Business development · 26 October 2016

Three quarters of British workers dream of starting a business

Starting a business
Some 82 per cent of 18 to 35 year olds have ambitions of starting a business

Entrepreneurial ambition is running high both among men and women in Britain, as a new study has shown that three quarters of workers have aspirations of starting a business.

A survey undertaken by St. James’s Place Academy – the FTSE100 training body – revealed that 78 per cent of men and 73 per cent of women aged 25 to 55 wanted to start and run their own company.

Entrepreneurial dreams were most evident in the younger bracket of workers– 82 per cent of 18 to 35 year olds had ambitions to start a business, compared to 51 per cent of the 55+ age range.

Control over working hours was considered the most attractive aspect of starting a business by over half of respondents.

The findings also suggested that would-be entrepreneurs have realistic financial expectations of running a business, pursuing job satisfaction over money. Just 15 per cent believed that they could increase overall earnings by founding their own company.

Career fulfilment as a key reason for starting a business was further backed by the study, as it was revealed that the highest earners were prepared to take the financial hit in return for full control of their working days.

Some 85 per cent of those earning £70,000+ had aspirations of starting a business, compared to 71 per cent of those earning less than £20,000.

In terms of what was considered the most difficult aspect of running a business, less than a third of women surveyed believed that management of finances would be the most difficult part.

Commenting on the research, Adrian Batchelor, a director at St. James’s Place Academy, spoke positively of the “entrepreneurial vision” held by both men and women in the UK.

“It’s great news to see women and men equally enthusiastic about the prospect of running their own businesses,” he said in a statement.

“The entrepreneurial vision seems to be something that unites the sexes rather than divides them.”

Regional differences were also highlighted in the survey. Some 81 per cent of Londoners wanted to run their own company, compared to 69 per cent of workers in Scotland.

The appetite for starting a business appears to have been proved by the number of new companies set up in Britain in the last six years.

Recent statistics from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) revealed that the number of private UK businesses has hit 5.5m – a record high in the country.

Sign up to our newsletter to get the latest from Business Advice.



Praseeda Nair is the editorial director of Business Advice, and its sister publication for growing businesses, Real Business. She's an impassioned advocate for women in leadership, and likes to profile business owners, advisors and experts in the field of entrepreneurship and management.