I think you're giving corporations too much credit. That may be due to differences in location.
Here in (my part of) the US, the big corporations often pay less, because it's what they could get away with, especially through the recession. With the healthy startup economy around here, that's starting to change, but I've got more than a few stories of people who are/were in a big company, got moved around and restructured to the point that moving even to an early-stage startup would result in less work and higher pay. In one extreme, I know a person who had to be replaced by seven people after he left (when the company refused to give him one person to offload some of the work to).
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