This article was originally published on buffalonews.com.
You don’t have to be a software engineer or know how to code to work at one of Western New York’s fast-growing startup companies.
Evan Dressel leveraged his experience managing his family’s pizzeria into a position at ShearShare.
Shana Johnson brought her passion for helping others to Centivo.
Sean Andrews uses his financial analytics background to help Circuit Clinical grow.
And Marirose Brucato has traveled the country expanding ACV’s online vehicle auctions nationwide.
In a challenging hiring market, startups and more established, traditional companies are competing for the same talent, said Peter Petrella, executive search practice leader at TalentRise.
Nationally, a record number of employees are leaving big finance and tech firms, like Facebook, Amazon, and Goldman Sachs, for smaller startup companies, according to data from workforce intelligence firm Revelio Labs.
For workers, especially those in the early stages of their careers, startups can offer an accelerated career path, even if the pay might be lower at first, a Revelio Labs report found.
“In addition to faster promotion periods, fast-growing startups require employees to think on their feet and quickly react to market changes,” the report said.
That frequently leads to faster salary growth and more frequent promotions, the report found.
But working for a startup is not without risks, most notably the risk that the startup will fail. About 1 of every 5 new businesses go under within the first year, while half fail within five years and two-thirds have shut down within 10 years, according to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Many employees are lured into startups because they feel their ideas are listened to and they can see the impact their work has had on the growth of the company, Petrella said.
Additionally, startup companies typically boast a flexible, relaxed work environment that’s attractive to employees with good benefits and well-paying jobs. Early employees are often offered equity in the company and that can pay huge dividends if the company is bought out or goes public.
Though more and more startup companies are geared toward technology and there is a demand for tech employees – especially in Western New York – employees like accountants, customer service representatives, and sales people are vital parts of these organizations as well.
Evan Dressel, ShearShare
Evan Dressel is a customer success advocate at ShearShare, an online platform that allows barbers, hairstylists, estheticians, and others in the beauty industry to rent temporary salon and barbershop space. ShearShare started in Texas, but husband and wife founders Tye and Courtney Caldwell moved the company to Buffalo after winning prize money from 43North last year.
Dressel works with ShearShare’s customers to help them resolve any issues they are having with the platform, he said.
After graduating from SUNY Brockport with a degree in journalism, Dressel spent four years managing his family’s pizzeria in Amherst. He and his family decided to sell the restaurant in October and he was hired at ShearShare in January.
Dressel said he knew he wanted to work for a small company because he likes the closeness and family-like atmosphere.
“I wanted something that I could have a much more intimate relationship with everyone in the company, rather than have 200 people and not know who you’re sending your work to, not know what they’re expecting from you, never know who your manager is, never meeting them,” he said.
Dressel said he found that at ShearShare. He was one of the first three people hired by the company after it moved to Buffalo.
But his favorite part of the job is working with ShearShare’s founders, who he said are open-minded. The Caldwells will listen to their employees’ ideas and have even implemented some, Dressel said.
“I don’t know how to code. I don’t know how to do certain technology things,” Dressel said. “Even if you have very limited or no knowledge in what you’re doing, as long as you come in, have a good attitude and a good work ethic, they can give you the world.”
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