39% of UK’s young adults have aspirations of starting a business

Making something of their own (61%) and having more flexible working hours (54%) cited as top reasons for generation Z 'wanting to go it alone'

39% of generation Z (those aged 16-25) aspire to work for themselves and own a business – with 51% hoping to do so by the time they reach their late 20’s – according to a new study by Opinium Research.

When asked why they wanted to work for themselves, 61% of the young Brits surveyed said they wanted to make something of their own, 54% wanted to have more flexible working hours, and 46% wanted to make lots of money.

Only 15% cited a successful academic life as the way to get ahead in business, instead the ability to make connections (55%), stand out as a business leader (52%), and boast creativity (42%) were deemed to be more important.

Of those surveyed, 20% of the men wanted to set up a business in the technology sector, compared to just 2% of women. Women were more likely to move into the creative industries than men (15% against 8%).

Meanwhile, research from Coursera has found that many of the UK’s young adults aren’t sure they’ll ever achieve important life goals. 34% said they don’t feel financially independent, just 57% believed their current career will help them fulfil their ambitions and 52% that costs or time commitment prevented them from upskilling. 32% thought they needed to improve their digital skills to get ahead in life.

A recent study from the New Entrepreneurs Foundation (NEF) found that 50% of 18-24 year-old aspiring entrepreneurs have been prevented from starting a business by a lack of business knowledge (40%), a lack of time (32%) and a lack of good contacts (28%).

Rachael Camp, a researcher at Opinium Research, commented: “The dominance of Silicon Valley ‘personalities’ in recent years has clearly influenced the current generation of young people – who feel that vision and entrepreneurial spirit are the best ways to get ahead in business, rather than the traditional academic routes.

“It’s important to recognise the gender barriers that still exist in certain industries. Although we’re not short of young entrepreneurial woman, their lack of presence in the booming tech industry should prompt the tech leaders to consider why and what can be done to change this.”

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