News and opinion

Why first-time small business owners are getting younger

Young business owners

Table of contents

    For all the talk of brittle, entitled, lazy millennials, it seems more and more 16-24 year olds are taking the leap into self-employment.

    Studies reveal that 181,000 young people within that age bracket were classified as self-employed in 2016, and the number is only expected to keep on growing when the statistics are compiled for 2017 and 2018.

    Another study reveals that almost half of all start-up businesses don’t make it past their third year - so why are so many young people taking the leap into the potentially risky world of self-employment?

    Competitive job markets

    It’s no secret that jobs have been getting harder to come by since the 2008 financial crash. In 2017, there were an average of 250 applications for every job opening, and whatever way you cut that, those numbers don’t favour the inexperienced applicants.

    Many young people are taking it upon themselves to create their own jobs and create their own employment. Striking out into the world of self-employment can be challenging, but an entrepreneurial spirit can give young people an outlet in a world they can’t find room in.

    Corporate cynicism

    A growing number of millennials are concerned by the ethics of corporations, and the endless sprint toward higher profit margins. Only 48% of millennials believe corporations act ethically, and 75% believe businesses are focusing too heavily on their own agendas and neglecting society at large. In fact, 40% say business leaders are having a negative effect on the world.

    For people of this mindset, the thought of breaking out on their own and running the kind of business they want to see their competitors become is an appealing ambition.

    Flexibility in the gig economy

    In a survey of millennials who say they wish to leave their jobs within two years, 62% view the gig economy as the natural alternative. Higher take-home pay and flexible working hours are the reasons most often cited, and in an age of Uber and Deliveroo it’s an understandably appealing direction to head in.

    Flexible working hours has become a more regular and popular demand for today’s workers. A Forbes study of the modern workforce found that 51% of workers questioned reported a desire for their employers to offer them more flexibility in their hours. It seems millennials are just as enticed by the concept as their older co-workers.

    Looking to go self-employed?

    If you’re making plans to go self-employed, we can help. You can check out our article, “13 things to consider before going freelance”. Or if you want access to a whole range of free tools, jargon-free business guides (including “How to start a business in six easy steps”) and other helpful resources, check out our free community for the self-employed, Crunch Chorus.

    If you’d like to know how Crunch can help you with your business accounts, you can call our expert advisors who’ll be happy to answer your questions.

    Starting a Business guide