More than a third of millennials aspire to work for themselves

Millennials are more likely to want to start their own business in search of making more money, a new study finds.

More than a third (39 per cent) of millennials aspire to work for themselves and own their own business – with half hoping to be their own boss by their late twenties (51 per cent), according to a survey.

The study, by Opinium Research, finds that, for 61 per cent of those who want to work for themselves, the appeal lies in making something of their own. For more than half (54 per cent), it is the potential for flexible working hours.

However, 46 per cent say the prospect of making a fortune is still front of mind as they hope to work for themselves to make lots of money. This is in line with trends measured by the government which finds that the number of businesses in the UK has increased by 1.9 million since 2000 – with the majority of the increase being from small businesses or sole traders.

Key to success

Millennials are raised on business icons and famous university drop outs such Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg and do not think that good academics are the route to entrepreneurial success.

Only 15 per cent of young people cite successful studies as the best way to get ahead as an entrepreneur in the business world, instead seeing connections (55 per cent), the ability to stand out as a ‘business leader’ (52 per cent) and creativity (42 per cent) as the real making of a potential mogul.

Gender gap

However, despite this generation being particularly forward-thinking, many of the potential industries that young people hope to move into still have a significant gender divide.

A fifth (20 per cent) of men who want to work for themselves, hope to move into the burgeoning field of technology, whereas only 2 per cent of young women do.

This reflects a recent report by the government’s Department for Business Innovation & Skills which states that ‘barriers exist especially for women who are under represented on higher education courses in computer related subjects’.

Instead, 15 per cent of women would like to start their own business in the creative industry (artist, author) –while only 8 per cent of men show the same interest.

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

Camp thinks that it’s important for millennials to recognise the gender barriers that still exist in certain industries.

She says, ‘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.’

Further reading on young entrepreneurs

Owen Gough, SmallBusiness UK

Owen Gough

Owen was a reporter for Bonhill Group plc writing across the and titles before moving on to be a Digital Technology reporter for the

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