Exactly how entrepreneurial is Gen Y? That's a contested issue in the blogosphere with some saying today’s young people are a born generation of business owners and others arguing they’re simply victims of the terrible economy forced into finding alternate routes to employment. But there is one group at least where the controversy seems to be pretty well settled--Gen Y Facebook users. They’re embracing the role of business owner wholeheartedly, according to a new study.
The analysis, done by Millennial Branding and analytics company Identified.com, was created by a team of data scientists crunching raw information from 4 million Facebook profiles of young people to uncover how they are representing themselves on Facebook--and whether they’re using the social network for business purposes. Among other findings (on average we’ve friended 16 coworkers) is one startling statistic.
Among those aged 18 to 29, "owner" is the fifth most popular job title listed on profiles behind "server," "manager," "intern" and "sales associate." The title of "owner" beats out in popularity classic gigs like teacher, assistant, and sales rep--and its prevalence on Facebook shows exactly how strongly this generation self-identifies as entrepreneurial.
This isn’t just their career path of last resort either, according to Millennial Branding manager partner Dan Schawbel. In an e-mail outlining the results of the firm’s research and analysis, he offered several reasons that Millennials prefer start-up life:
Of course, the number of owners on Facebook versus, say, teachers, may be inflated due to self-selection bias. Less than half of Gen Y lists their employer on Facebook, and unless they’re job hunting, there is little reason for a teacher to advertise their profession on their personal profile. Meanwhile, business owners are endlessly hungry for publicity and potential customers so have every incentive to get the word about their business. Nonetheless, the startling high incidence of owners among Gen Y on Facebook seems like a strong data point in support of this generation’s deep identification with start-up dreams.
Check out this cool infographic of the results for more complete info.