesday morning, we hop on Zoom to learn something new! Sometimes we talk about a business book we’ve read, other times we’ll take part in a workshop run by one of our expert Marshmallowers.
- Monthly All-Hands — We get together as a company in our monthly all-hands to share the work we’re doing with others, inviting people to ask questions and discover more about the different projects at Marshmallow!
- WFH budget — You can’t do great work if your setup isn’t great. So, everyone at Marshmallow gets a budget to make sure they’re comfy and equipped with everything they need.
If you’re early in your career and looking for a job opportunity where you can develop your skills fast and take real ownership of your work (we’re talking big fish in a small but exciting pond) then make sure to check out our latest roles here 🐟