Fueled by technology that has made entrepreneurship easier than ever, a strong desire for autonomy, and startup role models such as Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, the two bookend generations of global workers – Millennials and Baby Boomers – are driving a surge in the number of professionals looking to create their own business or be self-employed, according to a new global survey commissioned by GoDaddy.
The research found that 36 percent of people plan to either start a small business or be self-employed within the next 10 years. This is especially true of Millennials, with 50 percent saying they plan to be entrepreneurial during the same time period. In fact, 24 percent of Millennials started their current business while they were still in school. That makes them six times more likely to pursue entrepreneurship as a career than their Baby Boomer counterparts were in the 1960s and 1970s.
“We’re entering a Golden Age for entrepreneurs across the world. The combination of accessible technology, cultural acceptance of startups, and the desire for more flexibility in our lives, is causing people to pursue their true career passions at a rate never seen before in history,” said GoDaddy CEO Blake Irving. “The sheer volume of emerging entrepreneurs speaks to a fundamental shift in our society toward ownership and controlling one’s fate.”
Conducted by Morar Consulting and Vrge Analytics, the research surveyed 7,291 professionals, including 2,707 current small business owners or self-employed individuals, in Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Hong Kong, India, Mexico, Singapore, Turkey, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
The survey found that autonomy is the #1 driver in becoming an entrepreneur. People want the ability to work when they want, where they want, and how they want. Flexibility (41 percent) trumped money (17 percent) and not worrying about corporate layoffs (17 percent) by a wide margin.
In the United States, 70 percent of those who have participated in the Gig/Sharing economy (e.g., a driver for Uber or Lyft) say the main reason they do so is because of the flexibility, followed by money (30 percent).
Technology Eliminates Jobs, Creates Growth
As more people have become comfortable using new technology (cloud-based tools, social media, mobile apps) this decade, they are applying it to their entrepreneurial ambitions. 81 percent of those surveyed said that technology made starting a business easier, and more than half (56 percent) prefer the “do it yourself” model for handling their tech needs. 58 percent said websites and social media are the most attractive channels to customers.
Respondents are also aware that technology can put pressure on their jobs, leading to a potential reduction of hours and layoffs. 30 percent of respondents said the introduction of new technologies over the last 3-5 years has negatively reduced their work hours. 10 percent of respondents said new technologies helped lead to layoffs.
The loss of jobs is a contributing factor leading many workers to take the small business plunge: 18 percent of small business owners said they started their venture after losing their job.