Private companies might not have glamorous initial public offerings or be the focus of Wall Street touts, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be great places to work. These companies tend to have fewer stakeholders to worry about, which means they have more freedom to focus on long-term strategies instead of short-term profits. Privately held businesses may be more willing to consider employee desires when deciding on salary, benefits and work-related duties.
Private companies may have to hit their numbers and earn profits, but the metrics they track are their own. They don't have to worry, as publicly held companies do, about satisfying Wall Street expectations. That means a private company has more flexibility to determine its budget and strategy. Employees may feel less pressure to maximize the company's profits at the expense of long-term objectives and a greater freedom to concentrate on areas where the payoff may not be immediately apparent.
A private company has more freedom to be creative in keeping employees happy, whether it’s through higher salaries, better benefits or allowing employees to spend time on tasks that increase their knowledge and skills even if that in-house training doesn't immediately improve the bottom line. A private company doesn't have the same pressure to reduce its workforce or trim costs that a public company faces; if the private company's owners are willing to take fewer profits to maintain a happy workforce, fewer outside voices will oppose that.
Because they aren’t as beholden to outside influence, private companies may find it easier to stick to their founding mission through the peaks and troughs of the economy. If you decide to work for a private business because of its social mission -- such as giving employees time to volunteer or donating a portion of its profits to local charities -- you know that a change in that approach would come from internal sources rather than external pressure.
As long as a private company has enough cash to operate, it has the freedom to focus on long-term growth strategies. Private companies may be under less pressure to lay off employees when times are tough or more willing to be patient with business areas that take a long time to blossom. It also may be more nimble and ready to adapt to new technologies or changing market conditions without the worry of what a change in course would do to that quarter's returns.