Hello there Baby Boomers! Greetings to you, Gen X! Thanks for stopping by.
Millennials? You might not be reading this.
It turns out that those under 30-35 are the least likely to start a company (and might be interested in these statistics on a business site about entrepreneurship), according to a new survey.
EY and EIG (through independent agencies) polled 1,200 people in the 18-35 age group to find out about how likely they would be to start a company or choose self employment. In a startling twist, only 22% of Millennials said it would be worthwhile to become an entrepreneur. By comparison, 44% said the best path to success is through working at one company, something that seems decidedly old-fashioned.
Another surprising fact is that, per the SBA, only 4% of Millennials are self-employed compared to Baby Boomers. EY says one quarter of the Millennials polled said that jumping from one job to another is better than starting a company.
One other finding in the study was that the cause for this reluctance to consider starting a company might be related to college debt. Two-thirds of Millennials have some long-term debt to pay off, which could be a student loan, a mortgage or a car loan. Another study by New York Fed found that, in the last ten years, there's been an 89% increase in the number of students who have took on student loans.
This data goes against what many have suspected about the younger generation--that they enjoy taking risks and live on the edge. Indeed, the study found that, of the Millennials surveyed, 71% said they believe taking risks is important to success, but they view entrepreneurship as too risky.
I've seen how the survey matches up with the Millennials I know, including those who are in college and those new to the workforce. There's a sense that working in a career right after college is better in the long run and provides more stability. It's possible that, only after you've worked a while and even been fired or downsized a few times that you start realizing how all career opportunities have inherent risk. In some ways, taking a corporate job is more risky than self-employment. At least being your own boss means you control your own destiny and can make your own decisions.
The other possibility is that Millennials don't know what they don't know yet. They've been told that a career at one company is the best route to success, mostly by guidance counselors, parents, and by the companies doing the hiring (which is a funny coincidence). The first "risk" you can take in any job is to start thinking differently about the job, the hours you work, and even where you do the job.
I'm curious what you think. Have you seen the same openness to risk in normal life but risk aversion when it comes to getting a job or starting a company? If y0ou're a Millennials, do you feel the survey data is not accurate and that your generation is willing to go the startup route? Post in comment or on my Twitter feed.